Person Place

Two Markers for Ohio’s Second Governor: Thomas Kirker

In Kirker Cemetery, near West Union, Adams County, Ohio, are two markers dedicated to the second Governor of Ohio, Thomas Kirker.Thomas Kirker, a native of Tyrone County, Ireland, was born about 1760 and emigrated to America in 1769. He and Sarah Smith traveled through Pennsylvania and into Kentucky where they were married in 1790.

In 1793 he and Sarah moved to the Ohio Territory; at that time he was appointed to Justice of the Peace. When Governor Edward Tiffin resigned his governorship to accept election to the United States Senate in 1807, Kirker became the Acting Governor and served from March, 1807 to October, 1808 as Ohio’s 2nd Governor. He was defeated in the gubernatorial election of 1807 by Return J. Meigs but remained in office for 12 months as Meigs had resided in Ohio for the required four continuace years prior to election.

A simple local limestone monument marks the former Governor’s grave. It notes that he departed this life on February 19, 1837, in the 77th year of his age. He was laid to rest next to his wife, Sarah, who died August 20, 1824.