From A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 534
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902 


   A large and well improved farm in Galt township, Rice county, is owned by R R Newkirk, who is regarded as one of the most enterprising and progressive agriculturists of this part of the state.  His business ability, untiring industry and capable management have been the chief elements in his success and have gained him a position among the substantial residents of the county.

   Mr Newkirk was born in Clinton county, Iowa, near Dewitt, February 11, 1859, a son of James M Newkirk, who was born in Clermont county, Ohio, in 1813.  He was of Scotch descent, and the family first located in the eastern states.  James M Newkirk was united in marriage to Elizabeth Myers, who was born and reared in Ohio.  For some years they resided in the Buckeye state, and then removed to Clinton county, Iowa, locating near Dewitt, where the father improved a small farm.  In 1879 they took up their abode in Kansas, and for one year resided in Eureka township, Rice county, after which they came to Galt township, locating on the farm where our subject now resides.  The father followed farming as a life occupation, was a stanch supporter of Republican principles and was a member of the Presbyterian church.  His death occurred at the ripe old age of eighty-four years, and his wife passed away at the age of sixty-seven years.  They were the parents of twelve children, five sons and seven daughters, six of whom are now living, namely:  Ella, who resides on the old homestead; Sophia, who became Mrs Marsh and lives in Galt township; Isabella, now Mrs Schultz and a resident of Sac county, Iowa; Abram, who was a valiant soldier in the Civil war and now resides in Oklahoma; James W, a resident of Galt township; and R R, the subject of this review.  The deceased children are:  John; George, who served as a soldier in the Civil war and laid down his life on the altar of his country; Ann; Mary; Catherine; and Rebecca.

   R R Newkirk, whose name introduces this review, remained under the parental roof until fourteen years of age, during which time he became familiar with farm work and was early taught lessons of industry, honesty and economy.  He was then employed as a clerk in a store for a time, after which he followed the carpenter’s trade.  In 1879 he accompanied his parents on their removal to Rice county, Kansas, and during the intervening years he has aided materially in the upbuilding and advancement of this section of the state.  He has witnessed its growth from an undeveloped prairie to a rich agricultural country, inhabited by an industrious, progressive and contented people, and in this work he has nobly performed his part.  In Clinton county, Iowa, at the age of twenty-five years, Mr Newkirk was united in marriage to Mary A Sparks, a native of that county, where she was also reared and educated.  She is a daughter of John and Salina (Burkhead) Sparks, both now deceased.  Unto our subject and wife have been born five children, - Clare S, Ethel E, Arthur Reed, Ray Hobart and Lella Belle.

   After locating in Rice county Mr Newkirk purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, on which he built a sod house and began the work of cultivating and improving a farm.  Success has rewarded his efforts, and as time has passed he has added to his original purchase until he now owns eight hundred and eighty acres of land, on which is located a good farm residence, a barn fifty-four by fifty-six feet, windmills and a beautiful orchard and grove.  In addition to general farming he is also extensively engaged in the raising of a high grade of cattle and horses, and in both branches of his business he is meeting with a well deserved success.  He exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the Republican party, and, although never an office seeker, he has held the office of justice of the peace.  He has served on the official board in the Methodist Episcopal church, and is an active and zealous worker for that denomination.  A man of unswerving integrity and honor, one who has a perfect appreciation of the higher ethics of life, he has gained and retained the confidence and respect of his fellow men and is distinctively one of the leading citizens of Rice county, with whose interests he has been so long identified.