Biography - Thomas Kirk

THOMAS KIRK. There is little need to portray the virtues or defend the memory of this gentleman, for he lives in the affection of his family and friends as a devoted husband, a kind neighbor and public-spirited citizen. He departed this life on the 27th of August, 1892, and his remains were followed to their last resting place by a large number of those who had for many years been his sincere friends. Of him no truthful tongue ever spoke ill, for his life presented a clear and spotless page of noble deeds nobly done. During the many years he resided in Pitman Township, he was to the people all that is required in good citizenship, public enterprise and sympathetic friends. In the love of his estimable wife he found his cares lightened, and in the respect of his fellow-citizens received the reward of his faithfulness.
Mr. Kirk was born in Lincolnshire, England, April 23, 1826, to the marriage of William and Ann Kirk, natives of that country, and was there reared to mature years. His father being an agriculturist, the principal part of young Kirk's days were spent in the arduous duties of the farm, to the detriment of his education. Possessing a naturally bright intellect and active mind, he was mainly self-educated and was a student all his life. By reading and observation he became thoroughly posted on all important subjects, and at the time of his death was one of the best-informed men in the county. With an idea of bettering his condition, Mr. Kirk decided to come to the United States, and in 1850 he took passage at Liverpool. After being on the ocean for fifty-two days he reached New Orleans and came up the Mississippi River to Illinois, where he worked as a farm hand for some time. Later, he rented land, and after farming on this for some time, bought a farm in Macoupin County, and cultivated and improved this for a number of years. In the spring of 1865, he sold out and came to Montgomery County, settling on the farm where his family now resides.
On the 24th of May, 1858, he wedded Miss Eliza Parker, a native of Kentucky, born in Hardin County, April 4, 1834, and the daughter of David and Susannah Parker, natives of the Blue Grass Stale. She had two uncles on the maternal side in the War of 1812, and both participated in the battle of New Orleans. Mrs. Kirk was fifteen years of age when her parents removed to Macoupin County, Ill., where they were among the early settlers. To Mr. and Mrs. Kirk were born the following living children: Anna, William; Ella, wife of Rev. G. H. Cruzan, of the Methodist Episcopal Church; Elizabeth, John, Charles, Sarah and Frank. In 1865, Mr. Kirk with his family came to Montgomery County, Ill., and settled in Pitman Township. He opened up and began developing his farm, and by hard work and energy, together with good management, he became the owner of one of the finest farms in his section.
On this our subject passed the remainder of his life, honored and respected by all. No better man ever made his home in the county. In character he was generous, free and frank, and as he was keenly alive to the sufferings and misfortunes of others, no one ever appealed to him in vain for aid or consolation. In him the community had a faithful and unswerving friend, ever alert to serve its best interest, and generous in his contributions toward every movement tending to the general advancement. He was a strong advocate of education and had served as Director of Schools for some time. He was identified with the Republican party for many years, and was the leading spirit in all worthy movements. He was a man of superior intellect, with a good fund of common-sense from which to draw, and his word was considered as good as his bond. He was noted far and wide for his integrity and uprightness, and his death was a great loss to Pitman Township. His farm consisted of one hundred and sixty acres of land, the product of his life's work.

Extracted 12 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 470-473.

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