John Kimberly (1817-1882) was born in Brooklyn, NY, the son of Elizabeth Ferris and David Kimberly. He received his BA from Yale University and his MA from the Harvard Science School, then moved to Murfreesboro, NC, to teach at Buckhorn Academy. In 1840 Kimberly married Caroline Capehart, who bore him four children before her death in 1848. He remarried in 1858 and with Elizabeth (Bettie) Maney reared eight children. Before beginning his teaching career at the University, Kimberly and his family spent a year abroad, where he studied with Robert Bunsen at Heidelberg. In 1861, when Professor William J. Martin went to war, Kimberly added Martin's theoretical chemistry courses to his own teaching load. In 1863 at the direction of Gov. Zebulon Vance, Kimberly organized a company of students to defend the University. During the war he formed a business to manufacture for the Confederate army sulfuric and nitric acid, used in making gunpowder. Foreseeing the collapse of the University after the war, Kimberly left Chapel Hill in early 1866 to become a farmer near Asheville. He returned to the University as professor of agriculture when it reopened in 1875 but resigned after one year to resume farming (Dictionary of North Carolina Biography 3:362).