NORTHERN NEW YORK
Genealogical and family history of northern New York: a record of the achievements of her people
in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation.
New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co. 1910.
Transcribed by Coralynn Brown
This spelling is that most generally used in this country, although some members of the family spell the name Kerby. It was planted in New England before the middle of the seventeenth century, and was represented by two brothers, John and Joseph, who dwelt a short time in Hartford, Conn., whence they removed to Middletown. The former seems to have taken more space in the records than the latter, of whom but little can now be found. Their descendants are scattered througout the United States, and have well maintained the honorable character established by their New England ancestors.
(I) Joseph Kirby, of Hartford, settled in Middlebury, [transcriber's note: does the author mean Middletown?] Conn., where he died. He came from Warwickshire, England, early in the seventeenth century, and remained but a short time at Hartford. His name does not appear in the records of that town, whence he soon removed to Middletown. The record of only one child is found.
(II) John, son of Joseph Kirby, probably lived in Farmington. There is some evidence that he married Elizabeth Randall, and that they had a daughter Mary, born April, 1683, in Hartford. The Wethersfield records also show the marriage of his daughter Sarah. He also had a son Roger.
(III) Roger, son of John Kirby, was born in 1698, and in 1730 was living in the Judea Society, then a part of Woodbury, Conn., now the town of Washington. His farm was situated about one hundred rods from the church on Washington Green, and is known to this day (1910) as the Kirby farm. The cellar on the side of this house is still traceable. In 1763 he deeded his property in Woodbury to sons Abraham and Joseph, and thereafter resided at Litchfield, Conn. He died June 12, 1793, at Milton, Conn., while on a visit to that place, and was buried in the Milton cemetery.
His wife's name was Martha, but nothing is known of her parentage.
Abraham (mentioned below), Joseph, Alvin and James.
(IV) Abraham, eldest son of Roger and Martha Kirby, was born July 14, 1730, in Woodbury, and was a farmer in the Judea Society of that ancient town until 1763, when he removed to Litchfield. In February, 1786, he settled in Middlebury, Conn., where his son John had located the previous year. In the following spring he bought apple trees from Pittsford and planted the second orchard in the town. While bringing the trees down Otter creek he ran into a rapids and was in great danger of drowning. While passing under a bridge he got hold of the timbers and was rescued from his perilous position.
In June, 1792, he was joined by his son Joseph and family. He lived with him in the house which he built. He was made deacon of the Congregational church, and is spoken of as one of the most respected citizens of the town, where he died April 3, 1796, and was buried in the old cemetery north of the village. From the inspection of his tombstone is gathered the chief knowledge of his grandfather.
He married, May 31, 1756, in Woodbury, Eunice, daughter of John and Mary (Herrick) Starkbrother, of Stonington, Conn., born Sept. 19, 1735.
Ephraim (mentioned below), John Starkbrother, Joseph, Mary, Anna and Sally.
(V) Ephraim, eldest child of Abraham and Eunice (Starkbrother) Kirby, was born Feb. 23, 1757, in the Judea Society, and removed about 1763 with his father to Litchfield, where at the age of eighteen years he joined the volunteers who organized at Boston in time to take part in the battle of Bunker Hill. In December, 1776, he again enlisted in the revolutionary army and served as a cavalry soldier about two years. He is described in the Connecticut revolutionary records as "five feet six inches in height, dark complexion, dark eyes and hair." He enlisted Dec. 24, 1776, and was discharged Aug. 7, 1778, serving during this enlistment with Washington's army in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and participating in the battles of Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth, and received thirteen wounds. His troop was known as Colonel Sheldon's "Light Dragoons." He was subsequently an ensign in a Rhode Island campaign in 1782. At the battle of Germantown he was a member of General Steling's staff. He was one of the original members of the Order of the Cincinnati. He held the rank of lieutenant.
In 1787 Yale conferred upon him the degree of Master of Arts. He was often a member of the legislature from 1791 to 1802, and in 1800 was lieutenant-colonel of the 17th Regiment Connecticut militia.
He practiced law in Litchfield, and his reports of the decisions of the superior and supreme courts were the first issued in the U.S. He died on his way to Louisiana, of which territory he had been appointed a judge by President Jefferson.
He was master of St. Paul'd Lodge, A.F. and A.M., of Litchfield, which still preserves his sword, and was first high priest of the General Chapter Royal Arch Masons of the United States. In accordance with the custon of the time he owned negro slaves.
He married, March 17, 1784, Ruth, only daughter of Judge Reinold and Ruth (Welch) Marvin, born Dec. 20, 1763, in Litchfield, died Oct. 17, 1827 (see Marvin V).
Frances, Harriet (died young), Reinold, Edmond (mentioned below), Ephraim, Harriet, Helen and Catherine.
(VI) Edmond, second son of Ephraim and Ruth (Marvin) Kirby, was born April 8, 1794, in Litchfield, where he grew up and received an excellent education for his time under private tutors. He entered the United States army July 6, 1812, with an ensign's commission as a member of the Fourth Infantry, and served throughout the second war with England. In 1819 he was an aide on the staff of Genearl Jacob Brown, and in May, 1824, was commissioned captain in the U.S. army.
During the Mexican war he was on the staff of General Zachary Taylor, and was present at the battle of Monterey. He was subsequently on the staff of General Winfield Scott during his march to the city of Mexico, and for gallantry in the battle of Cherubusco was breveted Lieutenant-colonel, and for gallantry at Molino del Rey was breveted colonel. During much of his service he was a paymaster, and was known as the "fighting paymaster," because of his activity in battle. In 1831 he was appointed adjutant-general of New York.
His located early in Brownsville, Jefferson county, N.Y., which was founded by General Jacob Brown, and was manger of the latter's estate, and died Aug. 20, 1849, at Avon Springs, N.Y., where he went for the benefit of his impaired health. He became interested in the manufacutre of woolens at Dexter, near Brownsville, and was a very active man of affairs in civil life.
He was a member of the Episcopal church, and of the Masonic order; in politics a Whig.
He married, Feb. 14, 1825, in Washington, Eliza, daughter of General Jacob and Pamela Williams Brown, born Aug. 13, 1808, died Jan. 12, 1864, at West Farms, N.Y. The wedding was attended by General Lafayette and President John Quincy Adams.
1. Jacob Brown, graduated at Yale College, and resided in Brownsville, N.Y., where he died.
2. Frances Marvin, widow of John Boynton Palmer, residing in New York City (see Palmer).
3. Pamela Williams was wife of William Everett, connected with the U.S. navy, and active in laying the Atlantic cables; she died at Hot Springs, Arkansas.
4. Eliza Brown (deceased), married Henry Darby, an artist and clergyman.
5. Josephine Smith resides in New York City, unmarried.
6. Mary was wife of John C. Fairfax and mother of Lord Fairfax.
7. Edmund was a soldier of the civil war, receiving a wound at the battle of Chancellorsville.
8. Catherine S., married Mandeville Halsted, and died in California.
9. Rev. Reinold Marvin, graduated at Hobart College in 1863, and from General Theological Seminary of New York in 1869; ordained deacon at Mt. Morris that year, and priest of the Protestant Episcopal church at Albion, N.Y. Aug. 21, 1870; was rector of the church there two years, and assisted at St. Mark's Cathedral, Salt Lake City, 1871-72. He received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Hobart College in 1890, and made rector of the parish at Potsdam, New York, Feb. 5, 1882. He built the church there, and was very influential throughout his life in church matters. While in Salt Lake City he was treasurer of the diocese and a member of the standing committee, and active in connection with St. Mark's Hospital.
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