: This is the photograph of the monument marking the grave of Thomas Kirker (1760-1837), the second governor of Ohio. The gray stone monument has a carved inscription.
Born in County Tyrone, Ireland, he immigrated with his family to this country when he was about 18. After living in Pennsylvania and Kentucky, he moved with his wife, Sarah, to Ohio in 1793 and eventually settled in Liberty Township in Adams County.
Kirker became an influential figure in the Northwest Territory. Governor Arthur St. Clair appointed him to be a justice of the peace in 1797. Over the next several years, Kirker, a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, actively campaigned for Ohio statehood, to the consternation of St. Clair, a Federalist Party member. Kirker represented Adams County at Ohio's first Constitutional Convention in 1802 and also as a member of the General Assembly (1803-1815, 1816-1817, and 1821-1825). He was speaker of the Ohio Senate for seven terms between 1804 and 1815 and as Speaker of the Ohio House from 1816 to 1817.
In 1807, he became governor of Ohio after Governor Edward Tiffin resigned to take a seat in the U.S. Senate. Kirker was defeated in the next election, but the winner, Return J. Meigs, was disqualified because he had not lived in Ohio the required numbers of years to become governor. Instead, Kirker remained as acting governor for the duration of the 1807-1808 term.
As governor, Kirker dealt with Ohio citizens' concerns about American Indian threats in western Ohio. He sent Thomas Worthington and Duncan McArthur to Fort Greene Ville in late 1807 to investigate, but the two men found no evidence to support the settlers' concerns. Because of Worthington's and McArthur's report, military conflict with the American Indians did not materialize during Kirker's administration.
In 1808, Kirker ran against fellow Democratic-Republicans Thomas Worthington and Samuel Huntington for the governorship. Both Kirker and Worthington held similar political beliefs, arguing that the state legislature was supreme in creating law, while Huntington believed that ultimate authority to determine constitutionality of law rested with the Ohio Supreme Court. Kirker and Worthington split the vote among those sharing their view, allowing Huntington to gain the majority and become the state's next governor. Kirker returned to the state legislature, where he continued to represent Adams County until he retired from public service.
He died on his Adams County farm in 1837. He was buried in the Kirker Cemetery, sometimes known as the Kirker Family Cemetery, in Adams County.
View on Ohio Memory.
: AL06960 Subjects
: Adams County (Ohio); Legislators; Politicians; Governors--Ohio; Tombstones (sepulchral monuments); Places
: West Union (Ohio); Adams County (Ohio)