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 - 2018

Tony Kirkman

George arrived in Dorchester County, MD in the summer or fall of 1649, and records show he worked a pinky-shaped neck of land that juts into the Little Choptank River approximately eight miles southwest of modern day Cambridge, MD. The land was called Prime Hooks and was part of Thomas Walker’s Courtisie Plantation, one of Maryland’s earliest settlements.

Several fellow Kirkmans joined George and men named Roger and William Kirkman were transported in 1664, followed by Malcar Kirkman in 1672. We are not yet able to place these Kirkman’s in our USA tree, but it is probable that George b  bef 1684 (at the top of our present USA tree) was the son or grandson of George transported in 1649

William Penn's treaty with the Indians 1682


The Kirkmans were very early American pioneers. The first known was George Kirkman who was transported from London in 1649 “in bondage” to work the land. He would have laboured for 7 years before being granted 50 acres of land.

Kirkman country, Dorchester County, Maryland

Colonial court records show the Dorchester Kirkmans had picturesque names for their homesteads. In 1682 William Kirkman owned a holding on the south shore of the Choptank called Kirkman’s Discovery and in 1683 also owned the 150 acre Rattlesnake Ridge.

Similarly, in 1708 one of many Maryland George Kirkmans farmed 31 acres called Kirkman’s Lott and in 1715 also owned 50 acres on Fishing Bay called George’s Delight. Not delightful was the Hog Pen purchased in 1752 by James Kirkman.

Other branches of the family tree were planted by Richard Kirkman who stepped ashore in Pennsylvania in 1682, another Richard who landed in Philadelphia in 1725. Sarah Kirkman who came to America in 1772, apparently as a bonded servant girl. Elizabeth Kirkman did the same in 1775, and men named Henry and James landed in Philadelphia and Baltimore in the early 1800s.

There are several claims that a Robert Kirkman was one of the first converts to the

Rev. John Wesley’s Methodist church which roared into prominence in England in 1739. Tradition has it that he came to America with his son, Rev George Kirkman about 1760. George Kirkman made his home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and had a son George Jnr.

Robert Kirkman (or correctly Kirkham see below) was a close friend of Wesley and one of Methodism’s first three converts. Robert, the son of a clergyman, was a "rollicking fellow addicted to tea, drinking and reading Greek testament" (apparently an 18th century version of “cigareets, whiskey and wild, wild wimmen”). Bishop McIntyre says Robert shed his vices during the first Methodist meeting which occurred in Oxford in 1727.

However, the book Oxford University Alumni, 1500-1886 includes the following:

Kirkham, Robert s[on]. Lionel of Stanton, Co. Gloucestershire, cler[ic]. MERTON COLL, matric. 14 July 1727 age 19. B.C.L.1735” The same book also names his father as Kirkham.

A case in point - always check primary sources!!

Do you have an early US Kirkman record that you’d like to add? Please e-mail it to me .