Valentine Birkey1858 - 1928 (70 years)
Name Valentine Birkey [2, 3] Born 2 Feb 1858 Dillon Creek, Tazewell Co., IL  Gender Male Education Little formal education, but a degree in life’s experiences Occupation Farmer Residence 1887 Decatur Co., KS
- Went to Kansas for a homestead claim.
Residence 1895 Fisher, Champaign Co., IL
- After difficult years in Kansas moved back to Illinois.
PURC 9 Feb 1910 Fisher, Champaign Co., IL 
- From C.C. and Lena Gut for $4,785. W1/2 of NE1/4, and East 25 acres of NW 1/4 of SW1/4, and W1/2 of W1/2 of NW1/4 of SW1/4 of Section 17 Twp 22N R8E
PURC 26 Feb 1910 Fisher, Champaign Co., IL
- From John Cender. Five acres-W 1/2 of E 1/2 of W 1/ of NW 1/4 of SW 1/4 of Section 17, Township 22N, Range 8E of 3rdPM
PURC 27 Dec 1920 Fisher, Champaign Co., IL [6, 7]
- From Cora A. and H. W. Baker for $8,100. SW1/4 of SW1/4 of Section 17 Twp22 N, R8E--”except a portion leased to the Ommish Mennonite Church Society.”
Reference Number 14 Religion Amish Mennonite USR1 Cancer (See Obit) Died 18 Sep 1928 Fisher, Champaign Co., IL 
- At his farm home.
Buried Fisher, Champaign Co., IL 
- East Bend Mennonite Cemetery. Funeral by J. A. Heiser.
Person ID I14 Schrock-Birkey Connection Last Modified 22 Dec 2018
Father Joseph Bürcky (Birki), b. 19 Mar 1828, Bavaria, GR , d. 6 Dec 1906, Shickley, Fillmore Co., NE (Age 78 years) Mother Maria (Mary) Bircky (Birky), b. 19 Mar 1833, Bavaria, GR , d. 28 Oct 1908, Shickley, Fillmore Co., NE (Age 75 years) Married 7 Jan 1851 Tazewell Co., IL 
- By A. Ropp
Family ID F11 Group Sheet | Family Chart
Family Phoebe (Bena) Good, b. 5 Sep 1863, Hopedale, Tazewell Co., IL , d. 16 Dec 1962, Eureka, Woodford Co., IL (Age 99 years) Married 15 Jan 1882 Hopedale, Tazewell Co., IL [9, 10] Notes
- Valentine and Phoebe were married in the Hopedale Mennonite Church by Christian Nafziger. Joseph Good was a witness.
Valentine was 23, a farmer, and living in Hopedale, IL at the time of marriage. Phoebe was 18.
Children 1. Mollie Ann Birkey, b. 25 Nov 1882, Hopedale, Tazewell Co., IL , d. 22 Sep 1969, Gibson City, Ford Co., IL (Age 86 years) 2. Bertha Ellen Birkey, b. 27 Mar 1885, Hopedale, Tazewell Co., IL , d. 9 Oct 1970, Bloomington, McLean Co., IL (Age 85 years) 3. Joseph Christian Birkey, b. 3 Sep 1887, Oberlin, Decatur Co., KS , d. 25 May 1988, Gibson City, Ford Co., IL (Age 100 years) 4. Alvin Rudolph Birkey, b. 13 Nov 1891, Oberlin, Decatur Co., KS , d. 3 Jan 1973, Champaign, Champaign Co., IL (Age 81 years) 5. Kate Elizabeth Birkey, b. 25 Apr 1894, Decatur Co., KS , d. 1 Nov 1987, Meadows, McLean Co., IL (Age 93 years) 6. Silas Daniel Birkey, b. 21 May 1897, Foosland, Champaign Co., IL , d. 12 Mar 1984, Pontiac, Livingston Co., IL (Age 86 years) 7. Joel Levi Birkey, b. 15 May 1899, Foosland, Champaign Co., IL , d. 18 Apr 1994, Meadows, McLean Co., IL (Age 94 years) 8. Infant Son Birkey, d. 15 Mar 1901 9. Ada Lillian Birkey, b. 15 Aug 1903, Foosland, Champaign Co., IL , d. 14 May 1984, Gibson City, Ford Co., IL (Age 80 years) 10. Edna Phoebe Birkey, b. 6 Mar 1907, Foosland, Champaign Co., IL , d. 16 Apr 1984, West Liberty, Logan Co., OH (Age 77 years) Last Modified 24 Aug 2018 Family ID F6 Group Sheet | Family Chart
Event Map = Link to Google Earth
Photos Valentine Birkey
- Obit: Oct. 4, 1928 Gospel Herald
Birkey. - Valentine Birkey, son of Joseph and Mary Birkey, was born near Morton, Ill., Feb. 2, 1858; died Sept. 18, 1928; aged 70 y. 7 m. 16 d. He was united in marriage to Phoebe Good about 47 years ago. Surviving him are his wife, 4 sons, 5 daughters, 2 sisters, 1 brother, 31 grandchildren, and a large number of old relatives and friends. His parents, 2 sisters, 2 brothers, and 2 grandchildren preceded him to the spirit world. For several years his health seemed to be failing and later cancer developed, which caused his death. He was confined to his bed from June 15 until death. At times, his suffering and pain was very great, but he was very patient through it all. His condition did not seem to alarm him, and he was fully given up to Him who does all things well. He united with the Mennonite Church in his youth and proved faithful until the end. Funeral services were conducted at the home by Bro. S. S. Zehr and at the church by the Bros. Jake Zehr and Ezra Yordy. Text, 1 Cor. 13:12. Interment was made in the cemetery nearby.
Read at the Centennial Celebration of the East Bend Mennonite Church in 1989, in Fisher, IL
“My name is Valentine Birkey. My father was Joseph of the “Big Black” Birkeys, and my mother was Mary of the “Little Red” Birkeys. They both came from Germany to Tazewell County where they met and married. I was born in 1858 near Morton, Illinois, but my parents later moved to near Hopedale. It was at Hopedale that Phoebe Good and I were married in 1882. Here our two daughters Mollie and Bertha were born.
“About this time many families were moving west. In northwest Kansas land could still be homesteaded. We kept hearing there had been lots of rain the last few years and things were looking good. Some of my relatives were moving there, so my parents decided they would move too. It sounded like a good chance to own land, and Mother insisted that all her married children move too.
“So in April 1887, Phoebe and I packed for the long train ride. After arriving we stayed with my parents until September when Joe was born. We had taken out a timber claim which meant we had to plant 500 trees, live on the land and then the 160 acres would become ours. So that summer the men cut sod and built our sod house on the claim. the walls were two feet thick, which kept it really warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It was the roof that gave US trouble--the sod and tree branches always seemed to let the rain through. And I really didn’t like having the rattlesnakes living in the walls. My family had all taken claims very close by. The stagecoach form Oberlin to Colby, Kansas crossed over part of our farm.
“We had a large church congregation in Decatur County. Our services were held in the Swedish Covenant sod church on Sunday afternoons until we finished building our own sod church. The cemetery was 1/2 mile north of the church and that’s where we buried by brother Dan.
“After we got settled in Kansas it forgot to rain. Year after year we had crop failures. the corn would look beautiful in the spring and then the hot, dry winds came and in just a few days the field of corn would be ruined. One year the wheat headed out, but since it was only six inches tall it was too short to cut with the binder. Our only choice was to turn the pigs into the field to do the harvesting. We seemed to get poorer every year. Joe, Alvin and Kate were born in our sod house. We had to divide our potatoes and it was hard to have to feed the children “thick and thin” for supper. What was that? It was thick sour milk to which Phoebe added some fresh sweet milk. We gathered buffalo chips to burn in our stove. Those were hard years on the prairie.
“Families started moving away. Some of my cousins moved by covered wagon to Beemer, Nebraska to help start the church there. some moved back to Hopedale. Two of my sisters moved to Shickley, Nebraska, and eventually my brother Joe moved to Oregon, my brother Jake to Montana. One summer my cousin Christian J. Birkey came to visit. He was married to Phoebe’s sister, so he was my brother-in-law as well. Then he saw how bad things were, he urged US to sell out and come back to Illinois. I told him if I sold everything I owned it wouldn’t be enough to pay our way back.
“On our way to church every Sunday we would stop at the home of the Lund family to collect our mail. One Sunday morning there was a letter from Chris. Phoebe couldn’t wait till after church to read it. Chris said he had bought a farm in Champaign County were a new church had been started. He offered to send US money for the train fare. Chris was like that--he helped many people. It was very difficult for Phoebe and I to get much out of the church service that day.
“Well, we soon made plans to move to Illinois and it was a glad day when we got there. It was almost dark, and as we got near the house I said, “Oh, look at all the sheep out there in the pasture.” Well, when I looked out the next morning, I got a surprise! I saw it was tree stumps instead, and that meant I had a lot of work to do. But we had 20 good years there. East Bend church was building its first building, so I got to help with that. There was no bridge across the Sangamon River north of the church so we had to ford the river. About ten years later, John Naffziger and Chris Good put together a petition and we got a new bridge built across the river.
“After returning to Illinois, Silas, Joel, Ada and Edna joined our family. I was finally able to buy the farm 1/2 mile north of the church. I built a house and barn which are both still standing in 1989.
“I didn’t have much education, but I had a degree in life’s experiences. Looking back on the good and bad times I think we need the bitter lessons to better appreciate the good ones.” [3, 11, 12, 13]
- Obit: Oct. 4, 1928 Gospel Herald
- [S16] Joseph and Catherine Stalter Good, Edna Schertz.
- [S2] The Berkey Book, Ruth Berkey Reichly, (Arlington, VA).
- [S527] Reminiscences of Silas Berkey [Birkey], Lisa Birkey.
- [S18] Gravestone name and dates.
- [S252] Warranty Deed.
- [S252] Warranty Deed, A Quit Claim was signed for the same property in 1924.
- [S253] Warranty Deed.
- [S225] East Bend Mennonite Church Records, Peter Zehr.
- [S215] Valentine Birkey/Phoebe Good.
- [S1058] Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900, Valentine Birkey and Phoebe Good - Marriage Record Vol 1 , page 87.
- [S24] Aunt Kate Does a Bit of Reminiscing, Margaret and Verle Oyer.
- [S137] Valentine Birky Remembers--1935 , P. 22 Reminiscensces by Lisa Birkey.
- [S316] Valentine Birkey vs. Hillory Pitts-Quiet Title.
- [S16] Joseph and Catherine Stalter Good, Edna Schertz.