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Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company

Page 190

KIRBY S. JOHNSON, who for twenty-two years has been a resident of Menard county, where he has been very successful in the conduct of general farming and stock raising interests, now makes his home in township 19, range 5 west, near Middletown, Illinois. He was born in Fleming county, Kentucky, on the 23d of October, 1860, and is a son of John S. and Luellen (Bradley) Johnson, who were also natives of Kentucky, the father born November 12, 1817, and the mother on the 25th of December, 1818. John S. Johnson spent his boyhood days with his parents on the old family homestead in Kentucky and after his father's death he began the operation of the old home, comprising three hundred acres of rich land, which he placed under a high state of cultivation. He was also extensively engaged in the raising of mules and hogs and found that a profitable source of income. His corn crops were among the largest produced in this section of the state. He bought mules and hogs for the markets of West Virginia and North and South carolina, and drove his stock to those states, there being no railroads at that time to furnish shipping facilities. He made two trips each year, walking the entire distance. At the time of the Civil war he became a member of the southern army and remained in the service until the close of hostilities. In 1844 he married Luellen Bradley and they became the parents of five children, four sons and a daughter, but two died in childhood. The three now living are: Elizabeth, the wife of James Shrout, a resident of Missouri; George T., who married Miss Josie Jackson and is now living in Kentucky; and Kirby S. The father long figured prominently in business life and public circles in his part of Kentucky, and there he died on the 1st of April, 1901, respected by all who knew him. His wife had passed away July 1, 1894.

Kirby S. Johnson remained with his parents during the period of his youth and obtained his education in the public schools of Kentucky. In 1882, however, he bade adieu to parents and friends and started out in life on his own account, coming to menard county, Illinois, where he secured employment with Thomas Kincaid as a farm hand, being thus engaged for eighteen months. He then married the daughter of his employer, Miss Harriet Kincaid, the marriage taking place on the 14th of January, 1885. Her father was born in Bath county, Kentucky, October 15, 1822, and married Miss Lucinda Patterson, whose birth occurred in Hardin county, Ohio. They became representative and prominent farming people of Menard county, where they spent their remaining days. Mrs. Kincaid died April 14, 1872, and Mr. Kincaid's death occurred February 7, 1900. They were the parents of seven children, three sons and four daughters, but the firs two died in infancy. The five now living are Lee, a resident of Athens, who was born February 7, 1857, and married Miss Susan B. Culver; mrs. Johnson, born December 31, 1861; Louie J., who was born August 16, 1864, and is the wife of Harry R. Jones, who resides near Athens; Lucy B., who was born October 30, 1867, and is the wife of U. J. Hale, of Jacksonville, illinois; and Annie S., who was born May 9, 1871, and is the wife of Isaac Jones, who resides near Ellston, Iowa.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson has been blessed with five children, all sons: Harry D., born July 17, 1886; Thomas K., born August 4, 1889; Hugh F., born November 8, 1892; Vincent K., born May 29, 1896; and George L., born March 26, 1900.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Johnson removed to Jackson county, Missouri, where he carried on farming for a year, and they then returned to Menard county, where, in 1886, he began the operation of one hundred and twenty-six acres of land. He afterward purchased this property and he now has two hundred and sixty acres, on which he carries on general farming with good success. He has also been well known in connection with stock raising. At one time he was extensively engaged for ten years in the raising of fine horses for driving and for the track, and he had a track upon his farm for training. He developed some good racing stock and raised and sold many good roadsters. On the 8th of June, 1899, he held a public sale and disposed of all the fine bred horses which he had at that time. He had during that period several fine stallions, which he kept for breeding purposes. In more recent years he has given his attention to draft horses, and at the present writing, in the fall of 1904, he has upon his farm twenty head of horses, ninety head of cattle, two hundred hogs and fifty sheep. He is regarded as one of the leading stock raisers of this part of the county, and has handled many fine animals.

Mr. Johnson is a member of the Masonic fraternity. His political allegiance is given the Democracy and he has served for three years as county commissioner, but is not an aspirant for office and has declined to become a candidate for other official positions. He has been school director, however, for twelve years and the cause of education find in him a warm and helpful friend. He and his wife attend the Presbyterian church. In his business career he has steadily worked his way upward, overcoming all difficulties and obstacles in his path and he now occupies an enviable position among men of affluence in Menard county.

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