Trying to find unit info for Richard Kirk of Lancaster, PA

Joined
Dec 21, 2018
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65
#1
I have this awesome fire steamer signal lamp that is inscribed on it that it was captured by Richard Kirk of Lancaster during the battle of Resaca GA. I found the history of the capture mentioned in a book from 1879 titled, Historical Sketch of the Union Fire Company, No. 1, of the City of Lancaster, Penna., from 1760 to 1879 , by Alfred Sanderson. Below are photos of the lamp and a snap from the book. I have been trying to find what unit Richard Kirk belonged to. I have search PA rolls, and tried the National Park Service site. I have come up empty handed. Hoping somebody smarter than I could lend a hand.

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20181221_135105.jpg


Capture.JPG
 

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#5
Just dropped in and your lovely piece piqued my curiosity so I did some digging on the Richard Kirk of Lancaster born circa 1802. He died in Harrisburg PA in May of 1870. Married Anna Betzfield (according to his son's death certificate).

His son, Samuel W. Kirk, was a corporal in Co F, 122nd PA. He died in 1906 and is buried in Fernwood Cemetery, Delaware County PA.

None of this answers your puzzle, but who knows where the clues may lead.

Don't you think if Richard Kirk had served with a unit, it would have been mentioned either in the inscription or the blurb in the book or both? It seems like that detail would have been a Big Deal.

SamuelWKirk_Harrisburg_Telegraph_Fri__Dec_14__1906_.jpg
RichardKirk_FuneralNotice_Patriot_HarrisburgPA_3May1870_p2.JPG
 
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#7
ARW, that's what I was thinking. Between the lack of rank and the "captured at" but "presented by"engraving, it doesn't seem to make a slam dunk case that he actually captured it.

I looked into his son wondering if he had been at Resaca, but it doesn't look like his unit was there.
 
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#8
This is what I came up with, Richard Kirk was a long time resident of Lancaster City, he can be found in the 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860 and his widow in 1870 (Harrisburg).

The question that comes to me, is who gave Richard the lamp? He had three sons of age, which was my first thought, but then I wondered at what grade level would a soldier have to be to bring back such a item, in the midst of battle and thereafter. I imagine a private wouldn't be able to come close to pulling it off.

The above mentioned book, the author used newspapers for the story of the lamp, the author/newspaper says captured by Richard Kirk, but doesn't the lamp say "presented by" Richard Kirk?

It just seems to me that a high ranking officer might be able to carry along such a lamp, there was still a lot of fighting left for the units after the Battle of Resaca. I doubt the answer will ever be known.

Three sons of Richard Kirk, the 1850 census shows two and the oldest (Emanuel Kirk, I believe him a son) is living near by. The two living with Richard are Samuel W Kirk (122nd Pa Inf.) is out of the army in 1863. The name of the middle son in the 1850 census can't be read, I'm thinking Hiram Kirk. All in all, they would have been low grade ranks and were unable to bring back such an object.

Note: The 1850 census for Lancaster City is horrific, if one uses FamilySearch, they don't even have Richard and Anna Kirk indexed. It was sheer luck that I found the family.

Richard and Anna Kirk in 1850 (Samuel W is 7)
1850  kirk.jpg


Lancaster City had a fair share of men that served, of course. The Reynolds family (unrelated to the lamp) had four men that served - Major General John Fulton Reynolds being one. President James Buchanan made Lancaster his hometown by 1812.

Someone, if its worth the trouble would have to break down all the Pa. units at the Battle of Resaca and then look over all the men (officers) and maybe a front-runner might emerge as a candidate for bringing back the lamp?

Richard Kirk and family are really a mystery, you can't find any genealogy, all their grave-sites are undocumented, can't find them. It's not known what Richard Kirk's relationship was with Union Fire Company, No. 1. I wish an answer was clear.

Image of the NEW Fire Steamer with the lamp.
Sanderson, Historical Sketch of the Union Fire Company, No 1 Lancaster (1879)_0055.jpg
 
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#10
Not really a clue, but this petition that's been preserved is pretty neat: https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/exh...ompany-no-1-lancaster-pennsylvania-february-6

"Petition of 106 members of Union Fire Company No. 1, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, February 6, 1861
One of the nation’s oldest volunteer fire companies petitioned Congress with this watercolor of the American flag. Likening a civil war to devouring flames, the firefighters implored Congress to pass the Crittenden Compromise or similar legislation to preserve national peace and unity. In the petition they declared their devotion to the welfare of their fellow citizens."

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration
 
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
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#11
Thanks everybody! The research, the chase of history, has always been my favorite part of being a picker. Most times I can find enough information to satisfy the piece I am selling, but this one, I just had the taste for soooo much more. I agree with the idea that Richard Kirk did not even capture this, and that he wasn't even a Soldier. I did not see that any PA unit was ever at Resaca. A mystery that will never be solved, but fun to dialogue with all of you!

I had to laugh reading @57th Indiana Infantry post......HEY PRIVATE! Where are you going with that?! Who me? This? Uhhhh, I thought I could take it.... :smile:
 



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