From A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 575
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902 


   Elisha W Kirby, whose farm on section 24, Washington township, is neat and thrifty in appearance and indicates the supervision of a progressive owner, was born in Morgan county, Ohio, December 20, 1842, and represents an old southern family.  His grandfather, Robert E Kirby, of Harperís Ferry, Maryland, was born about 1783, and his ancestors had long resided in the new world.  His death occurred in Pennsville, Morgan county, Ohio, in the year 1865.  His son, Finley Kirby, the father of our subject, was born in Belmont county, Ohio, on the 12th of August, 1820, and in the state of his nativity was reared to manhood.  There he married Elizabeth Rusk, who was born in Morgan county, Ohio, in 1817, a daughter of Mr and Mrs John Rusk.  The wedding was celebrated about 1840, and for more than half a century they traveled lifeís journey together, sharing with each other the joys and sorrows, the troubles and pleasures of life.  The father died February 24, 1901, but the mother is still living in Morgan county, Ohio, and is well preserved both mentally and physically.  By her marriage she became the mother of eleven children, six of whom reached years of maturity, while five are now living, as follows:  Elisha W; Robert E, who was a member of Company H, Seventeenth Ohio Infantry, and died in 1865, at the age of twenty-three years, from injuries sustained in the service; John R, who is living in Morgan county, Ohio; Rosa Lee, the wife of Ephraim Vicroy, of Morgan county; Blanche, wife of a Mr Coyle; and James, who died in Morgan county, at the age of thirty years.

   Mr Kirby, whose name stands at the head of this review, spent his childhood and youth in Pennsville, Ohio, where he acquired good school privileges, pursuing his studies until eighteen years of age.  He then put aside his text-books, offering his aid to the government for three years.  He enlisted on the 20th of September, 1861, as a member of Company H, Seventh Ohio Infantry, and was at the front for three years and ten months, during which time he was never wounded or taken prisoner, nor was he in a hospital.  He participated in many important battles and skirmishes, however, and many times narrowly escaped wounds and death.  When his military service was ended he returned to Morgan county, Ohio, where he resumed work at the stone-masonís trade, carrying on business as a contractor and builder.

    Mr Kirby was married May 17, 1866, to Mary E Hann, who was born in Morgan county, a daughter of William and Lydia (Wood) Hann.  Her father is still living in the Buckeye state, but her mother died in 1845, leaving four children.  Mrs Kirby passed away on the 24th of December, 1895, at the age of forty-eight years.  She was the mother of six children, three of whom are living: Robert L, who is a resident of Beatrice, Nebraska; Charles H, at home; and Annie, wife of Lewis Conrad, of Russell county, Kansas, by whom she has three children.  Those who have departed this life are Mrs Kate L Murdock, who died at the age of thirty, leaving two sons and a daughter; and Mrs Alice Moore, who died at the age of twenty-four, leaving a little son to mourn the loss of a mother.  After the death of his first wife Mr Kirby was again married, in 1885, his second union being with Mrs Josephine Magee, nee Collins, of LaSalle, Illinois.  By this marriage there is one daughter, Jessie C, now a little maiden of eight years.  By her former marriage Mrs Kirby has one daughter, Nellie L Magee, who chose her own name when nine years of age.  She is now a teacher of piano and vocal music in Rice county.

   Mr Kirby came from Ohio to Kansas in 1878, settling in Russell county, where he resided for fourteen years, engaged in contracting and farming.  In 1893 he came to his present farm of eighty acres, and is now engaged in the raising of corn, wheat, sorghum and alfalfa.  His is one of the fertile and productive farms in this part of the county and his home is a pleasant and cheerful one, tastefully furnished and permeated by a spirit of good will and hospitality.  The family is one of intelligence and refinement and the members of the household have many friends.  In his political views Mr Kirby is a reliable Republican, and while in Ohio filled some township offices, but prefers to leave such service to others in order to give his time and attention to his business affairs and the enjoyments of the pleasures of the home.