“Jimmie” Kirby and Mary O’Donnell were born and married in County Mayo, Ireland. In 1843, their oldest son, nine year old Steve came to Akron, Ohio, alone to work for Jonathan Babs and go to school part time. In 1852, the parents and the other six children settled near Wilmington, Ohio. Their eighth child was born here in 1858.
Shortly after her birth, the Kirbys came to Illinois and bought the place where Marvin LeMar now lives. All the Kirby children married except Patrick who died in the 1860’s. The girls, Bridget Sammon, Mary McDonald, Kate Malloy, Hannah Davis, and Margaret Goyen lived in the Rochelle area.
Steve (twice married) had nineteen children. He lived on the Kirby home place until his death in 1917 at age 83.
James bought land adjoining the home place and finally owned 880 acres. His parents lived with him until their death. In 1894, James married Ellen Burke and they had seven children.
James was supervisor of Alto Township and on the Board of Review for several years. He died in 1909 and his wife in 1913.
Of the twenty six children born on those two adjoining farms, only one, James’s son, Jim Kirby of DeKalb, now lives in the area. Also living in DeKalb is Jim’s son, James and his seven year old grandson – the fifth James Kirby in the family.
Source: Lee Centennial Book