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Biographical Sketch
John T. Kirwan
Doniphan County, Kansas


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The following transcription is from a 750 page book titled "Genealogical and Biographical Record of North-Eastern Kansas, dated 1900.  These have been diligently transcribed and generously contributed by Penny R. Harrell, please give her a very big Thank You for her hard work!

Gold Bar

John T. Kirwan.

In 1889 Severance was called upon to mourn the loss of this gentleman, who passed away on the 30th of May, but he left the impress of his individuality upon the public life of the town.  He was instrumental in founding upon a safe basis some of the leading business concerns.  He was born in Ireland and possessed many of the characteristics of his race.  In his character were found those sterling qualities which have ever marked the true type of the Irish nation, continuous industry, invincible spirit, sturdy loyalty and unwavering honor. 

Mr. Kirwan's birth occurred on the 31st of May, 1834, in the county of Wexford, Ireland, and his father, James Kirwan, was born on the Emerald Isle in 1808.  Having arrived at years of maturity the latter married Ann Sinnott, who was born in Ireland in 1810.  Crossing the Atlantic to America, they spent their last days in Doniphan county, Kansas, where the mother's death occurred February 25, 1880.

The subject of this review was reared and educated in his native land, and in 1855 sought a home in the New World.  Three years later he took up his abode in Doniphan county, and for more than thirty years was identified with its interests.  He began life as a clerk in a dry goods store, and was a prominent factor in commercial circles.  In 1884, however, he opened a private bank and continued it until his death.  He made a close study of the banking business and conducted the affairs of the institution upon safe principles and along conservative lines.  His well known integrity and executive force gained for the bank a reputation for ability that won it a liberal patronage.

On the 26th of May, 1872, John T. Kirwan was united in marriage to Miss Ellen Burns, who was born in Nelson county, Kentucky, July 23, 1854, a daughter of Joseph F. and Mary (Adams) Burns.  Five children were born of the union of our subject and wife, namely: Zula, Vincent J., Oliver, Osmund and Claudia, the last three of whom are deceased.  The elder son is now occupying the position of assistant cashier in the Bank of Severance, where he displays many of the qualities which made his father so successful in business.

Mr. Kirwin was prominently identified with the political interests of the county, and for four years served as the county clerk.  He served as the mayor for three terms, and administered the affairs of the office in a manner that produced many needed changes, reforms and improvements.  He was at all times loyal to his duties of citizenship, and during the civil war he manifested his patriotic spirit by responding to the country's call for troops, enlisting in Company E, Thirteenth Kansas Infantry, with which he served from 1861 until 1865. 

With an honorable military record he returned to his home and took up the duties of civil life and carved his name upon the records of the history of his adopted county.  In his religious connection he was a Catholic, and his wife is also a communicant of the same church.  She is a cultured lady, now occupying the old homestead, and is both widely and favorably known in Severance.

  Gold Bar

Last update: Saturday, January 17, 2004 15:38:19

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