Thomas M. Kirkpatrick
235. Thomas Milligan Kirkpatrick was born on 5 June 1813 in Madison Co., Illinois.90 He died on 10 March 1886 at the age of 72 in Ulysses, Butler Co., Nebraska.106 He was buried in Ulysses Township Cemetery, Ulysses, Butler Co., Nebraska.107 Thomas Milligan Kirkpatrick was the eleventh child of Thomas Newton Kirkpatrick and Mary Ann "Polly" Lane. Thomas Milligan was born in Madison County, Illinois, 5 Jun 1813. He died 10 Mar 1886 in Butler County, Nebraska, near Ulysses. He was married to Celia Ison New on 6 Sept 1832 in Morgan County, Illinois, by Lorenzo Edwards. Celia was born 5 Feb 1815 in Kentucky. She died 25 November 1901 at the home of her daughter, Celia, in Kinder, Louisiana.
Thomas M. Kirkpatrick recounts in his own writings the religiousness of his family, the same faith that converted him early and led to his becoming a Methodist Circuit Rider. In a reminiscence he says: "My father's house was a preacher's home. I recollect the names of many of them yet, such as S.H. Thompson, John Dew, Simeon Walker and others. How I used to delight to water and feed their horses, and hear their sweet songs, their earnest prayers.
"Our parents were converted during the great awakening that was called the Cane Ridge Revival. Father had been raised up in the Presbyterian Faith. His mother (ed. note: Susannah Gillham Kirkpatrick) was a member of that church, but was never converted (to Methodism) until a camp meeting held on my father's land. She was some eighty years of age."
In 1827 Thomas, aged 14 was converted at a camp meeting presided over by the famed Peter Cartwright. he states that his brother Joseph urged him to go forward, then states that of his family, five became preachers -- four of whom were itenerants and the fifth a local preacher. Thomas Milligan Kirkpatrick had cousins who were preachers, also -- the sons of his Uncle John. (His uncles James and Francis did not seem to have offspring who favored the cloth as a profession.)
In 1834 he and his brother William P. Kirkpatrick made land claims in Lee County, Iowa, near Keokuk. The next year they brought their families to Iowa. Thomas has given a graphic and frightening account of a portion of that journey.
"On the fourth of March following, brother William and I, with our families crossed the river on the ice a little above Fort Madison. There had been some warm days that had weakened the ice so much that it was considered dangerous to cross with a team. We had three yoke of oxen. Brother William was driving the team and I was driving the cow and some hogs and sheep behind the wagon. The ice would frequently crack, and I could feel it sink under my feet. The frequently cracking of the ice frightened the cow. She ran forward and became entangled with the oxen. The leaders turned short around and it was with difficulty that Brother could get them straightened out. While they were thus tangled it seemed to me that they sunk several inches below the level of the ice. If ever I lifted my heart in earnest prayer, it was then. It has always seemed to be by a special providence that we escaped being all drowned."
Thomas M. was first licensed as a Methodist Exhorter in 1835. The renewal of his exhorter's license was dated 17 September 1836 and signed by William Pitner, the second Methodist Preacher in charge of what is now Iowa. He was the first person to be licensed as a Methodist Preacher in Iowa. This happened at a camp meeting held at West Point in Lee County in 1837. His preacher's license bears the date 8 April 1837, and is signed by Henry Summers. From 1835 on he was a busy itinerant. He was ordained deacon at Bloomington, Illinois, by Bishop Morris, 15 September 1839, and elder at Platteville, Wisconsin, by the same bishop, 29 August 1841.* He joined the Illinois conference in the fall of 1837 and his first appointment was as junior preacher on the Knoxville (Illinois) circuit, Dr. Chauncey Hobart being his senior. During the year they became strongly attached to each other and the friendship endured for the rest of their lives.
In 1838 he was sent to Mercer, Missouri, where his wife once noted her "children cried for bread for which I had no means of supplying". The family is found in Henry County, Illinois in the 1840 census. In a series of moves, Thomas served Rock River (Illinois) circuit in 1839, Mount Pleasant (Iowa) in 1840, the Rock River circuit again in 1841, Pittsburg (Iowa) circuit in 1842, and the Des Moines Mission (Iowa) in 1843, a circuit eighty miles long. He built a cabin here, a log hut in the woods, without doors, windows or chimney. He moved his family into the hut and resumed preaching the gospel. He averaged one day of rest a week and this he spent in providing as he could for his family. His wife stated that "They were happy in the Work."
Kirkpatrick was assigned to Ottumwa in 1844 Oskaloosa in 1845, Birmingham in 1846, Locust Grove in 1847, Richland in 1848, Yellow Springs in 1849, West Point in 1850, Salem in 1851 and New London in 1852. All these assignments were in Southeast Iowa. In 1854 he went to Minnesota. In 1856 he Joined the Minnesota Methodist Conference at it's organization. He spent four years as Presiding Elder of the Red Wing District. In 1860-61 he was in Cannon City (in Rice County, Minnesota) and at Pine Island in 1862-63.
This was rough arduous work. For example, he held the first religious service in the newly platted town of Ottumwa, Iowa, in the bar room of a tavern. Near Agency in Wapello County, Iowa, a memorial plaque commemorates a service which he held in the wigwam of Chief Wapello in 1837.
In the book by Kirkpatrick's colleague, Chauncey Hobart, it is noted that there were several first for Thomas Milligan Kirkpatrick in Minnesota. "The first quarterly meeting for the charge -- St Peter -- was held by brother T.M. Kirkpatrick who came as a supply for brother Kerns. He came on horseback a distance of sixty-five miles." Again: "... The first sermon here was preached by Rev. T.M. Kirkpatrick at the house of Truman Nutting, Sr." (this was at Faribault, MN). "There is a tollerbly reliable tradition that about the middle of July 1855, Rev. T.M. Kirkpatrick preached the first sermon in what is now the city of Rochester, then a new settlement and containing from three to five shanties. . ."** Kirkpatrick preached at Red Wing, Northfield, Fairbault and other towns and settlements in the region. At Red Wing, in October 1861, he was accepted as a member of the Masons, Red Wing Lodge No. 8.
In 1862 he was assigned to Paynesville, MN, but before he could move his family to the town, the Sioux Uprising had occurred, firing the entire southwestern Minnesota frontier with Indian Warfare. By 1863 he was again preaching in Iowa.
He served in other Iowa and Missouri towns and then finally sent to Huntsville, Arkansas. After traveling the circuit a few times he had to return home because his health had broken. In 1875 he was returned to the Iowa Conference, settling on his place in Lee County. (Kirkpatrick seems to have been one of the original land owners in Jefferson County, Iowa, too, having purchased forty acres in section 21, Polk Township in 1848.)
Thomas Milligan Kirkpatrick apparently served in 1831 in Morgan County, Illinois for some 25 days in the 1st Regiment of the Illinois Mounted Volunteers, Duncans Brigade, Captain Joseph Wesson's company. This was during the early rumblings of the Black Hawk War, called at this time the Sac and Fox War. In 1850 he made claim for bounty land based on this service, but the application -- for what reason we do not know -- was rejected (National Archives -- Rejected #15827).
Two of Thomas' sons served the Union Army during the Civil War. One, Chauncey Hobart Kirkpatrick died of typhoid fever at Corinth, Mississippi, in 1862, and Thomas Milligan Kirkpatrick made the sad trek down river to collect his son's remains. The other son, James Whitfield, returned from the war and collected a pension based on service disabilities. A son-in-law, Reason Burge, husband of Thomas' daughter Mary Elizabeth, also served in the Union Army.
At the request of his children, Thomas Milligan Kirkpatrick had begun to write the story of his life and work before his death, but he had reached only the fourth year or so of his ministerial tale when he was seized with paralysis and was unable to continue. He died soon after at the home of one of his daughters who has not been identified at the time of this writing.
** Methodism in Minnesota, Chauncey Hobart, Red Wing, Minn., 1887.
Note: Bible printed in 1833 and published by B. Waugh and T. Mason for the Methodist Episcopal Church, name on inside cover is Thomas M. Kirkpatrick. This Bible also had Old Testament--had been in a flood. Owned by Wayne and Ruth Kirkpatrick Gothenburg, NE in 1980. A photo copies of the family page entries starts with Thomas Kirkpatrick born Nov. 9, 1766 and ends in 1862. [Brēderbund Family Archive #255, Ed. 1, Land Records: AL, AR, FL, LA, MI, MN, OH, WI 1790-1907, Date of Import: 19 Mar 1998, Internal Ref. #220.127.116.11096.24]
Patentee Name: Kirkpatrick, Thomas M.
Signed: Yes, the document on file at the BLM contains a signature.
Thomas Milligan Kirkpatrick and Celia Ison New were married on 6 September 1832 in Morgan Co., Illinois.20 Celia Ison New, daughter of James Francis New and Nancy McDonald, was born on 5 February 1816 in Warren Co., Kentucky.53 She died on 25 November 1901 at the age of 85 in Kinder, Allen Parish, Louisiana.90,108 She was buried in Kinder McRill Cemetery, Kinder, Allen Parish, Louisiana.109 In the Iowa State census of 1885 Thomas and Celia were living in the household of their son J. F. Kirkpatrick and his second wife Olive. They were in Jasper County, Fairview Township.
Thomas Milligan Kirkpatrick and Celia Ison New had the following children: