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Below is a family biography included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Judge William J. Kirk, undertaker and dealer in agricultural implements, postmaster, notary public and real estate agent, at Maxville, Mo., was born in St. Louis, October 1, 1839, and is the eldest of eight children of Francis and Margaret (Roensteel) Kirk, only himself and sister now living. The father was born in County Down, Ireland. April 9, 1809, and when a young man came to the United States and spent some years in New York City, engaged in the bakery business. He then went to Conewago, Penn., where he learned the carpenter’s trade, which he followed until compelled to abandon it on account of old age. He was married in Pennsylvania in 1838, and immediately afterward took a stage trip across the mountains to St. Louis, where he lived until 1858, when he moved to a farm in Jefferson County, and in 1874 he moved to Maxville, and here died October 21, 1887, aged seventy-eight years, six months and twelve days. The mother was born in Indiana in 1816, and died April, 1874, aged fifty-seven years and eleven months. She was a member of the Catholic Church, as well as her husband, who was a convert. The Judge was reared principally in St. Louis, and educated at the public and sectarian schools of the city and in the schools of Jefferson County, where he came with his parents. He served in the Enrolled Missouri Militia as captain of Company H, Eightieth Regiment, and operated on the Iron Mountain Railroad. In 1863 he married Miss Mary Josephine Ruess, a native of St. Louis County, Mo., born June 27, 1844, and the daughter of John N. and Martha Ruess, who were born in Baden, Germany. Of the ten children born to Mr. Kirk and wife, seven are now living: Dr. William J. F., Philip J., Thomas J., Francis J., Mary J., Anna J. and Robert J. He was instrumental in establishing the post office at Maxville, and has been postmaster at that place for some time, ever since 1873. He has lived within two miles of Maxville ever since 1853, and about 1873 he moved to Maxville, and for fourteen years has resided in the town engaged in merchandising, etc., and for twelve years he has been notary public, and has been justice of the peace for nine years, commencing soon after the war. In 1880 he was elected county judge from the First District and served one term. During all his official career he has retained his good name and has given general satisfaction. He is an earnest worker for the cause of education, and is politically a life-long Democrat, his first presidential vote being cast for
J. C. Breckinridge, in 1860. He is a member of the Catholic Knights of America and other benevolent societies.

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This family biography is one of 224 biographies included in The History of Jefferson County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Jefferson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

To view additional Jefferson County, Missouri family biographies, click here

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