Edwin Perkins
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Edwin Elijah Perkins (1889 - 1961)

Edwin Elijah Perkins
Born in Lewis, Cass, Iowa, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 30 Sep 1918 in Pocatello, Bannock, Idaho, United Statesmap
[children unknown]
Died at age 72 in Rochester, Olmsted, Minnesota, United Statesmap
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Profile last modified | Created 27 Apr 2009
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Notables Project
Edwin Perkins is Notable.

Edwin Elijah Perkins, the inventor of Kool-Aid, was born in Iowa but grew up in Nebraska. He was born 8 Jan 1889[1] in Lewis, Iowa,[2] the eldest son of David Perkins and Kizzie Haymaker.[3]

In 1893, the Perkins family sold their general store in Iowa and moved to a farm in Furnas County, Nebraska, where they resided for seven years. By 1 Jan 1900, they had traded their farm for a general store in Hendley, Nebraska and had relocated to that town. After five years in the general store, David Perkins was able to build a new store building, a frame one with a sign on it: “D.M. Perkins-General Merchandise.”[3]

On 30 Sep 1918, Edwin married Kathryn M. (Kitty) Shoemaker in Pocatello, Idaho, where Kitty was working as a school teacher at the time.[4]

In 1920, they removed to Hastings, Nebraska. About that time, he began producing a line of over 125 "Onor-Maid" items which were sold door-to-door and by mail. One of the most popular items was "Fruit-Smack," a fruit flavored liquid concentrate. Working with that idea he created a powdered soft drink mix called Kool-Ade, which he packaged in envelopes and sold in grocery stores.[3]

Edwin's company, "Perkins Products", was now focusing entirely on Kool-Ade, and in 1931 he moved his operations to Chicago, Illinois. A name change of "Kool-Aid" for the drink came in 1934. In 1953, Edwin Perkins sold Perkins Products to General Foods. Edwin then began philanthropic pursuits until his death in 1961.[3]

Edwin Perkins died on 3 Jul 1961[1] in Olmstead County, Minnesota,[5] after a prolonged illness. The estimated value of his estate was $45 million.[3] He is buried at Parkview Cemetery in Hastings, Adams County, Nebraska.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Find A Grave, database and images: accessed 5 May 2019, memorial page for Edwin Elijah Perkins (8 Jan 1889–3 Jul 1961), Find A Grave: Memorial #12620, citing Parkview Cemetery, Hastings, Adams Co., NE, USA: headstone photo.
  2. "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:29JX-BQV : 13 March 2018), Edwin Elijah Perkins, 1917-1918; citing Furnas County, Gage County, Nebraska, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,711,529.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Kool-AidDays.com - history of Kool-Aid.
  4. DesMoinesRegister.com, "Famous Iowans", accessed 5 May 2019.
  5. "Minnesota Death Index, 1908-2002," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V4HT-LHW : 4 December 2014), Edwin Elijah Perkins, 03 Jul 1961; from "Minnesota Death Index, 1908-2002," database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2001); citing Olmsted, Minnesota, record 1471947, certificate number 012923, Minnesota Department of Health, Minneapolis.

See also:

  • Wikipedia: Edwin Perkins
  • "United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch: accessed 28 Feb 2019, David Perkins household, Eureka & Lynden Precincts, Furnas, NE, US; citing ED 63, sheet 4A, family 73, NARA microfilm pub T623 (Washington, D.C.: NARA, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,927.
  • "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch: accessed 28 Feb 2019, Ivan G Perkins in household of David M Perkins, Lynden, Furnas, NE, US; citing ED 81, sheet 2B, family 41, NARA microfilm pub T624 (Washington D.C.: NARA, 1982), roll 846; FHL microfilm 1,374,859.
  • "United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch: accessed 28 Feb 2019, household of David M Perkins, Lynden, Furnas, NE, US; citing ED 84, sheet 4B, line 58, family 13, NARA microfilm pub T625 (Washington D.C.: NARA, 1992), roll 984; FHL microfilm 1,820,984.
  • "United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XQVG-PCS : accessed 5 May 2019), Edwin E Perkins, Hastings, Adams, Nebraska, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 12, sheet 10B, line 81, family 259, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1265; FHL microfilm 2,341,000.
  • "United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KW42-Z2J : 15 March 2018), Edwin E Perkins, River Forest, River Forest Township, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 16-462, sheet 15B, line 51, family 275, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 788.

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Categories: Nebraska, Inventors | Food History | Perkins Name Study | Notables