Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
WILLIAM L. KIRKEY. It is not a very frequent occurrence that in a historical work of this kind the biographer finds a man who was born in the fair Sunflower state living cast of that state; they either prefer to remain within the limits of their own boundary or go farther west, but in the person of William L. Kirkey, foreman of the mechanical department of the reclamation plant of the Frisco's South Side shops, Springfield, we have an exception, and, if all natives of Kansas are as capable in their vocations and as good citizens in general as he, we would welcome many more to Greene county
Mr. Kirkey was born August 24, 1872, in Highland Station, Doniphan county, Kansas. He is a son of Louis and Nana (Jones) Kirkey. The father was born in America of French parents, and the mother was a native of Nevada, Missouri. His death occurred in 1874 and he was buried in Kansas. Her death occurred in 1886 at the age of forty-eight years. To the union of these parents only one child, William L., of this review, was born. After the death of her first husband the mother remarried, N. N. Fields being her last husband. To them three children were born, namely: Nathan was a carpenter in Springfield, Missouri; Charles is deceased, and. Burton E. is the youngest.
William L. Kirkey worked some on a farm when a boy and he received a limited education in the public schools. He hired out at farm work when only thirteen years of age, later learned the marble-cutter's trade, having had natural ability as a sculptor. He served his apprenticeship at Rich Hill, Missouri, for P. H. Scott, and continued in this work for twelve or fourteen years, then turned his attention to machinery and learned the machinist's trade at St. Louis, meanwhile studying at home all books available pertaining to his trade, and in due course of time he became an expert, working for the Parker-Russell Mining and Manufacturing Company as a full-fledged machinist, at their St. Louis plant for six or eight years, the last four or five years of that period as foreman. He then secured employment with the Frisco Railroad Company at Springfield in the North Side shops as carpenter in the coach department, in 1907, then was inspector until in November, 1913, when he was transferred to the reclamation plant of the company in the South Side shops as foreman of the mechanical department, which position he still holds to the satisfaction of his employers. Here repairing of all descriptions is done, as well as new work turned out. He has a large number of men under his direction, about forty on an average. He still devotes some time to sculpture, maintaining a shop at home, this being his hobby, and he has achieved quite a reputation as a sculptor, turning out some beautiful work from time to time. He owns a pleasant home on Vernon avenue.
Mr. Kirkey was married in October, 1892, to Clara F. Phillips. She is a daughter of George and Mary Phillips, of Springfield, where she grew up and was educated. To our subject and wife two children were born, namely: Mabel, who married Frank Thomas, a farmer at Cabool, Missouri; and Clarence, a carpenter in the South Side Frisco shops.
Politically, Mr. Kirkey is an independent voter. Fraternally, he belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Modern Woodmen of America and the Free and Accepted Masons. He is a member of the Christian church.
Springfield-Greene County Library