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Who was S.B. Kirby?

Samuel Bowman Kirby was born on January 16th, 1848 in Marshall County, Alabama.

S.B. Kirby as he was known in many circles met and married Dovenia (Dovie) Skelton on August 20, 1875 and shortly there after moved to Little Rock, Arkansas.

Mr. Kirby was a sells agent for the Wheeler & Wilson Sewing Machine Company.

Upon arriving in Little Rock the Kirby's purchased a lot in the l200 block of Louisiana. They built a large two story frame home at 1215 S Louisiana.

August 9, 1876 they welcomed their first child Sammie  into the world. The following summer on June 22, 1877 they would lose their young son to illness. Arkansas Gazette Article:

Kirby, Samuel Bowman, infant son of S.B. Kirby and Dovie Kirby, June 22, 1877 at 6:15 p.m., aged ten months and thirteen days.

The funeral will take place from the residence on Louisiana Street, between Twelfth and Thirteenth Streets, at 3 o'clock today. Friends and acquaintances are invited to attend.   

Mr. Kirby's business originally located at 212 West Markham.  He and his business were featured in a tour book of Little Rock "City of Roses".  Excerpt as follows:

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                         A FEATURE OF THE CITY 
       People who come to Little Rock are apt to look around to see what they can see, and among the first places to attract their attention is the establishment of S.B. Kirby, on West Markham Street. It is not a pretentious looking place, but even the casual observer it presents such an air of thrift and activity that a second look is always taken. Mr. Kirby is in the sewing machine business, and he is one to remark that he is making a livelihood for a hundred men, in a business which so many are apt to say " has gone to thunder." He has engaged in the sale of sewing machines in Arkansas since 1875, and prior to that time he had an extensive and varied experience in the same business in Texas and Alabama. Of all the States he has been however, Arkansas is his favorite State, and for years before he located here, his one chief "idée" was to get the sewing machine business under his control, and the success of hid efforts in that direction are manifest to all who know aught of him or his business.
      From his little place on West Markham street he sends out daily large shipments of machines. He has  been called the "Sewing Machine King of Arkansas," and the title is by no means an inappropriate one, for with his active thrift he has made the name Kirby known even in the remotest corners of the State, and he has come to be looked upon as one of the features of Little Rock which could not be spared. 

April 13, 1878 Samuel Kirby would be charged with Postal Stamp Fraud. These indictments refer to Mr. Kirby's transactions with Postmaster  of the "4th class" by the exchange of sewing machines for postage stamps, and otherwise. Arkansas Gazette article....

                              STAMP FRAUD

Arrest of Parties in This City Accused of Unlawfully Trafficking in Postage Stamps-Action of the United States Grand Jury in the Premises

From Statements made to us by Mr. William Small, Special Agent of the Post Office Department, we give the following Information:  

For a long time now the Government has been apprised of the existence of a strongly organized combination in this section for the maintenance and practice of a systematic and unlawful traffic in postage stamps, and recently Mr. Small has worked up the matter and brought it to the attention of the United States District Attorney, resulting on Wednesday last, in the indictment of Mr. Samuel B. Kirby, agent for the Wood sewing machine in this city, before the Grand Jury now in session, under provision of section 5480 of the Revised Statutes, charging him with a mailing scheme to defraud the United States, and on Thursday the Jury found another indictment against Mr. Kirby, charging him with bribing Postmasters.

These indictments refer to Mr. Kirby's transactions with Postmasters of the "4th class," by the exchange of sewing machines for postage stamps, and otherwise. Mr. Kirby was arrested and had given bond for his appearance from day to day, and the investigations are still in progress, which will implicate a large number of Postmasters, subcontractors and others, but the Government is determined to ferret to the bottom what has grown to be second only to behind the  gigantic whisky frauds in its proportions, the encroachments upon the revenues of the Department accounting annually to over a quarter of a million dollars.

It is claimed that Mr. Kirby's transactions in the business have been very extensive throughout the Northwestern States, and the authorities assert that his operations with Post Office officials have  had a wonderfully pernicious effect upon the interests of the service.    

The statement has been made Mr. Kirby was all along acting under
"eminent legal advise," which certainly can not be correct, as no eminent legal counsel would advise any one to pursue an avocation or a speculation leading to the defrauding of the Government, unless that advice was given under a misapprehension of facts, which view we inclined to take.  

This is considered the most important Post Office case that has been brought before the courts for years, embracing a larger field and implicating a greater number, and while we agree that too much credit can not be given Judge C.C. Waters for the able and energetic manner in which he has conducted this case, the actions of the Grand Jury has been most commendable and that if, upon further investigations, Mr. Kirby's guilt is established beyond all cavil or doubt, he should suffer the penalty, we will add, upon the other hand, that if he proves himself innocent of the various charges now pending against him, we will readily and cheerfully accord him as full use of columns as may be needed to establish his innocence.   

April 14, 1878 two more charges were brought against him in the Postal Stamp case. Bringing the total to six. Arkansas Gazette article....

                               STAMP FRAUD (CONTINUED)

In addition to the indictments found against the S.B. Kirby, Wood Sewing Machine agent on Wednesday  and Thursday, for unlawfully trafficking in postage stamps, two more were found yesterday " for conspiring  to defraud the United States," thus making four in all--the first two being one for misusing the Post Office establishment, and one for bribery of Postmasters. The sections relating to these offensives are as follows:

July 15, 1878 second son would arrive William Robert Kirby.
William R. Kirby would move to Chicago around 1924.

November 9, 1879 Mr. Kirby was found not guilty on all charges of Postal Stamp fraud. His Attorneys were Judge Rose, Yonley and Whipple, Bishop & Rice. Arkansas Gazette article below.