Samuel Kirk

Samuel Kirk - Back Was of Scotch ParentageSamuel Kirk (1813 – 1876) – 3rd Great Grandfather

It’s been a long time since I added any updates. Life happens. Fortunately, I’ve still been making progress on my family tree. Most recently I uncovered a letter written by Samuel Kirk to his parents back in England after he arrived in America. It was dated 1844 and copied by his granddaughter Elsie Schultz, likely around the early 1900’s. Using this letter, it looks like I finally uncovered the names of his parents.

pdf. of Samuel’s letter: Samuel Kirk – Death

In this letter, Samuel Kirk mentions leaving Fairfield via a train to Manchester. Then taking another train from Manchester to Liverpool and traveling on a ship called the Tallahassee to New York. Doing some on-line searching, I was able to track down a small community called Fairfield located in Bury, just north of Manchester. According to church records, a Samuel Kirk was christened in the Lancashire cathedral, nearby, on Jan. 22, 1813. His parents were Benjamin Kirk and Margaret Read. According to the 1870 Wisconsin census, Samuel Kirk was born in 1813. Putting these facts together, it’s likely that these Samuel Kirk’s are the same person.

Although alternate censusĀ  data gives a later birth date of 1830, the earlier date of 1813 is much more logical. If he were born in 1830, he would have been 14 at the time he left home, which seems much too young. He would also have been approximately 20 years old and three years younger than his wife, Mary Pennington, when they wed. Coincidentally, Mary’s dates of birth on the census forms were incorrect also. In either case, if he were born in 1813, he would have left home at 31 and married at 37, to a woman 14 years his junior, which seems much more logical. A birth date of 1813 would also put his age at 63 when he passed, not 46.

One thing I’m still unsure of is the date on the letter. Elsie had it copied as June 3rd, 1844. In the letter, Samuel is writing to living parents, as if he’d just left recently. However, Benjamin Kirk passed in 1840. I’ve checked the Tallahassee ship log from June of 1844 and there’s no Samuel Kirk listed. It’s likely that he left several years early and the date on the letter was a guess or an error. Once I track down the log with Samuel and his traveling companion Edward Carlisle, I’ll know for sure. It’s taken several years, but it’s nice to finally be so close to an answer.


The Penningtons

Do you know who these two are:

Chances are, probably not. To me, they’re two of the most frustrating people in my family tree, my fourth great-grandparents, Pennington. Based on what’s written on the back of their pictures they’re her parents:


She’s Mary Pennington (Kirk), my third great grandmother, born around 1830 and died around 1868. Somebody decided to just write, “Grandma and Grandpa Pennington” on their pictures and leave it at that. Real helpful. This is her with my 2nd great grandmother Mary Kirk, furthest on right:


Try as I may, I’ve been completely unable to track down her parents names. Usually it’s the other way around, I have names and dates but no pictures. That’s what makes her parents so irritating.

Usually a simple marriage certificate will solve something like this. She was married around 1850 in Fon Du Lac, Wisconsin to Samuel Kirk. Unfortunately, Wisconsin law didn’t require marriage events be recorded with state officials until 1852, two years later. Fon Du Lac county did start recording them in 1844, but it was spotty and after checking with the state, her marriage was not one of the ones that was recorded. Additionally, I have not been able to track down any death certificate for her. If anyone comes across this and can provide me with any additional information, it would be much appreciated. Until then, I’ll keep searching…