A more enterprising, energetic man, with ability commensurate therewith, than the subject of this sketch is hard to find in the state of Idaho. Mr. Kirby, while maintaining a reputation untarnished and unquestioned, has always been at the head in any line of enterprise that was for the general welfare and the up building of his County and state.

A more detailed account will furnish interesting reading for the history of our County and therefore we append a life’s review of Mr. Kirby. He was born in Canada, on January 23, 1847, being the son of William and Mary (Metcalf) Kirby, natives of England. The father was a farmer and a squire, born in 1833 and died in 1895. His wife was born in 1833, also, and died in 1897.

Our subject remained at home in Canada, receiving a fine education which fortified him for the affairs of life until he was of age. He learned the tanner’s art there. When his majority arrived, he came to the United States and settled at Ottawa, Kansas. Two years later, he shipped a car of furniture and drugs to Juliaetta and did business there for one year. Then he sold out and started the town of Kendrick. Mr. Kirby was eminently successful here and made twenty thousand dollars, but in the panic of 1893 he lost heavily. He then operated in grain there and built two of the largest ware’ houses in the town. In 1805 Mr. Kirby came to the Nez Perces reservation, settling at Peck. In 1898, he started the town and is now one of the large property owners of the site.

On November 8, 1874, Mr. Kirby married Miss May daughter of Smieron and Agnes Hall, natives of England and Scotland, respectively. The nuptials occurred in Longton, Kansas. Mrs. Kirby was born in Canada in 1850 and has two brothers and three sisters. Mr. Kirby has one brother, John, in Canada. To Mr. and Mrs. Kirby there have been born three children, Rollie, a furniture dealer in Peck; Eller, deceased; Lulu Herres in Peck. Mr. Kirby deals in real estate, is the postmaster of the town, and does notary work.

He is an active Republican and a potent factor in the field of politics. Since 1897, Mr. Kirby has been manager of the exhibit from Kendrick, and from Nez Perces County in 1899, 1900, for the interstate exposition at Spokane, and has won the silver cup twice above all competitors. One of the cups is worth one hundred and fifty dollars. Mr. Kirby is especially talented in this line and is able to handle things as they should be. Recognizing this ability, he was appointed as one of the World’s Fair commissioners from Nez Perces County, while he has been appointed by the Idaho state commissioners to superintend the exhibit at St. Louis, and in addition to this, the governor of Idaho has appointed Mr. Kirby to collect specimens from the state of Idaho to be exhibited at the Lewis Clark exposition in Portland in 1905.

He has already a goodly showing and is prosecuting this work with vigor and intelligence. Mr. Kirby is full of the right kind of energy and all know that when he takes hold of a thing, it will go. He is held in high esteem by his fellow townsmen and is worthy of the respect and prestige which he generously enjoys. He is a man of integrity and very much credit is due him for the excellent labors he has done to bring this section of the country to the front.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903