Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
WILLIAM H. KIRK is one of the
men who stepped forward and offered his services, and his life, if need
be, for the honor of the stars and stripes when rebellion was rife in this
fair land. He fought with the vigor of the patriot, with the determination
and faithfulness of the true soldier and made a record in which he may
well take pride. Mr. Kirk enlisted at the breaking out of the war,
at Quincy, Illinois, in the Second Illinois Cavalry. He served with
General Grant on his Mississippi campaign, fought in the battle of Belmont
and many others, besides doing much skirmishing. He assisted to occupy
Island No. 10, was then ordered into the Kentucky territory and later went
to join Sherman. From there he went to Join the Red River campaign.
His time being out in 1864, he received an honorable discharge after which
he returned to Illinois.
Reverting more particularly to the early life
of our subject, we note that he was born in Scotland, on May 25, 1838,
being the son of James and Ann (Halliday) Kirk, both natives of Scotland.
The father was a soldier in the British army. Our subject was educated
in his native land until thirteen then went to sea. After making
many voyages, he came to Quebec and there left the ship and went to work
on the Grand Trunk railway. In 1854, we see him in Vermont, working
on a farm and going to school. Two years later, he was in the same
occupation in Illinois and there also, he sailed some on the Great Lakes.
He labored in Iowa and in 1858 drove oxen to Salt Lake City. Owing
to the fact that the Mormons, as well as the Indians, were very hostile
to the gentiles he experienced much trouble and danger, yet came through
with his life. For a time, he was employed in Wyoming for the French
traders and in the quartermaster's department at Fort Laramie and in 1859,
went back to Illinois, determined to study some more. For two years,
he was occupied thus until joining the army as mentioned above. Three
years were spent in Illinois after the war and in 1867, he went to Missouri.
A decade later, he came on to Kansas and the winter of 1883-4 was spent
in Cheney, Washington. The following spring he came to his present
location, about five miles north from Almira, and took a homestead.
He also took a timber culture claim and has bought land since until he
now has seven hundred and twenty acres of fertile grain producing soil.
He has a fine place, well watered by springs and improved.
On March 6, 1867, Mr. Kirk married Miss Harriett
E., the daughter of Rev. William and Harriett E. (Tong) Crain. The
father was born in Virginia and reared in Kentucky and was, during his
life, a prominent Methodist preacher. The mother was born in Missouri.
Mrs. Kirk was born in Schuyler county, Illinois, on April 20, 1847.
To this worthy couple the following children were born: James B., who was
a first class machinist on the Monterey in the Spanish war and at Manila,
during the time of this service; Mrs. Harriett E. McKinnis, whose husband
is a farmer living at Fairfield, Washington; William H., on a farm near
Almira; Mary E., the wife of Mr. Burke, a grain buyer in Almira; Mrs.
Effie A. Nelson, whose husband is cashier in the Farmer's State Bank at
Nez Perce, Idaho; Mrs. Lethe A. Mitchell, whose husband is a livery man
in Almira; and Viva L., a school girl.