Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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The Globe Gazette
North Iowa Pioneer, Staunch Republican, Voted for Abraham Lincoln.
FERTILE, Nov. 4. - All the stirring events of pioneer life are included in the vivid reminiscenses of W. W. KIRK, who will celebrate his ninety-ninth birthday Thursday. Mr. KIRK'S boast is that he has never missed an election and has always voted the straight republican ticket. He was one of the men whose votes made Abraham LINCOLN president.
Mr. KIRK, still vigorous of mind and body, has seen many changes take place in North Iowa. He recalls how it was once necessary to haul produce to markets at Austin, Minn., or McGregor, how he lived in a log cabin, how exciting pioneer life was. Mr. KIRK lives with his daughter, Mrs. Lewis FOSTER, Fertile.
The others were B. P. KIRK, who died 14 years ago. Only one brother is living. He is in a soldiers' home in California.
Mr. KIRK was married to Lucinda WEAN, Berlin township, Ohio, in 1853. To this union were born six children, Mrs. Lewis [Rosalie H.] FOSTER, Fertile; Mrs. Maude LOQUE, who died 16 years ago; Mrs. J. F. RHODES, Fertile; Mrs. Mattie AINSWORTH, Harrisburg, PA., who is a teacher in the primary departmet of the Fertile school; James KIRK, Fertile; and Mrs. Lucy GOODELL, Hanlontown.
Mr. and Mrs. KIRK, together with their two oldest children, moved to Iowa in 1862. The end of the railroad at that time was at Cedar Falls. There they were met by a cousin of Mr. KIRK, W. H. FANKELL. After two and one-half days' journey they arrived at the FANKELL home, one and one-half miles east of Fertile, on May 10, 1862. The first winter Mr. KIRK spent in Iowa was in the log cabin owned by William RHODES on the site of Mr. KIRK'S present home. After living for two years in and around Fertile he moved to a farm four miles north of Mason City where he remained for four years. From there he moved to his own farm two miles east of Fertile, now  owned by Clyde CARR, Clear Lake. He lived in this place one year, then purchased the old KIRK farm one-half mile west of Hanlontown.
He at one time was the partner of Andrew GROVE in the mercantile business in Fertile, Mr. KIRK hauling the goods from the railroad at Manly or Mason City.
Mr. KIRK is hale and hearty and may be seen on the streets of Fertile almost any day when the weather permits. One of the things to which he looks forward [to] is going to the postoffice for the mail. He often tells of pioneer days when he and others hauled their farm produce to market at Austin, Minn., or McGregor, and brot (sic) back groceries for the Mason City stores. He also helped haul the lumber for the Congregational church in Mason City.
One of his trips he often tells about is when he went from his home north of Mason City to Austin with a load of cheese. While going thru (sic) a mudhole one side of his wagon cut down and one big cheese rolled off and went entirely out of sight in the mud.
He took a rail from the fence nearby, pried the cheese out, rolled it over against the rail fene and went to the nearest farmhouse, got a pail of water, washed off his cheese and went on to market. He says that cheese sold as good as any other cheese.
His wife died, called oct. 23, 1906. Since then he has resided in Fertile. Mr. KIRK has 20 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren living. He has one grandson, Roger HILL, who has a brithday on the same day.
TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Lucinda E. (WEAN) KIRK was born December 1, 1826; and died October 23, 1906. William W. KIRK was born November, 1831; and died at the age of 104 years on December 2, 1935. They were interred at Lincoln Cemetery, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa.
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2012
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