J. F. Kirby was born in Iowa county, Iowa, October 22, 1872. His father was Patrick Kirby of County Kerry, and
his mother Bridget Kirby, nee Power, of County Kilkenny, Ireland. The father came to America in 1849, and the mother
in 1851. They were married in Brooklyn, New York, in 1860, and immediately went to live in Lyons, Wayne county,
New York. They continued to reside in Wayne county until 1866, when they moved to Cleveland, Ohio. In 1867 they
came to Iowa in search of good, cheap land. The family took up temporary residence at Davenport in order to give
the father opportunity to look about the state for a satisfactory location. The same year Patrick Kirby came to
Iowa county and purchased the farm in Sumner township which is still owned by J. F. Kirby and his sister, Mary
T. Moynihan. Two years later the family moved to this farm and made it their home until Mr. Kirby's death in 1894.
Later Mrs. Kirby removed to Marengo, Iowa, where she resided until her death in 1906.
When Patrick Kirby bought his Iowa county farm there was but one house between it and the then village of Marengo,
a distance of eight and a quarter miles. It was among scenes like this that J. F. Kirby spent his early years.
He says he can still remember sitting on the doorstep of the little prairie home in the early summer evenings listening
to the dismal howling of the wolves among the hazelbrush on the prairie hills. He says his mother, to her dying
day, delighted to tell of spring in early Iowa, with its green rolling prairies, its hillsides banked deep with
wild flowers, and the air heavy with their stimulating fragrance.
J. F. Kirby received his early training in the public schools, supplemented by such studies as he was able to pursue
between days of farm work. In the fall of 1898, after a year's preparation in the Iowa City Academy, he entered
the State University of Iowa, from which he received three degrees, Ph. B. in 1902, LL. B. 1904, and A. M. 1906.
In 1906 he opened a law office in Williamsburg, Iowa, where he is still engaged in the practice of the law. He
served four years as county attorney for Iowa county, after which he decided to quit politics, except so far as
a private citizen should take an active interest in the affairs of his state and country. He has a wide acquaintance
over the state, and it is said of him that once he makes a friend he keeps him. Fortune has been kind to him, both
financially and in his law practice. He says he appreciates most, however, the fact that he has retained, through
his years of practice, his old neighbors in Iowa county as his friends and clients.
While attending the State University of Iowa, Mr. Kirby met Miss Elizabeth Schichtl of Algona, Iowa, who was also
a student of the university, to whom he was married in 1910 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Mrs. Kirby is of German extraction.
Her father, Joseph Schichtl, was a native of the kingdom of Bavaria, and her mother, whose maiden name was Mary
Fuhrmann, was born in the state of Wisconsin, but her parents came from the province of Treves (Trier) on the Moselle.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Kirby are members of the Catholic church. Mr. Kirby is a member of the Knights of Columbus, and
of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks.
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Iowa County, IA
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