About the Collection
Asa Solomon Kienke
by Jeffrey S. Hardy
Asa Solomon Kienke was born on 17 January 1875 in Nephi, Juab County, Utah, to John H. Kienke and Sarah Barbara Pitchforth. Asa obtained his education at the primary schools and Juab Stake Academy in Nephi, and also assisted his father on the family farm. Asa was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) on 6 June 1883.
On 25 January 1896 Asa left home to serve as a missionary in the Northern States Mission of the LDS Church. He was first assigned to labor in Centralia, Illinois, and after obtaining lodging the first night he remarked, “I felt that the Lord had blessed us very much, and giving us a good start and I can tell you I felt happy.”1 For the next several months he traveled around southern Illinois and Indiana, preaching in small towns and rural communities. During his labors some opposition developed to his efforts, but he managed to escape physical harm. On one occasion he recorded that “there was a crowd around who was very angry and about to mob but in the end we held a very good meeting.”2 Towards the end of his mission, Asa was serving in Wolf Creek, Indiana, and apparently had served there for some time, for it was difficult for him to leave his friends: “They all cried and we cried but part we must. The hardest part of my mission.”3 After just a week laboring in Chicago, Asa was released from his missionary duties and journeyed home. On 24 July 1898 he recorded in his journal, “We arrived in Salt Lake City. How we rejoiced to be in Zion.”4
After returning home Asa decided to further his education and enrolled in the Brigham Young Academy (BYA) in Provo, Utah County, Utah. This was prompted by a conversation with his father about his future: “He told me to go to school and make a man out of my self and I resolved from that day fourth to go and do what I could, learn I must and learn I will.”5 From 1900 to 1902 Asa participated in the BYA archaeological expedition to Central and South America, the first Church-sponsored exploratory trip to the area. Upon returning to Provo he applied for a teaching position at the BYA but was unsuccessful in this attempt. Therefore he worked first for the State Mental Hospital in Provo and then for J. P. Paulson Company, a carpentry firm specializing in cabinets and show cases.
On 3 June 1903 Asa married Margaret Horne; they were blessed with eight children, four of whom survived infancy. In 1905 he obtained employment as instructor of mechanical arts at the Latter-day Saints College in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he worked until that institution closed in 1929. Asa then opened the Super Venetian Blind Company, which he owned and operated until his retirement in 1950. During this time he served ecclesiastically as high councilman of the Ensign Stake in Salt Lake City. On 16 July 1957 eighty-two year-old Asa Solomon Kienke passed away at home from the effects of old age.
1 Asa Solomon Kienke, “Diary, 1896,” 30 January 1896. UA 88, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
2 Ibid., 31 July 1896.
3 Kienke, “Diary, 1898,” 13 July 1898. UA 88, LTPSC.
4 Ibid., 24 July 1898.
5 Ibid., 18 August 1898.
Alder, J. Cecil. Utah, The Storied Domain. Vol. 2. Chicago: American Historical Society, 1932.
Bitton, Davis. Guide to Mormon Diaries & Autobiographies. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1977.
Deseret News. “Asa S. Kienke, Last Survivor of Expedition, Dies.” 18 July 1957.
Kienke, Asa Solomon. “Diaries and Papers, 1896–1902.” UA 88, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.