Raymond Pressley Kirkpatrick

1880 – 1979

By Roger Kemps © 2009


Raymond Pressley Kirkpatrick was born on January 21, 1880 in Oakdale, Illinois. He died on June 7, 1979 in Imperial, Missouri.


His parents were Scotch-Irish Covenanters:


·      James Renwick Kirkpatrick (1857 - 1899) was born in Illinois and is buried in Oakdale Cemetery; Old Section, Row 5, Grave 104.

·      Mary Jane Beggs (1857 - 1942) was born in Illinois and is buried in Oakdale Cemetery; Old Section, Row 5, Grave 105.


Raymond was the one of six children. His siblings were:


·      Mary Catharine Kirkpatrick, born in 1878, married John Ellsworth Luney and had two children.

·      Richard Hamilton Kirkpatrick, born in May 1883, married Charlotte Trice and Carrie Shuler Higginson; no children.

·      Anna Belle Kirkpatrick, born in September 1885, married George Borcherding and had one child.

·      Blanche Melbourne Kirkpatrick, born in April 1889, married Ross Cargill Guthrie and Allison Guy Guthrie and had two children.

·      Madge Evelyn Kirkpatrick, born in October 1894, married Thomas Lester Guthrie; no children.


The 1880 Census shows Raymond, at age 6 months, living in the Elkton Precinct of Washington County, along with his parents, and two year old sister, Mary Catharine. His father’s occupation was listed as farmer.


The “History of Oakdale Township” has over nineteen references to Ray Kirkpatrick. The introduction page specifically thanks him “for the information he gave on the early business places of Oakdale.” He is also mentioned on pages 2, 5, 47, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 56, 60, 62, 64, 71, 76, 81, 82 & 103. Portions of this biography that were taken from this book are referenced with the page numbers.


In the mid 1890s, Ray played the snare drum in the Oakdale Band. His father was the organizer and conductor. Additional members, at that time, were his brother, Dick, and future brother-in-laws, Luther and Will Kemps. See page 82 for details.


Ray ran the steam engine one summer at the Smith Blacksmith & Wagon Shop. See page 64 for details.


Somewhere in the late 1890’s, Ray and his sister, Mary, were selected to participate in a declamation contest. This was a church event held “in order to develop talent of its young people in the line of public speaking and at the same time provide novel and interesting entertainment.” See page 81 for details.


“In 1895, at the age of 15 years, Ray Kirkpatrick worked at the creamery with his father until his father’s death in 1899.” See page 54 for details.


Ray attended Oakdale School #70 during the 1896 – 1897 school year. Classmates included a brother and sister and his future wife, brother-in-law, and two sister-in-laws. See page 103 for details.


The 1900 Census shows Raymond, at age 20, living with his mother and four younger siblings in the Oakdale Township of Washington County, Illinois. His occupation was listed as a butter maker.


On October 14, 1903, Raymond married May Belle Kemps (6/14/1881 – 2/16/1964). May Belle was also born in Oakdale, Illinois. Her parents were Samuel Henry Kemps (1843 – 1921) and Clara Amanda McClurken (1849 – 1936). Raymond and May Belle had three children:


·      Raymond Kemps Kirkpatrick (8/25/1904 – 8/15/1998)

·      Renwick Merle Kirkpatrick (12/22/1907 – 9/1980)

·      Richard Garnholz Kirkpatrick (6/2/1918 – 12/9/2000)


At some point, Ray worked in the Oakdale Township Assessor’s and Clerk’s office. See page 56 for details.


Ray Kirkpatrick recalled that after the railroad was built, his uncle Will Kirkpatrick and later Robert Kearns carried mail from Oakdale to Marissa on what was called the Star Route. R.F.D. was started a short time before 1905 and a second route was added in 1905. Ray Kirkpatrick was a substitute carrier for both routes. See page 48 for details.


In 1907, Ray Kirkpatrick was appointed as the Oakdale postmaster. He “continued to operate the post office in the Ardrey Store building until 1913 when he moved it into a new building which he had built” just west of the old bank building.



“This building was a very appropriate building for a post office. He continued as postmaster until 1918.” See pages 47 & 52 for details.


The 1910 Census shows Raymond and May Belle living with their two children on a farm in the Oakdale Township of Washington County, Illinois. His occupation was listed as a milk purchaser for a condensory.


In 1910, when a hot air balloon arrived from St. Louis, Ray “seized the rope which dragged in the road and aided the balloonists in getting down to terra firma.” See page 71 for details.


On September 12, 1918, Ray registered with the draft board. His registration card indicates that he had grey eyes, dark hair and his occupation was creamery operator for the Centralia Butter Company.


The 1920 Census shows Raymond and May Belle living in the town of Oakdale with their three boys. His occupation was manager of a cream station.


Raymond and May Belle lived in Wichita, Kansas for about eight years until 1928. Ray sold the post office building, that he built in 1912, when he moved to Kansas. A. J. Gambill moved his grocery store and meat market into the building. See page 53 for details.  He also sold the house he had built on Lot 2, Block 3. See page 62 for details.


The 1925 Census of Kansas shows Raymond and May Belle living in Wichita with their three boys. Ray was a clerk for a wholesale company and May Belle was a music teacher.


After returning to Oakdale, Raymond and May Belle purchased a 160 acre parcel in Section 11, lived on it, and farmed it for many years. May Belle also owned the 80 acre parcel in Section 14 (immediately west of Oakdale) where her parent’s home and farm were located. See blowup to identify the locations.


The 1930 Census shows Raymond and May Belle living in Oakdale with their youngest son, Richard, and May Belle’s mother, Clara Amanda McClurken Kemps. Ray’s occupation was salesman for a general merchandise store. At the time of the 1930 Census, Renwick Merle Kirkpatrick and his wife, of two years, Blanche, were living in St. Louis, Missouri. Living with them was, older brother, Raymond Kemps Kirkpatrick. Both brothers were druggists.


Ray and his sister, Anna Belle Borcherding, operated the Garnholz-Borcherding Store from 1939 (after her husband, George Borcherding, died) until 1943. See page 60 for details. The 1940 Census shows Raymond and May Belle living in Oakdale where he was a clerk in a grocery store. The 1940 Census also shows: their oldest son, Raymond Kemps Kirkpatrick, as a druggist in St. Louis, Missouri; Renwick Merle Kirkpatrick working as a clerk in a glass factory in Brockway, Pennsylvania; and Richard Garnholz Kirkpatrick working for a farmer in Waukegan, Illinois.


In 1942, Ray again registered with the draft board. His registration card indicates that he was working for the Borcherding Mert. Company.


Ray Kirkpatrick was the telephone switchboard operator from 1949 to 1953 for the Farmers Cooperative System. See page 50 for details.




May Belle Kemps Kirkpatrick died on February 16, 1964 in Pinckneyville, Illinois. She is buried in Oakdale Cemetery; Old Section, Row 12, Grave 52. Her obituary provides additional details about her life.


When Raymond was about 90, he closed out his home in Oakdale and went to live with his son Renwick Merle’s family in Oklahoma.


Raymond died on June 7, 1979 in Imperial, Missouri. He is buried in Oakdale Cemetery; Old Section, Row 12, Grave 53. To see an image of the headstone, see this link.


Reference files:


Oakdale, Illinois



1880_Raymond_Kirkpatrick.pdf  see line 40

1900_Raymond_Kirkpatrick.pdf  see line 18

1910_Raymond_Kirkpatrick.jpg  see line 94

1920_Raymond_Kirkpatrick.jpg   see line 40

1925_R_P_Kirkpatrick_Kansas.jpg  see line 23

1930_Clara_Kemps.jpg   see line 18

1930_Kemps_Merle_Kirkpatrick.jpg see lines 75-77

1940 Raymond Kirkpatrick.jpg  see line 23

1940 Kemps Kirkpatrick.jpg  see line 18

1940 R M Kirkpatrick.jpg  see line 64

1940 Richard Kirkpatrick.jpg  see line 25



Blowup_of_Oakdale.pdf     see Sections 11 and 14


History of Oakdale Township


Genealogy Trails Washington County Website

Oakdale Cemetery Letter 1987.pdf

Narratives of Randolph County.pdf  page 80

Narratives of Randolph County - Kirkpatrick.pdf  page 4

A Brief Look at the Kirkpatrick Family Tree


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Last updated  10/9/2013