Winston Lee Kinsey, Ph.D.



Dr. Kay R. Dickson, “Winston Lee Kinsey, Ph.D.,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed May 23, 2024,

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Winston Lee Kinsey, Ph.D.


Appalachian State University
Universities and colleges--Faculty


Dr. Kay R. Dickson




Biographical sketches


Boone (N.C.)

Spatial Coverage

Temporal Coverage



Professor Emeritus

Biographical Text

Professor Emeritus of History Winston Lee Kinsey, a native of the ranching area of the Texas Hill Country, was born in Lampasas, Texas, in March 1943. Both sides of Dr. Kinsey's family reflected the rural heritage and westward movement in the United States in the nineteenth century. Two of his paternal ancestors, Catherine Greer and Jackson Smith, came from the Appalachian region and arrived in Texas about 1860. Dr. Kinsey remembers his grandparents with great fondness, one great-grandmother being born in Texas in 1869, soon after the Civil War. Orphaned as a small child and receiving only about a year of classroom education, she was taught by her grandchildren to read and write when she was around sixty-five years old. She died in 1968, therefore living from the Civil War Reconstruction through the Vietnam War and the maturing of the U. S. space program. Dr. Kinsey's mother, Loretta Jernigan Kinsey, and his father, Lee Roy Kinsey, who married for sixty years, were deeply affected by the Great Depression (with the loss of family farms). Dr. Kinsey's youth was primarily spent on ranches and farms. The family was able to buy a 228-acre farm located in the Black Waxy Prairies of Central Texas, in a community of German-, Czech-, and English-descent farmers. The drought years, 1954-1957, were challenging, although Dr. Kinsey loved farm work, including tending sheep and cattle, hoeing, and pulling cotton and corn by hand. Since he started plowing at the age of ten, plowing most of the home farm, plus much land for neighbors, he likes to say that he was reared on a tractor. He also worked on a grain "threshing" crew (with wagons pulled by mules). Most of Dr. Kinsey's early education was in a small rural public school at Salado, Texas, where he graduated in 1961 in a class of fifteen students. He received a full scholarship to study agriculture at Texas A&M, but for some reason he declined and entered a nearby women's college, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, where he majored in history and English and had minors in education and religion. Transferring to Baylor University in 1963, he followed the same program of study and graduated with a B. A. degree in 1964. Dr. Kinsey married, in 1964, Barbara Bone, who had also attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Baylor University. After teaching in the Texas City public schools from 1965 to 1966, Kinsey entered the Ph.D. program in history at Texas Tech University, choosing this university because it was the only one offering a field in African History. In 1969, at age twenty-six, he completed his Ph.D. studies and took a position at Appalachian State University, teaching History of World Civilizations. His first chair was Dr. Roy Carroll, who also came to the university in 1969, and Dr. Kinsey regards him as a wonderful chair and mentor. In the academic year 1970-1971, Dr. Kinsey began teaching two courses in African History at Appalachian State and continued to do so for the next thirty-two years. In this endeavor, he and the university were pioneers. Although Dr. Kinsey's overseas travels were somewhat limited, he attended the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana for the summer of 1973; later, in 1994, he was able to spend a month in the southern African Republic of Botswana (where he helped develop experimental gardens, using modified hydroponics, and working with village women and a missionary who was also chair of a department in the College of Agriculture at the University of Botswana). Dr. Kinsey's concern for teaching non-Western history led him, in the summer of 1974, to a special institute at Davidson College (sponsored by Duke University and the State Department of Public Instruction) to study the teaching of Africa and Asia in public schools, colleges, and universities. For many years he was Appalachian State's institutional representative to the South Atlantic States Association for Asian and African Studies (and chair for the Educational Visual Resources Committee) and was active in the Southeastern Regional Seminar in African Studies. He served as president of the North Carolina Association of Africanists for a year, arranging a conference that met at North Carolina A & T University. He also wanted to include knowledge of Appalachian history as much as possible and served as Appalachian State's institutional representative to the Appalachian Consortium for several years, and, in the 1980s and 1990s, as vice president and president of the Watauga County Historical Society. During almost all of his thirty-five-year career at Appalachian State, Dr. Kinsey was heavily involved in service for the students, his department, the college, and the university. He was a member (and chair for many years) of the Department Advisement Committee from the early 1970s through his official retirement in 2002. As assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1977 through 1981, his major task was to oversee student records and advisement for the college. He was involved in the founding of a more professional Orientation Program for undergraduates and served as a faculty leader in orientation for freshmen and transfers for the college and university (and usually also for those planning to be history majors). He was the founding president of Appalachian State's chapter of Phi Kappa Phi Interdisciplinary Honor Society, and he served on the Department of History's Personnel Committee many times. Dr. Kinsey was inducted in 1999 into the Academy of Outstanding Teachers in the College of Arts and Sciences. After fully retiring in 2004, he was now willing to perform public service in another way. He ran for office as a Watauga County commissioner from the eastern (fifth) district and was elected in November 2004. He has been active as a commissioner in building a new Watauga County High School on a new campus. He is currently serving as the commissioner to oversee the development of a new county plan. In his spare time, Dr. Kinsey still raises sheep on his farm in Stony Fork, where he and Barbara have lived since 1974. He reads widely in soil science; in the history of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; in alternative energy (such as wind, solar, and hydrogen) in a post-oil age; in the history of the collapse of societies and civilizations; in the war in Iraq; and in historical novels. Dr. Kinsey and Barbara had three children: Tricia, Robyn, and Scott. Regrettably, Scott was born with multiple congenital heart defects, resulting in six heart surgeries. He, however, led a full and active life until his death in 1991 at age thirteen. The daughters of Dr. and Mrs. Kinsey live in North Carolina. Tricia has a master's degree from Duke and works as a nurse practitioner in pediatrics in Caldwell County. Robyn majored in journalism at UNC-Chapel Hill and has served for about fifteen years as a television news producer and freelance producer of educational and charitable videos. Both daughters have two children, who help bring the Kinsey farm to life on a regular basis. Dr. Kinsey and Barbara recently celebrated their forty-fourth wedding anniversary and hope for many more. Sources: Appalachian State University files and personal correspondence. -Kay R. Dickson

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