genealogy trails

Christian County Illinois

Named after Christian County in Kentucky through the influence of emigrants from that county.

Established February 15, 1839 as Dane County (Laws, 1839, p. 104). Name changed to Christian County in 1840.

Portrait and biographical record of Christian County, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and   representative citizens, together with biographies of all the Governors of the state, and of the Presidents of the United States.  Chicago, Ill. : Lake City Pub. Co., 1893.  Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.

HENRY KIRK, a retired farmer of Taylorville, claims Ohio as the State of his nativity, his birth having occurred near Fulton, in Stark County, December 19, 1829. His father, Jacob Kirk, was a native of Centre County, Pa., and married Ann Furst, who was also born in the Keystone State. He became one of the pioneer settlers of Ohio, locating there in 1808. He and his wife both spent their last days in Stark County, where they had so long resided and where they were numbered among the most highly esteemed citizens.

The subject of this sketch was reared to manhood in the usual manner of farmer lads, and the public schools afforded him his educational privileges. He remained at home until 1851, when, on the 16th of October of that year, he was joined in marriage with Miss Hannah B. McFarland, a native of Wayne County, Ohio. His father made him a present of one hundred and seventeen acres of land, upon which was a small clearing but no house. He hewed the logs for a cabin and lived upon that place for six years, during which time he cleared and improved sixty acres.

It was in 1857 that Mr. Kirk sold his farm in Ohio, and traveled Westward until he had reached Christian County, Ill., when he made a settlement in Buckhart Township. He was accompanied by John Harmon, now of this county. Mr. Kirk had previously visited this locality and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, upon which a crop had been planted, at $25 per acre. In November following his arrival, he was joined by his family. Turning his attention to the development of his land, he devoted himself assiduously to its cultivation and improvement until 1891.

He had made other purchases, becoming the owner of four hundred and ten acres, which were divided into two farms. In connection with general farming he also engaged in feeding stock for ten years, and in breeding heavy draft horses. His farms are both well improved and are valuable and desirable places, being supplied with all modern conveniences and equipments. Mr. Kirk has recently also purchased a section of wheatland in Furnas County, Neb. In 1891 he left his country home and came to Taylorville, where he erected a fine residence and is now living a retired life.

In 1869 our subject was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died on the 31st of December. On the 18th of August, 1870, he was married in Pana to Miss Margaret Bell Orr, a sister of Prof. Orr, County Superintendent of Schools. Seven children were born of the first marriage and three of the second. Four of the number are now deceased, three having died in infancy.

Thaddeus David, the eldest, who had been a student in Lexington, Ky., died at the age of nineteen years. Charles Dwight is now a farmer of Buckhart Township, and School Treasurer. Emma Cora is the wife of R. F. Oplinger, book-keeper and cashier in a store in Taylorville. Arthur Burton operates a part of the old homestead. Hattie is the wife of Irving Baughman, a farmer of Buckhart Township. Grace graduated as a stenographer and type-writer from the Springfield Business College. Josie Pearl is a student in the High School.

Since the age of sixteen Mr. Kirk has been a member of the Christian Church, and his wife is also a member. He was made a Mason in Grove City Lodge No. 585, A. F. & A. M., and belongs to Taylorville Chapter No. 99, R. A. M. He was initiated into the mysteries of the Odd Fellows' fraternity in 1854. In politics, he is a Republican, and for eighteen years served as Treasurer of the school fund in his township, although it is a strongly Democratic district. Through well-directed efforts, Mr. Kirk has acquired a handsome property and is now numbered among the substantial citizens of Taylorville, where he is now living retired in the enjoyment of the rest which he has so truly earned and richly deserves.



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