KIRBY, (Hon) EDWARD PAYSON , attorney-at-law, Jacksonville, Ill., was born near Hadley, Will County, Ill., October 28, 1834, a son of Rev. William and Hannah McClure (Wolcott) Kirby. (For detailed ancestral history, see sketch of Rev. William Kirby.) His education was obtained in the private schools and Illinois College, at Jacksonville, whither he had removed with his parents in 1845. Having been graduated from this institution in 1854, he was engaged for three years in teaching a private school in St. Louis, Mo. In the fall of 1857 he began teaching in the West Jacksonville District School (which was located on the site of the present High School in Jacksonville), as assistant to Dr. Newton Bateman. Two years later he succeeded Dr. Bateman as Principal of the school, a post which he filled until the summer of 1862. On October 28, 1862, he married Julia S., youngest daughter of Joseph Duncan, the fifth Governor of the State of Illinois, and shortly afterward began the study of the law in the office of Morrison & Epler. In February, 1864, he was admitted to the bar, and has since been continuously engaged in the practice of his profession in Jacksonville.
An earnest and consistent Republican and a man who has always exhibited a deep interest in affairs of public utility, Judge Kirby has been called upon to serve upon the county bench and in the State Legislature. In 1873 he was chosen County Judge of Morgan County, having been elected in the face of a normal Democratic majority, and upon the expiration of his term of four years, was reelected for a term of five years - the change in the length of term having been caused by the law reorganizing the courts of the State. In 1890 he was the nominee of the Republican party for Representative in the State Legislature, and was elected, serving one term of two years. With the exception of these years, he has devoted his time entirely to his private practice. For thirty years he has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Illinois College, and for twenty-four years of that period served as its Treasurer. For eight years he acted as Secretary and Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Central Hospital for the Insane, and for nearly twelve years after relinquishing the office was a member of the Board of Trustees of that institution. Since its organization he has been a director in the Ayers National Bank of Jacksonville, and for some years has also been its Attorney. Other local enterprises with which he is identified include the Illinois Telephone Company, of which he is President, and the Whitehall Sewer-pipe and Stoneware Company, in the organization of which, in July, 1903, he took an active part, and in which he has since been a Director. Though the plant of this concern is located at Whitehall, Ill., the stock is largely held by residents of Jacksonville. Judge Kirby is a member of the Congregational Church of Jacksonville, of which he has been a Trustee for several years; is a Past Master of Harmony Lodge No. 3, A.F. & A.M., and a member of Jacksonville Lodge No. 682, B.P.O.E.
The first wife of Judge Kirby dying in July, 1896, in October, 1898, he was united in marriage with Lucinda Gallaher, daughter of Rev. William G. Gallaher, one of the pioneer Presbyterian clergymen of Illinois, who came to this State from Tennessee, and for many years as located in Morgan County.