A. J. Kirkpatrick. By many activities and associations the name Kirkpatrick is identified with the best traditions of Champaign County. Of this family A. J. Kirkpatrick is widely known as one of the most capable agriculturists and his success consists not only in the thorough management of the resources of the soil but also in his contributions to the improvement and beautifying of the rural landscape. Mr. Kirkpatrick is proprietor of the Blue Mound Farm in Stanton Township.
He was born at Champaign, February 17, 1854, a son of John C. and Mary C. (Busey) Kirkpatrick. His parents represented two of the noted pioneer families in this county. A. J. Kirkpatrick was the second among eight children, and during his boyhood days he attended the public schools of Champaign with his brothers and sisters. He can remember a time when Champaign consisted of a hamlet of only seven houses.
In the Mayview Methodist Episcopal Church, on September 5, 1875, with Rev. B. Bartholow officiating, Mr. Kirkpatrick married Miss Alice Barricklow. She was born at Urbana, daughter of John T. and Phoebe Jane (Hudson) Barricklow. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Kirkpatrick continued to live in St. Joseph Township and started farming on the property of his father. Later he bought 120 acres in Stanton Township adjoining the 120 acres which his father had given him. This new land had no improvements, and in the course of years he developed its virgin prairies into productive fields, put up commodious houses, planted fruit and shade trees, and the fruits of his industry there are in themselves an important contribution to the welfare and attractiveness of Champaign County.
To Mr. and Mrs. Kirkpatrick were born four children, two sons and two daughters: Myrtle, Maude and Claude, the last two being twins. The children were educated in the Hunt and Blue Mound district schools, while Earl and Maude attended the Urbana High School. They are now comfortably settled in life. Myrtle married William Woolever, a farmer at Auburn, Indiana, and her four children are Clare, Leal, Merle and Hazel. The son Earl is active manager of a fine farm of 280 acres owned by his father near Mayview. He married Miss Maymie Polter and has three children: Lysle, Raymond and Wilma. The daughter Maude Kirkpatrick is the wife of Wiley Johnson, a farmer in Stanton Township, and has two children, Nolan and Glen. Claude Kirkpatrick has accepted an opportunity offered him by his father in the management of the home estate, and with his family occupies a house specially built for them by his father. Claude married Miss Hazel Shaw, a native of Urbana, who was educated in the high school of that city.
The mother of these children saw them grow up and carefully supervised their early training, and her death on June 16, 1908, was a heavy bereavement to the family and the community. On September 11, 1913, Mr. Kirkpatrick married Mrs. Idabel (Fisher) Yerger. She was the widow of S. O. Yerger. Mrs. Kirkpatrick was born in Indiana, two miles from the famous Tippecanoe battleground. Her paternal grandparents, Daniel and Mary (Chapman) Fisher, were the first people married in Washington Township of Tippecanoe County.
The Kirkpatrick homestead of 297 acres is a splendid picture of comfort and rural adornment. A fine grove of trees near the home furnishes a cool and leafy retreat and a traveler may ride far and wide over Champaign County without witnessing a more complete picture of rural adequacy and agricultural efficiency. Besides being a practical and natural farmer, Mr. Kirkpatrick is an expert mechanic. His fine country home was built by himself as contractor and architect, and he also installed the acetylene light system, and the gasoline engine which furnishes power for pumping water through the house and about the grounds.
The Kirkpatrick family is active members of the Mayview Methodist Episcopal Church, in which Mr. Kirkpatrick has for many years held a membership. Mrs. Kirkpatrick was reared a Congregationalist. Mr. Kirkpatrick has served the church in official capacities and has been superintendent of the Sunday school. Politically he is a loyal supporter of the temperance cause, and wherever possible directs his influence and help in that direction. In 1916 he supported President Wilson for another term. Mr. Kirkpatrick is a man of public spirit and also interested in community welfare. For a number of years he served as director of the local schools and as township assessor.
Mrs. Kirkpatrick by her first husband had two children, Leland and Gertrude Yerger. Leland is a locomotive engineer with the Grand Trunk Railway and lives at Battle Creek, Michigan. He married Lydia Bull and has children named Elwood, Leland, Idabel and Leola. Gertrude Yerger married E. E. Weldy, a jeweler at Danville, Illinois. They have one child, Yerger Edward.
Mr. Kirkpatrick’s parents were very active members of the Mayview Methodist Episcopal Church, and each of them donated a memorial window to that beautiful chapel. When a young man Mr. Kirkpatrick had hauled material for some of the university buildings at “Urbana.
Mr. and Mrs. Kirkpatrick celebrated their wedding by a 1,000-mile tour through Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, making that trip through the most beautiful months of the year, September and October. September is considered a lucky month in the Kirkpatrick family. Mr. Kirkpatrick was married in that month both times, and his twin children, Maude and Claude, selected that time for their weddings.
Mr. A. J. Kirkpatrick some years ago left the farm and took, up study in the College of Hygiene at Champaign under Dr. Frank Ross. He graduated June 10, 1901, received a diploma, and went to Nashville, Tennessee, and engaged in the practice of medicine. He had begun the study of medicine for his own benefit and pleasure before taking it up as a profession. After a brief practice he found the lure of the farm irresistible and agriculture more congenial to his practical tastes. He is, as already stated, a natural farmer. His beautiful and well kept fields and fine country home attest that fact, and while he is really a landlord, he is first of all a good business manager and a thorough farmer. He has been a useful man in his community and interested in the promotion of every movement for the general welfare.
Recently Mrs. Kirkpatrick sustained a double bereavement in the death of her parents at Salem, Oregon. She had at different times lived with them for several months at a time. While in the Northwest she took special pleasure in the beautiful scenery. She visited the city of Portland at the time of the great rose carnival, an exhibition of rare beauty to the eastern tourist. She witnessed the water pageant on the Willamette River with its miles of boats gaily festooned with roses, with King Rex crowned with, regal authority on his throne of roses, accompanied by his court retinue, amid the salutes of hundreds of guns. Towering above the scene was Mount Hood, with its snow-capped crown in the clouds, and altogether it was a gorgeous spectacle such as deserves to be long remembered.