Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 95
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
The farming interests of Sterling township, Rice county, were well represented by William Fitzpatrick, who resided on section 19, where in 1877 he purchased a quarter section of land for fifteen hundred dollars. This has many times increased in value since he took possession of it, for the place was then a tract of raw prairie, not a furrow having been turned or an improvement made. There were many wild geese and prairie chickens in the neighborhood and the successful hunter could thus supply his table with game. The work of progress and improvement was in its incipiency, but it has been carried steadily forward by the enterprising and resolute pioneer settlers, among which number was Mr Fitzpatrick.
Our subject was born at Conneautville, Crawford county, Pennsylvania, October 16, 1840. His father, John Fitzpatrick, was born prior to 1800, a native of Ireland, when he came to the new world when a young man. The voyage across the Atlantic consumed seven weeks and he landed at Halifax, Nova Scotia. He was a laborer and worked on the capitol grounds at Washington, DC, for some time. About 1837 he was married, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and he became the father of three children. He died in Erie, Pennsylvania, January 21, 1857. The children were: John, who was born in Pittsburg, July 18, 1839, and died in Youngstown, Ohio, October 27, 1870, leaving three children; William, of this review; and James, who was a soldier in the Civil war and was killed May 28, 1864, at Dallas, Georgia, while in his second year’s service. Our subject and his brother both enlisted on the 14th of August, 1862, at Aurora, Ohio, becoming members of Company D, One Hundred and Fourth Ohio Infantry. James was promoted to the rank of corporal and after serving for two years was accidentally killed by a ball, which struck him in the head. An Ohio paper, the Portage City Democrat, had a long article in which it paid him a high and just tribute. It read: “J P Fitzpatrick was a young man who possessed the qualities and qualifications of a true soldier and those that rendered life happy and won friendship. He was manly, honest and upright, of good habits and industrious and with a good share of native talents, which he cultivated with care, rendering him worthy of the best society, and such he always chose. Of Irish descent, he possessed warm, affectionate, genial traits so characteristic of that nation and people. A typical soldier, he performed his duties most promptly and enthusiastically. Though warmly attached to his mother and his home he went forth to fight for the nation, nor did he ask for furloughs or accept any, but he was eagerly anticipating his return in honor to his dear ones, but the day was not to come, and on that fatal 28th of May, 1864, he was among the slain with his noble Captain McHorton, both shot through the head by sharpshooters. ‘What will become of mother now’ was the burden of his dying breath, but he was not afraid to die, and thus a noble soldier’s career came to an end.”
William Fitzpatrick, the subject of this review, served for nearly three years or until the 1st of July, 1865, and was mustered out with the rank of sergeant. He was spared, although his comrades fell thick around him, including his brother and his captain. The remains of his brother were embalmed and buried there, but they have since been transferred to Erie, Pennsylvania, and now rest by the side of his parents. The father became a railroad contractor in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, taking contracts for the construction of from eight to twelve miles at a time. He was very successful in his business, but he ultimately lost heavily through investment in the Clinton Air Line Railroad. His death occurred in 1857 and his wife survived him a number of years, passing away in 1873.
At the time of the father’s death William Fitzpatrick began to earn his own livelihood, securing a situation as a farm hand, and for seventeen years he was an overseer on an estate of fourteen hundred acres. Coming to Kansas in 1877, he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 19, Sterling township, Rice county, and with characteristic energy began the improvement of a farm of his own. He erected all of the buildings upon the place, and some of them have been built a second time, as the first lot were destroyed in a wind storm. He owned six hundred and fifty acres, divided in three farms, but nearly all in one body. He raised from one to two thousand bushels of wheat each year and held over about four thousand bushels. He kept from fifty to one hundred and seventy head of cattle and ten head of horses, which were used in working the farm. He fed and shipped his own stock and was one of the few farmers engaged in the raising of sheep in this locality, having a fine flock of Shropshire. Everything about the place is neat and thrifty in appearance and indicates his careful supervision. He was widely known as an enterprising and progressive farmer and his own efforts were the secret of his success.
In 1883, in Wooster, Wayne county, Ohio, Mr Fitzpatrick was united in marriage to Miss Kate Wirt, a most estimable lady, who has indeed proved to him a faithful companion and helpmate on the journey of life. She is a native of Ohio and a daughter of John and Luretta (Dresser) Wirt, both of whom were natives of Germany. In his social relations Mr Fitzpatrick was connected with the Grand Army of the Republic, and politically he was a Republican. He was reared in the Catholic faith and his wife is a member of the Lutheran church. He was a man of sterling worth, widely and favorably known, his circle of friends being almost co-extensive with his circle of acquaintances. To Mr and Mrs Fitzpatrick were born three children: Carl, deceased; Carl William and Jay John.
Mr Fitzpatrick died at his home near Sterling, April 7, 1902, at 4:15 a.m., aged sixty-one years, five months and twenty-two days.