22 Apr 2005
Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Whiteside County, IL
Originally published 1885 Chapman Bros., Chicago, IL
Transcribed by: Becky Jones
Pages 584, 587
Charles Shirk, a retired farmer of Whiteside County, resident at Morrison, is a leading and representative pioneer citizen of the county, and has been for 20 years intimately identified with the development and substantial progress of its agricultural interests, and been especially active in the furtherance of its social, moral and religious interests.
He was born Dec. 23, 1816, in Center Co., Pa., and is the son of Joseph and Catherine (Sissler) Shirk. His parents were born in the Keystone State, where his father was engaged in the business of a tanner and currier. They had five children, Mr. Shirk and two older brothers constituting the survivors. Robert is a shoe dealer in Center County; Mordecai is a tanner in the State of his nativity. The sons were brought up at home under the supervision and authority of their parents. Jan. 11, 1838, Mr. Shirk of this sketch was united in marriage to Sarah Galbraith, who was born Aug. 15, 185, in Armstrong Co., Pa., and they became the parents of ten children, five of whom are now living. Catherine was born Oct. 6, 1838, and died Dec. 12 ensuing. Miles B. was born May 23, 1840, and is the proprietor of a clothing establishment at Morrison. Mary, born April 13, 1842, was married Nov. 5, 1860, to Clemens Watson; Milton was born May 9, 1844 and died July 1, of the same year; John B., born May 3, 1845, died Sept. 1, 1863; James C., born May 5, 1847, died Aug. 23, 1868; Ellwood W., born July 13, 1849, is engaged in the livery business at St. Paul, Minn.; William, born June 22, 1851, is a farmer near Morrison; Elizabeth, born April 10, 1853, is the widow of James Shafer; Margaret, born March 10, 1855, died Feb. 1, 1863. The wife and mother died Aug. 14, 1881, after a wedded life of more than 43 years.
Mr. Shirk was a second time joined in marriage, to Emeline Johnson, April 5, 1882. This union was of short duration, the second wife passing to the world of silence and of mystery April 20, 1884, after but little more than two years of married existence.
Sept. 24, 1884, Mr. Shirk contracted a third matrimonial alliance, with Ellen Steer. She was born April 24, 1830.
Mr. Shirk was a citizen of his native State until 1864, when he transferred his energies and interests to Whiteside County, purchased 160 acres of promising land on section 12, Union Grove Township, and section 7, Mt. Pleasant Township, and brought to bear thereon all the abilities and skill which were the outgrowth of a life of endeavor under the fostering influences of the East. He placed all its acres under the best style of cultivation, and he made it an attractive home for his family of growing children, and its ownership is still held in the possession of him who tilled its soil in hopefulness and made it the nucleus of his years of successful effort. He also owns 320 acres on section 16, and 200 acres on section 21, in the same township, together with 40 acres of timber in the township of Clyde and two lots with residences in the city of Morrison, one of which is occupied by his family, the other by that of his son William. He is also the owner of $12,000 invested in the stock of the First National Bank at Morrison, of which he is one of the Directors.
He belongs in membership to the First Presbyterian Church at Morrison, and was one of the most liberal contributors in the erection of the new and handsome church edifice of the society.