Princeton, Indiana Newspaper dated Thursday, March 13, 1879

Death of Joseph J. Kirkman

The many friends of Mr. Joseph J. Kirkman will regret to learn of his death, which occurred at his residence in this place, Sunday evening, the 9th inst., at 9 o’clock, after a brief illness, of typhoid pneumonia.

Mr. Kirkman was born in Christian County, Kentucky, in September 1806, and was consequently, at the time of his death, in his 73d year.  The family emigrated to Gibson county in the year 1813, and were among the first settlers. At that time there were very few houses in the county, and there are very few people now living the county, not more than a dozen, perhaps, who were residents at the time Mr. Kirkman came.  From his early manhood Mr. Kirkman became prominently identified with the interests of the county. He was elected sheriff of the county over forty years ago, and during his life he served as sheriff about eighteen years. That he made a faithful and efficient officer, is fully attested by the fact that he was often called by the people to fill that place.

During the war Mr. Kirkman was an ardent friend and advocate of the cause of the Union, and was in that, as in every other cause which he espoused, fearless and outspoken.  No truer friend of the soldier lived than Mr. Kirkman. The sincerity of his love and respect for the Union soldier, battling for his country’s life and perpetuation, was only equaled by his detestation and hatred of those who were seeking the country’s overthrow and destruction. His house was always open, his hospitality was always genuine and cordial for the soldier, and for every one who was the soldier’s friend. The late Senator Morton was Mr.Kirkman’s  ideal statesman and patriot. He never tired in speaking the praises of Governor Morton, for his eminent services in behalf of the Union cause. And on occasions of Governor Morton’s visits to Princeton, Mr. Kirkman took great delight in extending him the hospitalities of his house.  The last visit Senator Morton made here, in 1876, he was the guest of Mr. Kirkman.

It is useless to deny that Mr. Kirkman had faults, even many of them, nor that he had many, very bitter enemies. No man of his positive character could be without the one, nor avoid having the other.  But there was no deception in his nature, and he was always ready to acknowledge a fault when convinced of it. Those who knew him best knew that beneath that rough exterior there beat a warm and generous heart, and it is those who knew him best that will regret most his departure.

In the late years of his life, Mr. Kirkman turned his attention mainly to farming, and is this capacity gave employment to a large class of laborers. Among this class he was always respected, and he was always ready to lend a helping hand to honest laboring men who were trying to help themselves. A s there was no deception nor shirking from duty in his disposition, Mr. Kirkman could not tolerate it in others in his employ. Consequently, shirks and dead beats could never enlist his sympathy, nor secure employment from him.

It may be said, and said truthfully, that no man ever lived in Gibson county that knew more people, or that more people knew, than Mr. Kirkman. He has often said, that a few years ago he knew every man in the county, and could direct one to where any resident lived. Even now there is scarcely a man, woman or child in the county, but what knew ‘Uncle Joe Kirkman.’

His funeral took place at the M.E. Church Tuesday, at 2:30 p.m. The services were conducted by Revs. Zuring and Jenkins. The church was crowded to its fullest capacity by friends of the deceased, who attested in this manner their great respect for him, as a man, and as an honored citizen of our community.