Looking Back: Kirkland family footnotes

June 13, 2004

Editor's note: Information for this article was taken from Mabel Kirkland Bottom's history of the Charles Kirkland family.

FORKLAND - The Kirkland family originally is from Scotland and came to Kentucky in the late 1700s, according to Mabel Kirkland Bottom, Danville, a genealogist who has done extensive research and compiled a history of the Kirklands.

The Rev. Samuel Kirkland, a Methodist preacher, was the first Kirkland to arrive in the wilderness of Kentucky. John Kirkland moved to Mercer County and purchased a farm in 1793.

In 1802, Charles Kirkland moved to Forkland, where a family cemetery is located. The farm has been located in four counties, due to boundary changes. It was first in Lincoln, then Mercer and Casey, and currently is in Boyle County.


Most of the Kirklands in this area descended from Charles and his wife, the former Elizabeth Thompson. Both came to Kentucky from South Carolina.

Local descendants are from Charles and Elizabeth's son, Thomas, who married Frances Scott, and Thomas and Frances' son, Charles King Kirkland, who married Caroline Frances Purdom.

Charles and Caroline had eight children: Millard Fillmore, Elizabeth "Bettie," Sarah Bertha, Mary Rousseau, Thomas, John W., Lucinda and James Logan.

Charles and Caroline Kirkland died from a disease in August 1875, as did their infant daughter, Lucinda. The older children took care of the younger ones by farming and weaving rugs to sell.

Mary "Mollie" Rousseau Kirkland, was married in July 23, 1885, to Samuel Wilson Whitehouse. She was born March 28, 1864, and died March 15, 1934. Samuel was born Nov. 20, 1861, and died Aug. 22, 1892.

Samuel taught at the Black Lick School on Little South Fork River in northern Casey County. He also was a Christian Church preacher. He left the Forkland community in 1890 for Champaign, Ill., to attend school. He died there at age 31.

After Samuel's death, Mary returned to Forkland for a while, then she went back to Illinois where she was became a housemother at a school.

Mary and Samuel had two children: Casca Brown Whitehouse, who was born Sept. 15, 1886, and died Dec. 12, 1941; and Leora Whitehouse, who was born April 20, 1890, and died July 15, 1978.

Casca went to college, taught school and was a minister. Leora was a school teacher and coached girls basketball. She never married. Leora and her parents are buried in Hillcrest Cemetery in Perryville, and Casca is buried in Gresley, Colo.

Samuel Whitehouse was the son of Henry L. and Maria Conder Whitehouse, and grandson of Ben and Polly Whitehouse. He had two sisters, Elizabeth, who married William Tharp Whitehouse, and Anna Lee, who married Frank Ellis.

Elizabeth Fanny "Bettie" Kirkland (1890-1911) married George D. Clarkson (1852-1881). They had two children, Rena Leslie and Etha Grant. Elizabeth was married again in 1886 to John Chumbley. They had three children, Charles H., Fred M. and Virgie O'Neal.

George and Elizabeth Clarkson lived in Lincoln County where they operated a springs resort at Crab Orchard. They later moved to Texas to operate a springs resort. They died and are buried in Texas.

James L. Kirkland was interested in his community and church. He served as treasurer and trustee of Sycamore Methodist Church. He also was trustee of the old Hall School and was overseer of roads in the west end of Boyle County.

He married Martha Ellen Minor, daughter of William Minor Jr., and they lived with his mother a few years.

He bought a farm in 1911 near the confluence of the North Rolling Fork and Scrubgrass Creek. The farm remained in the Kirkland family until 1979.

The James L. Kirkland house was a haven for older people and preachers. The Kirklands were the only people in the community who allowed traveling salesmen to stay overnight.

James L. and Ellen Martha had five children: Clarence, Roy, Kelly, Ruth and Mabel.

Millard Kirkland and Sarah Bertha Kirkland never married. She died at the age of 30. He lived in Illinois for many years and died in 1893.

Thomas Kirkland married Martha Bell Gray and they moved to Illinois. They had four children.

John Wilson Kirkland married Mary Sue Johnson and lived on Danville-Parksville Road. They had five children: Elbert, Artie Lee, Earnest, Prudia and Wilson.

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