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Champaign County, Illinois

Kirby/Trickle Family

Submitted by Sherryll Wallace

I found a bunch of family stories and biographical sketches in some old genealogy stuff I was going through. Unfortunately, I don't know where they came from (sources) but I do have their authors. And, I don't know why I have them because they are not related to me in any way. I have one that pertains to Champaign County Illinois and was wondering if you would like to post it on the Illinois GenWeb? I am copying it below for you if you want it. I have re-typed it verbatim. It is a long one but provides LOTS of information for somebody who might be researching this family. PLEASE NOTE: SHERRYLL HAS NO FURTHER INFORMATION.

Isaac K. Kirby

by Emmett Kirby

Isaac K. Kirby, son of James and Susannah (Trickle) Kirby, was born in a log cabin in Somer township, Champaign Co., Ill. about 1853. He married Eliza Ellen (Sis) Bryant 22 Dec. 1877 in Champaign Co., Ill. and theyhad two children, Archie and Bertha. Isaac and Eliza were divorced and he married Carrie Driscoll. Their two children were Blanche and Stella.

James Kirby died in 1894 and Isaac was among the heirs. When the estate was settled in 1896, Isaac was living in Polk Co., Neb.

Isaac and his brothers Bert, Joshua, and George each owned his own threshing machine in Champaign Co., Ill. Later, Isaac began manufacturing and selling his own light draft self-feeder for threshing machines in Wichita, Kan. (310 W. English St.).

In his 84th year (1937), he wrote to his brother John in Champaign, Ill. relating his efforts in building a perpetual motion machine (valued at one million dollars if it ran), and of receiving twenty dollars a month from someone hoping to share in the profits of the venture. John died in 1939. In the 1920s Isaac was listed in the Wichita city directories as a machine shop operator and also as a rooming house proprietor.

During one period of his life, Isaac worked for the Russell Steam Factory, where he serviced and demonstrated the engine at fairs and other events. Some men found that it was possible to remove the government belt from a steam engine, manipulate the throttle, and make the steam engine jump. While the distance probably was not great, Isaac could make his engine go a little further and higher than the other demonstrators. They complained that while they intended to sell their machine after the fair so didn't want to harm them, Isaac didn't care if he wrecked his engine.

Many stories related by his nephew tell of unforgettable experiences in Isaac's life. Once he bought a threshing machine with his brother Joshua and brother-in-law William Shaff as securities and left them 'holding the bag'. Joshua paid off the debt, Shaff having evaded his responsibility by deeding his property to his wife. Later, Isaac returned and paid Joshua from a large roll of money, clearing up his part in the matter. ShaffÕs wife refused to deed the land back to him, much to his dismay.

In 1917, Isaac Kirby served as witness in a Kansas City trial. He had been operating a road grader in an area that had been a cemetery. This fact was unknown to him until his machine rolled a few skeletons from their graves. He promptly quit his job rather than disturb the dead. According to a newspaper clipping about the trial, Isaac's replies infuriated a pompous attorney and sent spectators into such gales of laughter, the judge threatened to clear the courtroom. His occupation at this time was listed as machine shop operator.

Other stories center around the Colt .45 revolver he kept handy. Once while working on engine during threshing season, Isaac's sassy attitude enraged an old Yankee, who grabbed up a pitchfork and took after the young mechanic. Isaac fumbled in his bag until the threatening man strode too close. He then flipped the bag open to reveal a Colt .45 revolver pointed at the old Yankee, who froze in his tracks. Commanded to drop the fork, the man's fingers were too stiff to let go as fast as he wished. The men told Isaac the old man had been needing a lesson for a long time.

One story tells of a butcher's dog who bit bicyclists if they didn't stop pedaling. When Isaac was bitten, he indignantly protested to the butcher, who laughed about the matter. Isaac made a round trip to pick up his Colt .45, strapping the holster to the handlebars of his bicycle. The dog ran at him again, Isaac loosened both hands to hold his gun, one pull of the trigger felling the dog. Then Isaac strode into the butcher shop with the smoking weapon in his hand to tell the butcher to go bury his old dog. The man never said word, and one suspects Isaac would have rather used the gun on the butcher than the dog.

Another time the gun saved Isaac's life, but landed him in jail. A man had threatened to kill Isaac with a big clasp knife. When he advanced, ignoring Isaac's warning, Isaac shot him. Witnesses later testified the deceased had often boasted of his intent to kill Isaac, and Isaac was finally freed.

Isaac's son Archie received a bullet through his shoulder from watching his father clean a gun. Archie is supposed to have died in a boiler explosion in Kansas City, Mo. years later.

Isaac Kirby's father James was the eldest child of Elias Kirby Sr. and Mary Johnson. He married 17 Mar. 1836 in Champaign Co., Ill., Susannah Trickle, daughter of Joshua and Mary (Heeter) Trickle.

James was 5'7" tall, a slender man with ruddy complexion and chin whiskers resembling an 'Uncle Sam' picture. He wore boots of thinner leather than most men chose, and his shoe shine kit was the slopbucket where he dipped the boots in the grease and milk wastes, then carefully wiped them dry with a soft cloth. If this sounds inplausible, why did he draw so many compliments on his nice looking shoes?

James owned two shares in the original Champaign County Fair Association when it occupied land now owned and used by the University. He also served as a constable, in which connection this story is told by Mrs. Edna Grein who saw the incident: "Seven policeman at the Champaign County Fair had attempted to shove Viola Armstrong into the police 'paddy-wagon' without success. James was called upon to assist, whereupon he asked a few questions before committing himself to action. Viola was not being arrested, only ejected from the Fair. When he asked her why she was resisting, Viola stated that she was not going anywhere in a 'paddy-wagon'. At James' request, she walked out the gate with him without use of any force whatever, and he did not need a college degree in psychology to handle the situation."

There were times, however, when James resorted to 'tranquilizing' his children with his tranquilizer being a stout hickory stick.

James Kirby died in Champaign Co. 25 April 1894 at the home of his sister, Mrs. Joseph F. Brownfield and was buried beside his wife. He left no will, but his estate records may be found in the Champaign Co. Probate Court office.

Susannah (Trickle) Kirby, wife of James and mother of Isaac, was born in Pickaway Co., Ohio, one of 14 children of Joshua and Mary (Heeter) Trickle. Her brothers and sisters were Prairie Bill, Asa, Robert, Francis, Jacob, Mary Ann, Eliza, Louisa, Catherine, one more brother and three sisters whose names are not known to the writer. She died in May 1892 and was buried in the Yearsley cemetery.

Susannah's father Joshua was born 5 August 1788 in Virginia, coming to Pickaway Co. as a youngster. He and Mary Heeter were married there 31 March 1811, his name on the marriage license spelled TREACLE, as it was again in the 1820 census of Jackson Twp., Pickaway Co., Ohio.

In 1825 Joshua and his family migrated to Edgar Co., Ill. and in 1829 moved to Vermilion Co., Ill. He had an active part in erecting Champaign Co. from Vermilion Co. lands in 1832. His home was the polling place, he was one of two election commissioners, and was appointed the first coroner of the new county 3 May 1833. Soon after his daughter Susan's marriage to James Kirby in 1836, Joshua and his brother Robert sold their Champaign Co. lands and moved to Vermilion Co. to a place which has since been known as 'Trickle's Grove'. They were the first permanent settlers. Joshua died there 20 Sept. 1843. His widow, Mary, died 19 May 1855 and is buried beside him in the family plot.

Isaac Kirby's mother, 'Suse' as James called her, had a brother Asa, who died in Ford Co., Ill. and was buried in the Trickle's Grove burial ground. After his death, his wife Mary Jane (Wallace) married Israel Todd, who then became stepfather to the Trickle children, Joshua, William Perry and Eliza. This family apparently came to Kansas, as evidenced by receipts in the guardian files of Ford Co., Ill. signed by Eliza and husband, Samuel A. Smith, for money from Neosho & Montgomery counties in 1872. Mrs. Mary Jane Todd was the administratrix of the estate of her son, Wm. Perry Trickle who died intestate in Montgomery Co., Kans. about 1875.

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