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Genealogy for the Rossville, Kansas area, compiled by the Rossville Community Library.
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Obituary- Kirby, Stephen

A 20th Kansas Veteran Dead.
An event of more than passing interest was the death of Mr. Stephen Shirley Kirby, which occurred at his home on Soldier Creek, March 3, 1910. Mr. Kirby was a native of Ohio, born in Tippecanoe, Harrison county. At the age of ten years he accompanied his parents to Holton, Kansas. When the Spanish-American war broke out and the call for volunteer troops was issued Mr. Kirby enlisted in the 20th Kansas. He served in this regiment during its service in the Philippine Islands. He won the nick-name "Old Steve" because of his fearlessness and bravery. One of his comrades tells this incident: Once the 20th advanced to far for safety; the move bringing the Fillipino fire upon their flank. Col. Funston seeing the danger ordered a retreat. As the order was sounded "Old Steve" rose to his feet and entered a protest. The colonel called "Steve" to his quarters and asked why this insubordination. The answer was "Why we could have run those Fillipinos out of those trenches with a half dozen men, and then we wouldn't have to retreat."

Again in that renowned event, among the many experiences of the 20th Kansas, when in the zone of fire Trembly and White swam across the river with a rope and fastened it to the opposite shore in order to have a line with which to guide rafts over "Old Steve" was with the first raft, that took over Funston. After being honorably discharged from the 20th Kansas, Mr. Kirby reenlisted in the Hospital Corps of the regular army, and served another term in the Philippines. He was honorably discharged from this branch of the service August 29, 1901.

Only a few years after his leaving the service he began to feel the debilitating effect of that dreaded disease tuberculosis which he evidently contracted in the service, and after a long and tedious illness, peacefully fell asleep on March 3, 1910, at the age of 34 years, 6 months and 15 days.

The Rev. John H. Lamb, pastor of the Rossville Presbyterian Church was the officiating minister at the funeral services, which was held at the home on Soldier Creek. Mr. Lamb has spent five years in the Philippines as a missionary and is quite familiar with the places the 20th Kansas made famous. Knowing from his later years view point of the many great blessings, privileges and uplift now being enjoyed by the Fillipino people, and made possible by the sacrifices of the American soldier in those first days. Mr. Lamb took advantage of this occasion to pay a fitting tribute to the American Soldiers, of whom the deceased was one, that had endured the hardships of those first struggles in the Philippines.

Mr. Kirby was buried in the Rossville cemetery, Saturday, March 5, 1910. - Rossville Reporter

[This image from The Emmett Citizen, Thursday, March 17, 1910]


File nameObituary- Kirby, Stephen.jpg
File Size722.18k
Dimensions1180 x 6926
Linked toStephen Shirley (Steve) Kirby

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