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This report of these families was sent to Patsy Hunsucker ( ) some years back.  There is no address to write for more information or to verify this information.  Proceed with caution.   This information is here to help guide you with your PA/VA/WVA families.  If you find some of this information to be false, please notify me with corrections.     It is my hope that you will find some help.........Adrianne

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By David Kirby

First, an explanation of is spelling of the family name. The surname originated in northern England or southern Scotland. There are on old records many form Kyrkeby Kyrkbyi Kirkby, Kerbie, Kirbie, Kerby, Kirby and others. The name is said to have been derived from the residence of this people in a place called Kirkby which comes from the word "kirk" meaning church with "by" added to denote town or village. Surnames had been in use in England for centuries to distinguish among persons with the multiplicity of first names of individual. Repetition of Christian names was a hallmark of family Kirby. I know of six persons, four still living, with my given name, David. Eventually the second "k" was dropped from Kirkby leaving the spelling I use, Kirby. This form is generally found throughout America although some members of the group employ Kerby. Both spellings have historical precedents in 'Old writing

There is other evidence of English origin of the family. MY father, William, Athey Kirby, often spoke of England the ancestral homeland. Aside from the spelling, Kirkby, there is circumstantial witness, which points to England. My father taught. MY wife a ballad, "MY GRANDFATHERS CLOCK" which had been in his family heritage, he sang it frequently. His wife recorded the melody and arranged accompaniment for the song long before a printed version with music scale appeared in folk song books now current In the United States. We were living in Milton. West Virginia, at the time. Next door there was a family that had migrated from England to America. My wife was playing the ballad score on the piano, we were singing when suddenly our front door burst open and the lady of the English family bounced into the middle of the room, exclaiming, "That is the first time I have heard that ballad since last I heard it sung by river and canal men in England." On older maps of England I have seen Kirby and Kirkby as names for designating villages or towns.

In southwestern Pennsylvania, now Greene county, there were many Kirbys. At the time of the American Revolution, one John Kirby, 1777, joined Captain James Hook's Calico Hunting Shirt Company. This fact is not mentioned to show this man was a relative but to establish information that as early as 1777 there was one of the family name in the region. The Veterans Administration reports that Isaac Kirby, again no known family relationship, a Revolutionary War veteran, was awarded a pension while living in Whiteley Township, Greene county; he bought land, courthouse records show 120 acres, on Big Whiteley, March 13, 1794. From the place names there must have been many persons of-the White family living in the region. My great grandmother was a White but I have no definite reason to say she was born in the township although the presumption is pretty strong.

There was once a village, now Newton; a few years back the Post Office was Kirby, on the direct road between Morgantown West Virginia, and Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. The region of concern here was once disputed between Virginia and Pennsylvania. The dispute continued until the Mason and Dixon Line was finally surveyed to establish the western terminus of Pennsylvania in 1779, the two states created a joint commission for settlement of the boundary. Virginia claimed the 40th parallel as its northern limit, Pennsylvania, the 39th parallel. The commissioners accepted about a quarter of a degree south of the 40th line. The survey was completed in 1784 but Virginia did not approve the outcome until land claims of Virginians in the area were accepted as valid. Eventually the survey was accepted but news traveled slowly; the squabble may have been the reason for some of the Kirby's to move south.

One must remember that Tyler, Wetzel and Marshall counties were once part of Ohio county although records may now appear in Tyler and Wetzel the events may have taken place before the formation of the present political divisions. Since, for a long time the two states claimed the same land, some records that show persons born in Virginia or Pennsylvania may not have known the actual birthplace. I have never found a reason for so many Kirby's to congregate in one region, southwestern Pennsylvania or northwestern Virginia. My guess is land titles were easy to come by and there may have been a tendency for people of the same name to settle near each other.

Could the reason have been these people migrated to America about the same time or with the inducement of easy land?

Since becoming interested in the history of the family I have spent Many hours in the Department of Archives in the state capitol in Charleston, have made two trips to the Library of Congress, searched two days, one with the aid of my older daughter, in the Department of Archives in Washington and have written hundreds of letters to persons and places of the family name over all the United States. I employed a person in the Greene County Historical Society to search records in the courthouse. My wife and I spent a day in courthouse records in Middlebourne, Tyler county where, at one time, relatives of the family lived. I examined records in the Calhoun county courthouse.

These searches revealed that many Kirby's lived in the territory now covered by Tyler and Wetzel counties. One of my letters secured this information from Arvel Kirby, Hastings, Wetzel county: "My grandfather was Peter Kirby, born 1791; he had brothers James, William and Reason (Rezin?); my father was Peter Francis who had a brother Abraham J, called "Abe", in 1885, Uncle Abe went to Calhoun county to visit Kirby's." Arvel Kirby stated he never saw his grandfather's brothers William or Reason. The recurrence of names would seem to establish a cement of relationship, especially the visit by Abraham J. Kirby to Calhoun.

There may be some confusion of, exact relationships uncovered in interviews with members of John Wesley Kirby's children. My stated that my great grandfather had three brothers, James, Peter and Abe, three sisters, Margaret, Susan and Polly. My uncle Hollis Kirby contended that Abe Kirby who visited in Calhoun in 1885 was a brother to his grandfather, i.e., my great grandfather but my uncle was very young at the time, so remembering the visit would be based upon hearsay. My aunt Lida was at least twelve years old at the time of Abe Kirby's visit to Calhoun and, although I realize there may be some crisscross in degree of relationship, that there is blood connection there is no shadow of doubt.

It is possible great grandfather had a brother named "Abe". The headstone of my great grandfather's grave in the Hur Cemetery shows he was born September 4, 1800, died April 7, 1881. The census of 1880 indicates William Kirby was born in Pennsylvania and that his father was born in the same state but does not list the Christian name of my great, great grandfather.

The birthplace of my great, great grandmother is indecipherable. I have studied the entry in the 1880 census many times without success; competent librarians have failed to enlighten me.

Tyler county marriage records show my great grandfather William Kirby and Mary White were united in matrimony by D. C. Merman, clergyman, November 26, 1827. To this union five children were born: Rezin (Reason), John Wesley, Nancy, Drusilla (or Drusia) and Sarah.

At one time great grandfather, according to land titles in Tyler county, owned 100 acres of land on Fish Creek; the record is in Tyler since Wetzel was not created until 1846.

In 1850, the census shows William Kirby in Aleppo Township, Greene County, and Pennsylvania.

In the meantime my great grandmother Mary had died, time and place of burial not given, and great grandfather William had-.married Harriett Riggs.

At the time of the 1850 census, Rezin White Kirby was 21, John Wesley Kirby, 20 and were still at home. No data recorded for the sisters.

Rezin White Kirby, born in Marshall county, Virginia, and Nancy Jane Bryan, born in Greene county, Virginia, were married in Tyler county, December 8, 1852.

The census of 1860 listed Rezin White Kirby, 28, Nancy Jane, 26, in Roane county. As shown by the birthplaces of children the family had moved from Tyler to Jackson to Roane. The following children were born to this family as reported by a granddaughter in 1939: James, John, Emory, George, Indiana, Mary, Martha, Sarah and Virginia.

Deed Book, No. 2, p. 197, in Calhoun County Clerk's office, May 1867, shows my grandfather John Wesley Kirby, "$200.00 cash in hand, paid," acquired 100 acres of land on "Barrens" run and the same book, p. 232, January 1869 states "$100.00 in hand paid," he bought 50 acres more on "Barrens" run.

There is a story in the family that part of the "cash in hand,

Paid," was a little bay mare my grandfather rode into Calhoun County.

The census of 1870 contains information that John Wesley Kirby had married Ruhama Stallman, daughter of Peter Stallman.

The marriage records give the date for this wedding as June 10, 1862'. The marriage license shows John Wesley Kirby, 27, born In Pennsylvania, Ruhama Stallman, 18, born in Gilmer county, Virginia. In the census of 1870, the family is listed in Lee Township, later Lee District, Calhoun county, with real estate valued at $300,009 personal property, $150.00, My grandfather was attending a grist mill.

Family and census records do not always reflect the same ages. This is a fact one must take into account in genealogy.

Family records show John Wesley Kirby was born December 11, 1831, died November 26, 1913. Ruhama Stallman was born August 16, 18421, died December 1, 1901.

Children born to this couple as follows:

Nancy Jane

Davinda F.

William Athey born September 10, 1-866, died April 30, 1933.

John Lee August 12, 186R

Mary B. February 12, 1870

David Rezin (Reason) January 10, 1872

Lida Eveline November 2, 1873, died July 14, 1956.

Zilla A. October 8, 1875

Elizabeth F. January 21, 1878

Almina A. October 29, 1879

J. J.        July 25, 1882

J. Hollis July 23, 1885, died November 28, 1964,

John Wesley Kirby was Justice of the Peace in 1882 which accounts for his being addressed as "Squire" by older citizens, a title I heard many times.

In this account I have endeavored to assemble facts leading to and including the children of my great uncle and grandfather. My cousins may now construct their own genealogies.

The foregoing report is not complete but I hope some young relative may be inspired to continue the research into the family. There are two sources of information I have not examined - the county papers from northwestern part of West Virginia now in the document library of the university at Morgantown and land titles in the state capitol, Richmond, Virginia. The latter records may show the migration of the family from England and the places in the old country.



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