Yuma County, Colorado

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Yuma County Pioneers:



Henry and Phoebe Neikirk of Vernon

Henry J. Neikirk, born February 22, 1844 in Seneca County, Ohio, was the middle of eleven kids of Daniel C. Neikirk, who married Christena Somers

The 1850 and 1860 census rolls of Scipio, Seneca County, have Henry with Daniel and Christina and many siblings. 1850 has also Charles Summers, 67 - just the right age to be the father of 31-year-old "Christian"

At his home, in Scipio township, Sunday, August 31, 1890, Daniel Neikirk, aged about 90 years. The funeral takes place on Tuesday. He was one of the early pioneers of Seneca county, and one of the last of that sturdy race of men who braved the terrors of the then Western forests, full of wild beasts, and still inhabited by the bands of Seneca Indians of three-quarters of a century ago. "Uncle Dan," as he was familiarly known by all, was born in the state of Maryland, a short distance from the Pennsylvania State line, December, 1800, and was consequently in his ninetieth year at his death. He was the last of a family of eleven children, ten sons and one daughter. He was of Dutch ancestry, the Neikirks having fought under the famous William of Orange in the memorable "Revolt of the Netherlands" against the infamous Phillip II, of Spain. His grandfather emigrated to America in the fore part of the last century and his sons acted "well their part" in the stirring times incident upon the Revolution. Some of the family served during the War of 1812. His father, Michael Neikirk, came to the wilds of Seneca county with his family during the "twenties" and settle d near the old "Indian trail," leading from Upper Sandusky to Sandusky City, now the Kilbourn road. Daniel took an active part in the early affairs of this county. He married at the age of thirty. His widow and (we believe) all his children, of whom there are a large number, survive him. During his life he was a devoted Christian and a member of t he English Lutheran church and although for years he has been unable to attend church, his chief delight was to talk on Scripture themes and about the life that was to come.


Christine Neikirk, at her home near Republic, March 2, 1895 , aged 74 years, 8 months and 18 days. Christine Somers was born in Baden Baden, Germany, June 14, 1820. She emigrated with her parents, to America in 1830. They settled at Zanesville, Ohio, where they resided until 1832, when they removed to Scipio-township, Seneca county, on the farm where she lived until her death. She married Daniel Neikirk in 1837, who died August 28, 1891. She was the mother of eleven children, nine daughters and two sons: Mrs. M. Royer, of Thompson township; Mrs. C. V. Albert, of Chicago, Ill.; Mrs. Edward Cramer and Mrs. Van Cole, of Scipio township; Henry Neikirk, of Colorado; Mrs. Diemer, of Chicago, Ill.; Mrs. Grosscup, of Shelby, Ohio; Mrs. Beard, of Clyde; Charles Neikirk, of Reed township; Mrs. Garman, of West Lodi , and Amanda, the daughter whose life for years has been devoted to her mother. All with one exception, were present at the burial of their mother. There are also living 31 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. In the death of Mrs. Neikirk, Scipio township loses an other of her pioneers, whose ranks are so rapidly thinning. The deceased was a woman of great strength of character. She was charitable and generous and ever ready, with timely help, to those who were sick or in distress. In early life she united with the Lutheran Church and kept the faith until the last. The malignant cancer, of whic h she died, caused her intense suffering, which she bore with sweet patience and fortitude. She was tenderly watched and cared for by her daughters until the end. The funeral services were held at the Lutheran church, four miles north of Republic, and conducted by Rev . Slonaker, who paid a deserved tribute to the deceased. The floral offerings were extremely beautiful.

Henry married Phoebe Fender October 18, 1868 in Seneca County.  One tree said he first married Mar Deimer (and the tree said that his sister Mary D. Neikirk born 1846 married Reuben Diemer - also October 18, 1868)

They had Harley Delbert Neikirk October 2, 1875 in Seneca County, and were in Nemaha County, Kansas in 1880 - "Heny", "Pheobe" and Haley.

In 1890 Henry made a cash claim for a quarter in 4S 43W - in the far southeast of the county, (this might be wrong) and  in 1891 Phoebe a quarter in 4S 47W - southwest corner of the county.  The George M. Neikirk who cash-claimed a quarter near Phoebe is probably a relative. (can any Neikirk relatives shed some light on him ?)

George M Neikirk established the Kirk post office on his farm in 1887.

When Rueben Kline took over as postmaster in 1890, it was moved four miles south to its present location


Even if this is not relatives, it's a dramatic story

Henry Furry Neikirk was born on 19 March 1820.1 He was the son of Henry Neikirk and Nancy Furry.1 Henry Furry Neikirk married Mary Miller, daughter of Daniel Miller and Catherine Funk, on 20 February 1845.1
Note: "The Neikirk farm buildings were a short distance east of Bloody Lane (Antietam Battle Ground). Quite a number of the wounded from the Bloody Lane engagement were taken there." O. T. Reilly

"During a raid make by Confederate scouts through this section about the time of the Antietam battle, and effort was made to get Mr. Henry F. Neikirk's eleven head of horses which he had hidden away along the Antietam Creek, behind some large rock cliffs. Mr. Neikirk was taken, after an attempt was made to burn his barn, to compel him to tell where his horses were, and this failing, they then followed him to his house to get his money. They got a small amount of silver, but a purse containing several hundred dollars was concealed by Miss Lizzie, his daughter. Finally Mr. Neikirk was taken by them and hung up by a leather halter, until he was black, trying to force him to tell, but he would not tell. His son George cut him down just in time to save his life. The horses were taken on another occasion." O. T. Reilly.2 Henry Furry Neikirk died on 15 August 1895 at Keedysville District, Washington Co., MD, at age 75; Was Commissioner of Washington County, Maryland, one term. Deacon of the Manor Brethren Church.1

Children of Henry Furry Neikirk and Mary Miller


Harley married Pollie Ellen Wilson May 28, 1900 in Vernon. She was the daughter, according to the 1900 census, age 15, of Benjamin F. 52 and Margaret I. 43 Wilson.

Margaret L. Welch Wilson is buried in the Miner Cemetery, Salem, Missouri "Margaret - wife of B.F. Wilson - born Aug 14, 1856 died Nov 9, 1902"

Benjamin Franklin Wilson, living the last three years with his daughter, Mrs. H. D. Neikirk, just north of Joes, died Tuesday evening, October 23, 1934, at 6 o'clock, at the age of 82 years, 17 days. Benjamin Franklin Wilson was born October 6, 1852 at Lesterville, Missouri. His early life was spent at Lesterville and at the age of 21 he united in marriage with Margaret Welch, and then moved to Salem, Missouri, where he farmed until 1899, bring his wife and children to Yuma County, Colorado, in a covered wagon and making their home in the Vernon Community. At the age of 35 he united with the Baptist Church. Mr. Wilson was of a very quiet disposition and was a kind and loving father. He leaves to mourn his going, seven daughters, three sons, twenty-four grandchildren, seventeen great-grandchildren and three brothers. Mrs. Wilson preceded him in death in the fall of 1901 and Ada Shively preceded him in death on September 21, 1912. The living children are Mrs. Fanny H. Shively, Vernon, Colorado; Mrs. Lula B. Duckworth, Salem, Missouri; Mrs. Julie Howard, Heartstrong, Colorado; Mrs. Pollie Neikirk, Hughes, Colorado; Chas. S. Wilson, Ridgeway, Colorado; Minerva Wilson and Napoleon Wilson of Hughes, Colorado; Mrs. Emma E. Ferguson, Abarr, Colorado; Walter Wilson, Dover, New Hampshire; Mrs. Fern Bashford, Denver, Colorado; and three brothers, William, Jefferson, and Charles Wilson, all of Lesterville, Missouri. The funeral services were held at the Methodist Episcopal Church at Vernon, Rev. E. W. Wlayer officiating, and burial was made in the Vernon Cemetery. The sons-in-law were pallbearers. Basil Wilson, father of B. F. Wilson, was a first cousin to Mrs. Abraham Lincoln and the Union soldiers made headquarters on the Wilson farm near Lesterville, Missouri. Mrs. Lincoln made several visits to the Wilson farm.

Ben is buried in Vernon, # 18187526.
Margaret's tombstone in Salem, Missouri says 1856-1902 - # 76291601.

  • Contributed by Richard Shively

    Benjamin and Margaret left Missouri in 1899 and headed west to Colorado in two wagons.  They took up a homestead southwest of Vernon.  Upon arrival they dug a hole in the ground and covered it with a makeshift roof (dugout).  This was the temporary home for them and 10 or 11 children.  At some point after Fern was born, Margaret wished to go back to Missouri for a visit and she died while she was there.  Benjamin was at a loss of what to do with 11 children so Fannie (grandmother of Richard Shively) and Pollie took in the younger ones to raise them with their own children.  

    Benjamin's father, Basel, sold horses to the Union Army.  Margaret's family (the Welches) were more Confederate supporters and there may have been conflict.

    My Grandmother, Fannie, would tell me stories of the trip to Colorado and homesteading.  She and her husband, Arthur Shively, homesteaded in 1900 about three miles south of the Wilson homestead. 


George Fix adds

I knew grandpa Wilson.  This is evidently true.  I thought Fern was born on the way out and that Margaret never quite recovered from the child birth so she wanted to go back to Salem to get well.

I didn’t think he was too quiet until he was old.  He  traveled around a lot and stayed with his kids.  The Wingfields thought he was quite a story teller when he stayed at Shively’s.  I went to his funeral when I was 9 years old and remember him staying at the Neikirk’s.  He was quite a tobacco chewer.
There is one son missing from the list.  Napoleon Wilson was about 19 when they came to Colorado but he did not like it here.  When he was 21 he walked all the way back to Salem and spent the rest of his life there.  I believe he was still living when his father died.
The Welch family was quite a prominent Missouri family.  One of them had been Secretary of State for Missouri and it seemed they felt that they were better than the Wilson’s and maybe that was a result of the Civil War;
Richard Shively’s father, Harley bought the Wilson land after Grandpa Wilson’s death.  That is where Dick was raised through high school. 

Dolly E. Neikirk was born March 1881 in Richardson, Nebraska, and married Charles W. Park in Wray in 1903.

In 1900 Glendale (next to Vernon) Henry and Phoebe have Dolly E. (stock herder)

The Charles W. Parks in Atwood, Colorado in 1900 is a likely match.  He's a farm laborer for John Riordan, born March 1879 in Missouri, both parents born in Illinois.

Mrs. Eliza Ellen (Lamb) Park was born in Ohio, September 12, 1852, and died at her home in Peculiar, Mo., on Sunday morning November 24, 1918, at the age of 66 years, 2 months and 12 days.

She was married to George W. Park in McDonough County, Illinois, February 20, 1868. To this union three children were born, namely: John, who died in infancy, Ada Pearl, now Mrs. McCarrel, of Park City, Utah, and Charles W. Park, of Eckley, Colorado.

Dollie Neikirk (Dollie Park) proved up a homestead quarter in section 33, 2S 48W in 1909.  That would be about the "18 miles south of Yuma" mentioned in the wedding announcement.

(the Charley W. Park homesteading a quarter in 3N 45W in 1917 and another quarter in 1926 might be the same one, and leasing a school section in the 1922 atlas in 3N 46W might be the same one.  The 1940 census has Charles and Dollie in the Eckley precinct, and the neighbors indicate they're north of Eckley in this area.)

They're in the 1934 directory, but not the 1937.

Charley Warren Park, 39, signed a WWI draft registration card September 12, 1918 in Wray, Colorado giving his date of birth as March 21, 1879. He and wife Dollie (married 1903) are living at Eckley, where he is a stock farmer. Description medium height, medium build, blue eyes, brown hair.

Charlie (1966) and Dollie (1967) are buried in the Yuma cemetery.

Henry and Phoebe are in Yuma Precinct in 1910, on the same census page as Harley D., 34, Polly 25, May 7, and Polly's brother Walter Wilson 12 and sister Minerva Wilson 20.  Polly and her siblings were born in Missouri.,

Mae Neikirk was a pupil at the Abarr School 1911-1912.

All five of them are in Joes in 1920,

February 12, 1925
May 7, 1925
November 19, 1925

Walter was found guilty of assault in April 1926.

In 1930 and 1940 Minerva is living with Polly and Harley.

On December 21, 1927, Mae NIKIRK married Joe Darling, (possibly related to Charles F. Darling, who homesteaded near Kirk in 1895) and they're in Park County Colorado in 1930.  They're in Englewood in 1940, with Shirley 7 and Stanley 5.  Mae died in January 1984, with last residence of Yuma, and a birth date of March 5, 1903.

Joe has a death date of September 1982, also in Yuma, with a birth date of June 9, 1903..



In the Yuma cemetery Henry was buried in 1938, Pollie in 1927

Harley was buried there in 1962, Pollie E. in 1981. One tree said she died in Loveland June 6, 1981,

September 21, 1961 "Mrs. Polly Neikirk and Minerva Wilson left Monday night by bus for California. They were called there by the death of their sister, Lulu. The ladies' birthday on Sunday and a call had been made whereby the three sisters had had a nice visint on the phone."

Thursday, September 5, 1963 The Yuma Pioneer
Mrs. Minerva Wilson Victor, 70, of the Joes community and her husband, Ewing R. Victor, 62, of Troy, Ohio, were killed in a traffic accident on U.S. 36 near Chillicothe, Missouri, Friday morning. The couple were married recently and were traveling to Ohio when the accident occurred.
Their automobile crashed headon with an approaching truck, killing Mr. Victor immediately. Mrs. Victor died a few hours later in a Chillicothe hospital.
Mrs. Victor was the daughter of Margaret and Benjamin Wilson and was born at Salem, Missouri, January 27, 1893, and came west to Colorado with her parents at the age of six.
After her mother's death she lived most of her life with her sister, Polly Neikirk of Joes. She was united with the Church of Christ many years ago.
Her husband, parents, brother, Charlie and sisters, Ada, Lula and Fannie preceded her in death.
She is survived by four sisters, Pollie Neikirk of Joes, Julia Howard of Wray, Esther Morrison of San Lorenzo, California and Fern Bashford of Dallas, Texas and two brothers, Walter Wilson of Denver and Napolian Wilson of Salem, Missouri.
A grave side service was held Wednesday afternoon at Grandview Cemetery in Wray.

Walter F. Wilson, 31, born at Salem, Missouri, in the Marine Corps at Portsmouth, married Evelyn K. Hitchens of Dover, N.H. on December 8, 1927 at Dover, New Hampshire.

October 1930 "Born, to Mr. and Mrs. Walter Wilson at the Neikirk ranch, October 20, a baby girl."

In 1940 Clear Creek County, Colorado, Walter F. Wilson is 44, born in Missouri, with Evelyn 40 ikn New Hampshire. They have Gelendon P. 9 born in Colorado, Walter F. Jr. 5 in New Hampshire, and Kate M. 1 born in Colorado.

September 2, 1965

Evelyn K. Wilson 1899-2002 had a last residence of Pinellas County, Florida.

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