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                                       RUFUS L. KIRK
                                         Biography
                                    Cook County, Illinois

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Information contributed for use in Cook County ILGenWeb by
        Sherri Hessick, added May 2001.



RUFUS L. KIRK

Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County,
Illinois with Portraits 3rd ed. revised and extended
(Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 85-86

RUFUS LORD KIRK, a well-known citizen of Wilmette, was born
at Youngstown, Ohio, December 15, 1850.  He is a son of John
and Susan (Bingham) Kirk. The father, who was prominent in
business in Chicago for a number of years, was a son of
Andrew Kirkpatrick, the name having been curtailed in later
years to Kirk.

Andrew Kirkpatrick was born in New Jersey. His father was a
native of Scotland, and his mother of Ireland.  They came to
America in early life, and settled first in New Jersey,
removing later to Washington County, Pennsylvania.  Three
sons were born to them, namely: John, Thomas and Andrew.
The last-named was a blacksmith by trade, and followed that
vocation for many years at Coitsville, near Youngstown,
Ohio.  His mechanical skill caused him to be drafted into
the United States army during the War of 1812, and he spent
considerable time in that service, during which his family
suffered many privations in their frontier home at
Coitsville.  His wife, Elizabeth, was a daughter of Caleb
Baldwin, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, and a pioneer
of Youngstown. Mr. Baldwin’s wife, whose maiden name was
Pitney, was born in Morris County, New Jersey.  This state
was also the birthplace of Mrs. Elizabeth Kirkpatrick, who
was married at the age of thirteen years, and became the
mother of thirteen children, ten of whom reached maturity.
John Kirk was a native of Youngstown, Ohio.  He was a
precocious youth, and began teaching school at the age of
fourteen years.  At seventeen he embarked in a mercantile
business at Youngstown, Ohio.  After continuing this
enterprise for some years, he became connected with the firm
of Jones & Laughlin, well-known iron founders of Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania.  He traveled extensively through the West, in
the interest of this concern, covering most of the territory
east of the Mississippi River, which was then the western
boundary of civilization.  In 1857 he came to Chicago and
established a warehouse for the firm in this city.  This he
conducted five years, laying the foundation for the
extensive trade which the establishment has ever since
retained.

At the end of that period he severed his connection with
that corporation, and removed to Mercer County,
Pennsylvania, where he was engaged in agriculture.  In 1864
he again became a resident of Chicago, and resumed business
as a commercial traveler in the interest of eastern iron
manufacturers.  Having accumulated a competence, in 1874 he
retired from business, spending the balance of his days at
Jacksonville, Illinois, where his death occurred January 27,
1891, at the age of nearly eighty-six years. He was at that
time a member of the Christian Church at Jacksonville, and
while living in Chicago had been a communicant of the
Episcopal Church.  While still a young man, he established a
school for the instruction of poor children at Youngstown,
and throughout his life was a contributor to charitable and
philanthropic works.  He was a man of able judgment, and
held decided views on questions of public import.  He was
the first man in Youngstown to wear a long beard, and the
narrow and radical views retained by the people of that day
were shown by the fact that for this offense he was churched
by his brethren.  At an early date he became interested in
the Abolition movement, and his house at Youngstown was an
important station of the “underground railroad.”  He
sometimes gave shelter to as many as twenty or thirty
negroes in his cellar at one time.  The conspicuous part
which he took in this work gave him a rather unsavory
reputation in the South, and made it necessary for him to
conceal his identity when traveling in that section.  He was
an ardent supporter of the Republican party from the
beginning of its existence, and gave the Government his
hearty support during the great Rebellion.  When the
Emancipation Proclamation was first proposed, he predicted
that its promulgation would be the turning-point of the war,
a fact which is everywhere recognized at the present day,
although its outcome was involved in considerable doubt at
the time.  Mrs. Susan Kirk was born on a farm in
Connecticut.  She was a daughter of Asa Bingham, and removed
with her parents during her childhood to Ellsworth, Ohio.
She died in Chicago in 1872, at the age of sixty-four years.
Rufus L. Kirk was the youngest of thirteen children born to
his parents. He was seven years old when the family removed
to Chicago, where he was educated in the public schools.  At
the age of twenty years he graduated from the Chicago High
School, and soon afterward became a bookkeeper for the firm
of Kirk, Coleman & Company, dealers in iron and heavy
hardware, his brother, Thomas J. Kirk, being the senior
partner of the firm.  The style of this firm became
successively Thomas J. Kirk & Company, Kirk & Barker, The
Kirk Iron and Hardware Company, and The Wick & Bonnell
Company.  He continued his connection with the business
during these several changes, acquiring a reputation as an
able accountant, which caused his services to be frequently
sought by other firms.  In 1882, when this corporation
ceased to exist, he became a bookkeeper for the well-known
house of S. D. Kimbark, in whose employ he has regularly
continued since.  In the spring of 1877 he took up his
residence at Wilmette, where he has recently erected a
beautiful home on Forest Avenue.

In 1874 Mr. Kirk was married to Miss Julia H. Egan, daughter
of Thomas and Sarah Egan, of Chicago.  Mrs. Kirk was born at
Auburn, New York, and has become the mother of seven
children, two of whom, Robert Roy and Edwin, departed this
life in early childhood.  The names of the survivors are,
Eugene E., Hattie J., Myron F., Rufus L. and Jessie M.  The
family is connected with the First Congregational Church of
Wilmette.  In national affairs Mr. Kirk supports the
candidates of the Republican party.  He is now serving as a
member of the Village Board, the members of which are chosen
without regard to political affiliations.  His well-known
business ability and his general probity of character cause
him to be an acknowledged acquisition to the population of
that thriving suburb.
		




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