William R. KIRK

Male 1829 - 1893  (~ 64 years)

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  • Name William R. KIRK 
    Born ca 1829  Lower Peach Tree, Wilcox Co. AL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    _UID 12539D04E8FA4BC49DEBBCA6624C282CE31A 
    Died 1893 
    • These three half brothers were delivered up to my charge by father on his death bed, hence I have more than a brotherly feeling for them. Owing to the very poor educational facilities in the community where we lived and the extreme hard times I have been unable to educate them. All my brothers and sisters received but little training mental, but their moral training was very good, better than most of others etc.

      I was the youngest of my mothers children, born in Wilcox County, Ala. six miles from Lower Peach Tree, was as I have already stated, left without a mother at the age of thirteen months. I had a hard time all through my childhood and youth. Perhaps God was disciplining me for the hardship and privations of an itinerant life. Father learned me to be a farmer an a small scale, but never sent me to school much. Educational facilities were thus and are still sparse in our old neighborhood. We never had a school nearer than 2 1/2 or 3 miles of us, and then I could get to go to school only a few months or weeks at a time, then quit and work awhile, then go to school a little while, then work a little while. And what was worse than all teachers were constantly changed, and they kept on going over the same book and the same thing again and again, without advancing me any at all. So I found a distaste to study the effects of which I feel to this day. Besides this, our teachers were generally ignorant and unskillful and needed being taught themselves. But they proposed to teach Christ, and with many in that country that was the prime qualification of a first rate school teacher.

      To look on the farm however was my lot until grown. I embraced religion and joined the M.E. Church South when about twelve years of age. Religion and the ministers of the gospel had much to do with my desire for knowledge. I being little the ministers paid no attention to me, never talked to me, never advised me but still I loved them and always thought it an honor to get to feed the preachers horse when he came to fathers. But I thought then that they were all learned and wise and I wanted to be on (one) too. I worked on without ever receiving any encouragement to acquire an education. But any purpose was fixed sometimes however. In my twenty sixth year I resolved to go to school two years longer and accordingly made my arrangements and in October 1859 went to Summerfield and entered school there which was under the control a Rev. D. C. Bloomsly. I studied hard took but little exercise and consequently my health failed - but I continued the session out studying Latin and mathematics. While there on the 24th of March 1860 I applied for and obtained a license to preach the gospel. An ignorant preacher I was. I tried to preach only three or four times during the session. My first text was "leave thou and all thy house into the ark." I have never tried to preach from it since. During the vacation I went with Bro. G. Garrett on the Camden District. In the fall of sixty I went back to Summerfield and spent another session in studying Latin, Greek, and mathematics. Preached but little during the session. When the school was out went home and taught a small school some four miles from home and boarded with my old and tried friend Jno H. Pate Esqr. I also filled 9 appointments for Bro. Ewing on the Peach Tree Circuit every month for three months. Meanwhile intending to go to Greensboro in Oct., and take a regular collegiate course. But Secession had taken place, war was upon us. Money was not to be had, and I had to succumb. The people for whom I had been preaching during the fall would not pay me neither would the people for whom I had been teaching. So I gathered some pios (pious) and I would become discouraged and try to arrange some other place in my mind to make money or something else. And again I would fall back on my old purpose to go to school and try to make something of myself.

      I the meantime father had given me a colt - and when in my twenty-first year having never looked into our English grammar to study it - did not know a noun from an article. Knew but little of arithmetic or geography, did not know the different pauses in reading - my pronunciation not good, and my handwriting hardly legible or intelligible. I sold my colt and went of some twelve miles to a boarding school at Choctaw Corners, in Clark County, Ala. There I stayed six months and got a smattering of Grammar, Arithmetic Geography and composition. I might have learned and improved more but I had no habits of study and I was lazy. After this, I taught a small school at old Bear Creek Church and then at a school house near where Bro. John lived. In my teaching I gained notoriety only in a degree perfecting what I had gone over education wise imperfectly at school. There was no money in the schools that I taught.

      I then felt it my duty to go home and stay with my father on the farm and take care of him until his death to which I did and on his deathbed he requested me to settle up his estate and I did so the best I could.

      Accepted 18 bushels of potatoes from bro. John and brother in law Brasell. Sent them to Mobile, got about ten dollars for my fees and potatoes and started for Greensboro not to enter college but to join the Ala. Conference which I did and was appointed to Grove Hill circuit. I continued on my circuit until about the last of March 1862 and then joined a company of Militia for which Gov. Shorter had called for coast defense, and went to Mobile. From there we were ordered to Halls Mills, where we stayed about five weeks. While there I received the appointment of Chaplain to the regiment. We were then ordered back to Mobile where we stayed until our three months expired. I then returned to my circuit where I was willing to stay the balance of the year.

      At the close of the conference year I attended conference at Auburn Ala. and was appointed to Choctaw Corners Circuit for 1863. At the end of the year I attended conference at Columbus, Miss. where I was ordained a Deacon by Bishop Andrew. I was reappointed to same circuit. The next conference was held at Tuskeegee Ala. and I was appointed to the Snow Hill Circuit. The next conference was held at Lowndsboro where I was elected to Elders Orders and I was stationed at Jacksonville Ala. for the year 1866.

      From Lownsboro I went home and spent the month of December with my relatives and first friends. I left home a few days before Christmas to make my way to my new field of labor in the mountainous regions. I passed through Camden and called to bid bro. Ramsey and family farewell at Oak Hill. They know exactly how to entertain a Methodist preacher. I shall never forget them. I then went on to Snow Hill and found my host and hostess with whom I had been staying during 1865, well and preparing for the Christmas festivities. I left them on the 26th and stopping one day and night in Selma with Bro. J. A. Clement arrived at Jacksonville on the 29th Dec. 1865 at about 10 P.M.

      I put up at the Hotel and Saturday evening late I was introduced to Bro. M. J. Turnley, with whom I spent the month of January very pleasantly indeed. I soon became acquainted with the members of my charge and was kindly received by all. I soon became attached to the good people of Jacksonville. At the close of my first month I was put at Bro. Grants to stay during the month of Feb. I remained there about six weeks and while there fell in Love with Nora, but concealed it from her as best I could.

      Being thus satisfied at boarding round, I was put back at Bro. Turnleys to stay during the year. So I spent two months and twenty days more with. During the latter part of March and the first part of April we had a most gracious revival of religion about 50 souls professed religion and about twenty backsliders professed to be reclaimed. I still found my love for man increasing.

      He (William R. Kirk) volunteered in Militia. Was chaplain of his regiment.

      He was at the time of his death in charge of First Methodist Church in Avondale.

      Dearly beloved throughout the conference where he was so well known - A man of the highest type. A statesman said of him most truly, "A more gentle spirit never lived, a more generous hand never gave, a more honest hear never lived." [1]



      Chaplain, Clarke Co. Guards
      90 day Volunteers

      Joined March 1862
      Stationed at Halls Mills and Mobile.
    Person ID I7500  Master File
    Last Modified 4 Jul 2012 

    Father James Johnston KIRK, Sr.,   b. 10 May 1794, Lancaster Co, SC Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Jun 1857, Lower Peach Tree, Wilcox Co. AL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 63 years) 
    Mother Jane WALKER,   b. 1796, South Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Sep 1835, Wilcox Co. AL Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 39 years) 
    Married 1823  [1
    Family ID F5090  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Margaret Lenora GRANT 
    Married Jacksonville, AL Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F5117  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Sources 
    1. [S132] W. R. Kirk's Journal 1866.