Jesse Randolph Kirby may well be remembered for his fashionable home that once amazed Wylieites as they passed by its manicured lawn in their little horse drawn buggy on the way to Sunday morning church service. The impressive structure originally stood at Birmingham and Kirby Street back in 1930. The house was moved to Jackson Street and Hartman Elementary now occupies that location.
Mystery has surrounded Jesse Kirby for years and there is probably more that we don’t know about him than we do know. We do know that he was the third of five children born to Jesse and Lucinda Fitzgerald Kirby. Both parents are interred at Big A Cemetery in Rowlett, Texas.
Jesse married Mary Elizabeth Christian. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri and the daughter of Joseph and Mary Bletler Christian.
It was during the early fall of 1854 when a small group of Kentucky settlers prepared for their overland journey to the Texas frontier. The caravan of eleven covered wagons left Monroe County, Kentucky and traveled first to Memphis where they crossed the mighty Mississippi River and then on to Little Rock and finally over to Rowlett, Rose Hill, Pleasant Valley and Sachse area.
The entire trip lasted forty five days, with all eleven wagons arriving on November 1, 1854. It was later reported that “all arrived safely and without hostile encounters.” Samuel Compton, Benjamin C. Kirby, John R. Kirby, William Kirby, Jessee Nelson and their family members occupied the majority of these wagons.
Nancy Barland Nelson, born October 21, 1796 was probably one of the oldest travelers in the group. Descendants of these early pioneer wagon train members totaled several hundred by the late 1890’s. And now, nearly one hundred and fifty years later, their descendants would easily total over a thousand.
Both Jesse and Mary Elizabeth, along with their daughter Alice Bertha Kirby Cooper are interred at Wylie Cemetery.