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John J. Kirk

KIRK, John J. — Notwithstanding its enormous wealth of resource, Kentucky has proved a fertile recruiting ground for the central and extreme West, and Illinois has profited largely by this healthful unrest of its native sons. Many of the pioneer families of McDonough County came across the intervening States when travel was difficult and dangerous, and all have reflected somewhat of the ability, courtesy and neighborliness always associated with the children of the Bourbon State. Belonging to this class is John J. Kirk, who was born in Adair County, Ky., December 10, 1828, and who came with his parents to Tennessee Township, McDonough County, in the summer of 1834. John and Nancy (Coe) Kirk, his parents, were born in Marion County, Kentucky, and Virginia, respectively, and James Kirk, grandfather of John J., was born in Virginia. Both of the grandfathers were soldiers in the Revolutionary War, and the paternal grandfather was a member of the body guard of the immortal Washington. Grandfather Coe was present at the battle of Bunker Hill, and both were present at the surrender of Cornwallis.

The elder Kirk entered several hundred acres of land in Tennessee Township in 1834, and after farming the same for several years, moved to Blandinsville, where he died shortly afterward. His son, John J., bought the old home place of 156 acres, and added thereto until he owned 316 acres. He devoted his land to the products usually raised in this part of the country, and besides engaged in the breeding and feeding of stock. He became a prosperous and influential farmer, and recently, upon disposing of his property in order to retire, was able to command a large price per acre.

The first marriage of Mr. Kirk occurred in 1854, to Margaret A. Allison, who was born in Virginia, and who became the mother of the following named children: Virginia, Allison, and Olive, wife of Charles Fulkerson. Mrs. Kirk died in 1861, and for his second wife, Mr. Kirk married Amanda Allison, also a native of Virginia. Of this union there were three children: Elizabeth, Sherman and John, of whom Sherman is the only survivor. The second Mrs. Kirk died in 1889, and April 10, 1890, Mr. Kirk married Harriet Bartlett. Mr. Kirk is a Republican in politics, but, in spite of frequent solicitations, has never been a willing candidate for office. He has been a stanch supporter of education, and as a farmer has shown due regard for the comforts and refinements as well as the financial rewards of his calling.

Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, volume 2, pages 926-927, extracted 11 May 2019 by Norma Hass.

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