Charles Kienast, who was our local cigar manufacturer, was a native of Illinois, having first seen the light in La Salle county, that state, October 25, 1862. In 1869 his parents removed to Marshall County, Kansas, and he grew up on the farm to the age of seventeen, doing the usual work of the farmers’ boy.
Shortly after his seventeenth birthday the cigar business fired the fancy of young Kienast and he soon secured a job in a factory and learned the trade of cigar making, and he worked at that calling continuously for twenty-seven years. He was an expert cigar-maker and a fine judge of cigar leaf tobacco.
Mr. Kienast held firmly to the principle that it takes good tobacco to make good cigars and that it is far better to have a good sound business only realizing a small profit than to do a “wildcat” business with large profits and soon no business at all.
We learned that he did a business of about $6,000 a year. Three thousand dollars of this amount went for cost of raw material. Who got the other $3,000? Why, the employees, the butcher, the barber, the stone mason, the plasterer, the carpenter, the storekeeper, the lumberman, the laundryman, the hotel keeper, the railroad and railroad employees, the miner, the liveryman, the real estate man, the doctor, the druggist; and in fact we were all interested and benefitted by our cigar factory.
Mr. Kienast manufactured a number of brands of cigars and they were all very popular with smokers. His home trade was very satisfactory, and, although he did not cater particularly to outside business, he was sending a good many goods out of town.
Mr. Kienast came to Marceline in 1902 from Quincy, Illinois and lived In and near Marceline until 1960 at the time of his death.
Four generations are still residing in Marceline. He has three sons living: Charles W., Sam, and Harold.