Thomas Benton Kirlin, a native of Wayne county, was born on June 17, 1854, the son of John and Rebecca Frances (Sealock) Kirlin, natives of Virginia and Wayne county, respectively.
William and Rachel (Willits) Kirlin, the grandparents of Thomas Benton Kirlin, came from Virginia to their Indiana home in Wayne county in a wagon. There they entered one hundred and sixty acres and later bought fifteen acres, where Mr. Kirlin erected a saw-mill. The farm was cleared through the efforts of Mr. Kirlin and the first buildings were erected by him, which were later replaced by more substantial and modern ones. There Mr. and Mrs. Kirlin made their home until their death. Daniel Kirlin, a grandson, now resides on the farm. William Kirlin was a captain in the War of 1812 and was past ninety years of age when he died.
Daniel Sealock and wife, the maternal grandparents of Thomas B. Kirlin, were natives of Virginia and came to Indiana, where they were very early pioneers of Wayne county.
John and Rebecca Kirlin received their education in the early schools of the county. As a young man Mr. Kirlin engaged in farming and continued in the work during his active life. He and his wife both died on the old home farm. They were the parents of three children: James, Thomas Benton and Omer.
Thomas Benton Kirlin received his education in the schools of Wayne county. After completing his education he engaged in farming in Wayne county until 1886, when he purchased his present farm in Green township. Here he has eighty acres of well improved and well cultivated land, where he does general farming.
On Match 27, 1881, Thomas Benton Kirlin was united in marriage to Mary Sowers, of Wayne county, daughter of Henry M. and Katherine (Boyer) Sowers, the mother being a native of Wayne county and the father of Pennsylvania.
Henry M. Sowers was the son of Jacob and Mary (Miller) Sowers, natives of Pennsylvania and Germany, respectively. Mrs. Sowers came to America as a girl with her parents. There were three sisters and one son in the family, the son died on the voyage and was buried at sea. The family were early pioneers of Wayne county. He later established a general store at Germantown, which he conducted with success. For a number of years before his death, he was the postmaster of Germantown.
Jacob and Katherine (Boughner) Boyer, the maternal grandparents of Mrs. Thomas B. Kirlin, were natives of Pennsylvania and Maryland, respectively. When the two first met, he being a German could not speak English, and she being English could not speak German. In time the difficulty was overcome and the two were married and came to Indiana, where they entered land in Wayne county, and there lived on the farm until their death.
Henry M. Sowers remained a resident of Wayne county, where he was engaged in conducting a general store, until his health failed him, at which time he traded the store for a farm, where he lived until his death some years later. He and Mrs. Sowers were the parents of five children: Mary, Frank (deceased), Harry, Nell Alpha (deceased), and Rose. The family were all members of the Lutheran church.
Thomas Benton Kirlin and wife are the parents of two children. Flora and Floyd. Flora is the wife of Earl McCarty, of Madison county. They are the parents of three children, Verl, Harold and Iva May. Floyd is a clerk in the post office at Indianapolis. Fraternally, Mr. Kirlin is a member of the Eagles at Greenfield.
Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Page 1018-1020.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI October 25, 2001.
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