RALPH VAN KIRK. Of the first families in Washington county, none are more prominent than the Van Kirks. John, Henry and----Van Kirk, natives of New Jersey, came to this county, and settled in Amwell township. John first left his native State, and on December 10, 1785, purchased of Abner Howell a tract of 359 acres in this county, which was patented February 26, 1792. Here he lived until his death, which occurred in 1797, when the farm was divided between his three sons, Jacob, Henry and Joseph. He left four sons and three daughters, who were born in New Jersey: Sarah, Jacob and Henry being the children of his first wife; and Joseph, Elizabeth, John and Catherine were children of a second marriage. Henry Van Kirk, the second of the three brothers, purchased a tract of 260 acres of land which was known as "Red Thorn Bottom." On this farm he lived and died, leaving six children, namely: William, Gideon, Arthur, Henry, John and Mary, all of whom were born in New Jersey, and William remained there. Arthur, the second son of Henry Van Kirk, learned the trade of a cabinet-maker, and after his marriage to Elizabeth Parkinson, settled in Amwell township, where the following children were born: Asher, Edward, Ralph, William, Lucretia, Emma and Sarah.
Ralph Van Kirk was born December 27, 1815, and married Sarah Cooper, November 11, 1841, a daughter of Sylvanus Cooper, of Franklin township. To Mr. and Mrs. Van Kirk were born the following name children: Charles, Addison (who died in infancy), Jennie and Ella (who lives at home with her mother). Charles married Elizabeth Gamble, daughter of Levi Gamble, of West Bethlehem township, and to them was born one daughter, Dora (who died of typhoid fever March 20, 1883, at the age of fourteen); Jennie married George McElree, of Franklin township. They have two sons: Hiram Winnett, Ralph Alexander, and one daughter, Nellie Brown. Mr. Van Kirk was for six years director of "Washington County Home," which office he filled with much credit. He was one of the leaders of the Republican party in his neighborhood, and commanded the esteem of all who knew him. An honest citizen, an earnest Christian and member of the Methodist Church, he was a leader in the community. Mr. Van Kirk was called to his "long home" in January, 1890, deeply mourned by all.
Sylvanus Cooper, named above, is descended from John Cooper, who emigrated from Buckinghamshire, England, in 1635, and settled at Lynn, Mass. Four years later he located at Southampton, L. I., whence the family spread out to other settlements. Zebulon, the father of Sylvanus, born in New Jersey, emigrated to Washington county, Pennsylvania, where he married Mary White. To them were born four boys and girls. Sylvanus was born December 27, 1789. In 1812 he married Mary Bryant, a lady of noble character and a cousin of William Cullen Bryant. He had twelve children. Zebulon, the oldest, married Sarah Nicely, and resides in Iowa. He has nine children. David married Hanna Dille. They have ten children. He died in MEmphis, Mo., of paralysis. Charles married Sarah F. Daychurck, of New Brunswick, N. J. He was a minister of the Presbyterian Church. His last charge was at South Centerville, N. Y. He had three children. John married a lady in Texas, and resides in Carrollton, Mo. Five children were born to them. Catharine married Harvey Gamble. Their late home was in Winfield, Iowa, where they both died. They had four children. Jane married Thomas Hanna. They have five children. She has been dead for several years. Mary married John Atkinson. They had four children. She died at the residence of her son Charles in Missouri. Sarah married Ralph Van Kirk, of Washington county. She has three children living: Charles, Jennie and Ella. Addison died in infancy. Elizabeth married Nelson Day. Three children were born to them. She now resides in Iowa. Caroline married Gallatin Vaile and they reside in Rochelle, Ill. They have five children. Henrietta, the youngest, lives in Carrollton, Mo. Sylvanus Cooper died at the residence of his son, Zebulon, in Winfield, Iowa, on April 10, 1873, at the age of eight-four years. His wife died August 9, 1846, at the age of fifty-three years.
Text taken from page 973 of:
Beers, J. H. and Co., Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893).
Transcribed March 1997 by Paula Talbert of Caldwell, OH as part of the Beers Project.
Published March 1997 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com/.
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