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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 2. Biographies
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
At the venerable age of eighty-three years James H. Kirk lives in well earned retirement on his well cultivated farm of two hundred and sixty acres on section 4, Sampsell township, which he still owns, although he leaves its management and operation largely to others, Coming to Livingston county in 1843, he is entitled to be called one of the early pioneers of this section, finding when he came here from Virginia but primitive conditions such as usually prevail in frontier districts. He was born in 1829 and is a son of Thomas and Ruth (Howe) Kirk, the former of whom participated in the War of 1812, holding the commission of major and distinguishing himself in that sanguine conflict by gallantry and bravery. Both parents are dead, the father passing away in 1866, finding his last resting place in California, and the mother dying about the same time.
James H. Kirk received his education largely in Springhill, Livingston county, where he had come at the age of fourteen years, and attended school until he had reached his eighteenth birthday, after which he assisted his father in his. labors on the farm until he was twenty-five years of age. Energetic, industrious and paying close attention to the smallest detail, Mr. Kirk followed agricultural pursuits for many years and attained thereby to prosperity. His property is in a high state of cultivation and the residence and buildings thereon bespeak the prosperity of its owner. At present, however, he rents out his farm and in well earned rest enjoys the fruit of his labors.
In 1856, in Livingston county, Mr. Kirk was linked in marriage to Miss Margaret Wood, a daughter of John and Christine (McHaney) Wood, both highly estimable people who have long passed away. Mr. and Mrs. Kirk were the parents of seven children, as follows: Thomas, an agriculturist of New Mexico; Nannie M., the wife of Charles Kirk, also of that state; Blanche, who married A. Best, a farmer of California; Marvin and Ollie, at home; Charles W., who follows agricultural pursuits in Colorado; and Jennie, deceased, the former wife of Robert Hale.
His political allegiance Mr. Kirk gives to the democratic party, of which he has long been a stanch supporter, giving his vote in support of its measures and candidates. His faith is that of the Methodist Episcopal church and, being a member of the local organization, he readily gives his material and moral support to its work. A resident of Livingston county for seven decades, Mr. Kirk enjoys the high regard of all know him, and nearly all know him. Not only has he been an interested witness of the changes that have occurred here but he has been an active and helpful factor in bringing about the high state of advancement that now prevails in this section. Nature has been kind to him, for he has never abused her laws. One usually thinks of old age as a period of mental and physical relax, but there is an old age which grows stronger and brighter mentally and morally and gives out of its rich store of wisdom and experience for the benefit of others. Such has been the life of James H. Kirk, who is not only one of the most venerated but also one of the most honored citizens of Sampsell township, Livingston county.