PHILIP KEARNEY BUSKIRK
The character of a community is determined in a large measured by the lives of a comparatively few of its members. If its moral and intellectual status be good, if in a social way it is a pleasant place in which to reside, if it reputation as to the integrity of its citizens has extended into other localities, it will be found that the standards set by the leading men have been high and their influence such as to mould the characters and shape the lives of those with whom they mingle. In placing the late Philip K. Buskirk in the front rank of such men, justice is rendered a biographical fact universally recognized throughout the locality long honored by his citizenship by those at all familiar with his history. Although a quiet and unassuming man, with no ambition for public or leadership, he contributed much to the material, civic and moral advancement of his community, while his admirable qualities of head and heart and the straightforward, upright course of his daily life won for him the esteem and confidence of the circles in which he moved, and, although he is now sleeping the "sleep of the just," his influence still lives and his memory is greatly revered.
Philip K. Buskirk was born in Bloomington, Indiana, on the 11th of September, 1860, and he was the son of George A. & Martha Buskirk, pioneer residence and honored citizens of the city of Bloomington, now deceased. He received his education in the common schools of his native city and the State University, graduating from the latter institution in 1884, having attended an Episcopalian school in Michigan early in life. He also studied law and was admitted to the bar. His first active connection with local business affairs in the commercial way was with the lumber industry, in which he engaged for a number of years, but later in life became prominently identified with the stone business, in which he held large interests. In this connection the following little story is reprinted from the Bedford Mail of about the date of Mr. Buskirk's death, and throws light on the character of the man whose career was so closely identified with the great stone industry: "The death of Philip Kearney Buskirk at Bloomington yesterday removed the third of four men who formed a partnership under the firm name of Perry, Matthews & Buskirk and opened a Horseshoe quarry what, as development progressed, proved to be the most valuable stone property in the oolitic belt. The men were Captain Gilbert K. Perry, deceased, of Ellettsville; P.K. Buskirk, of Bloomington; Fred Matthews, of Bloomington, and W.N. Matthews, deceased, of Bedford. Fred Matthews is the surviving member of that old firm who, according to their own story, risked every cent of wealth they could scrape together to develop the Horseshoe property. It has often been their boast that had the stone in this quarry been of an inferior quality they would have gone broke. Fortune smiled on the undertaking and they each realized fortunes on their investments, later selling it for six hundred thousand dollars to a company that the Monon was interested in." Mr. Buskirk was interested in a number of other businesses enterprises, in all of which he was an influential factor, and at the time of his death he was president of the First National Bank of Bloomington, president of the Empire Stone Company, and he was a heavy stockholder in a gold dredging company at Oroville, California. Of his standing in the community in which he lived, the Bloomington Daily Telephone had the following to say: "It is almost an impossibility to find words to do justice to the memory of a man like P.K. Buskirk. He was easily one of the most prominent of a score of prominent men who made Bloomington and the stone belt what it is today. He was one of the wealthiest of Bloomington's citizens, being interested in many different business ventures."
Philip K. Buskirk died very suddenly on August 22, 1907, his death resulting from a stroke of heart trouble, from which he suffered only a few minutes. The funeral services, which were held at the family home on North Walnut street, were attended by a large concourse of citizens who desired to thus pay their last respects to one who had during his life endeared himself to all. Religious services were conducted by Rev. Horace A. Collins, pastor of the College Avenue Methodist Episcopal church, while the services at Rose Hill cemetery were in charge of the Masonic fraternity.
In 1892, Philip K. Buskirk was united in marriage to Tunie Hays, the daughter of James McDonald Hays and Ella (James) Hays. James Hays, who was born near Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, was a merchant tailor during the early years of his active life, but later became a successful shoe merchant. He was an early settler of Putnam county, Indiana, where he is still residing, his home being at Greencastle. To Mr. and Mrs. Buskirk was born one son, Hays, who is now a student in the State University, where he is taking a special course in economics. Mr. Buskirk and his son traveled a great deal, their trips covering the greater portion of this country. The family home on North Walnut street, which was built by Mr. Buskirk, is generally considered to be the most beautiful residence on Bloomington, being built of stone and elegantly finished and furnished.
Politically, Mr. Buskirk gave his support to the Republican party and took an active and intelligent interest in public affairs, though never an aspirant for public office. Fraternally, he was a member of the Masonic order, in which he had taken the degrees of the Scottish rite, and was also a member of the Mystic Shrine and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He belonged to the Phi Kappa Psi college fraternity. Religiously, Mr. Buskirk held his membership in the Methodist Episcopal church, to the support of which he was a liberal contributor and in the prosperity of which he was deeply interested.
Philip K. Buskirk gave to the world the best of an essentially virile, loyal and noble nature and his integrity of integrity and honor was inflexible. He was a man of high civic ideals and was a warm supporter of all measures and enterprises tending to advance the general welfare of the community. He was the architect of his own fortune and upon his entire career there rests no blemish, for he was true to the highest ideals and principals in business, civic and social life and was one of the world's noble army of workers, having lived and labored to worthy ends.
Source: Counties of Morgan, Monroe and Brown, Indiana Historical and Biographical, By Charles Blanchard, Published by F. A. Battey & Co, 1884, Page 530
PHILIP KEARNEY BUSKIRK represented an important link in the several generations of the Buskirk family who have lived in and around Bloomington. The Buskirks were a family of Indiana pioneers of Holland Dutch ancestry. Philip Kearney Buskirk was prominent as a banker and at all times was a most generous and public-spirited citizen. He was born in Bloomington, September 9, 1862, and died August 7, 1907, at the age of forty-five. He was a son of George A. and Martha Ann Buskirk. His father was one of the founders and was the first president of the First National Bank of Bloomington. Philip Kearney Buskirk was liberally educated, being a graduate of the Bloomington High School, graduated from Indiana University in a literary course in 1884, and subsequently spent three years in the law department of the University of Michigan. He was admitted to the bar and practiced for about three years, but gave up the law for business. He was one of Bloomington's capitalists who made the primary development of the limestone deposits in Monroe County and he and Major Perry and Fred Matthews opened up and developed the P. M. B. Quarry at Bedford. He was one of the men who made Oolitic one of the chief centers in the production of Indiana limestone. He also helped develop the Empire Quarry, in which his family are still interested. While in the stone business Mr. Buskirk entered the First National Bank and when his father died he was promoted to president. On account of failing health he resigned as president about nine years before his death and the office was then turned over to a third member of the family, his brother, Lawrence V. Buskirk. Mr. Buskirk was during the later years of his life president of the board of directors of the bank. Mr. Buskirk was a member of the commission that built the new courthouse at Bloomington. He was a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason, member of the B. P. 0. Elks and the Phi Kappa Psi college fraternity. He is buried in the Rose Hill Cemetery at Bloomington. He married, April 12, 1892, Miss Tunie Hays, daughter of James and Ella (James) Hays and granddaughter of B. F. and Mary (Hanly) Hays, who came to Indiana from Mount Sterling, Kentucky. B. F. Hays was an early merchant at Greencastle and his son James also carried on a business in that city for many years. Mrs. Buskirk grew up at Greencastle, graduated from high school there and was graduated in 1883 from DePauw University, which at that time was still known as Asbury University. She is a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Mrs. Buskirk, who still makes her home at Bloomington, residing at 505 North Fess Street, has one son, Hays H., who was born July 25, 1893. He was graduated from Indiana University in 1914 and is a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. He married Ruth White and they have a daughter, Mary Ellen.
Indiana University, Its History, 1828-1890 Theophilus A. Wylie, 1890, pp. 295
Phillip Kearney Buskirk, born September 11, 1862, in Bloomington. Residence, Bloomington, Indiana. Educated at Bloomington schools and at Racine, College, Racine, Wisconsin. Afterwards entered Indiana University. Degree, B. L. Occupation, for some time a hardware merchant, studied law; now, (1889), attorney at law, and Vice President of the First National Bank, Bloomington.
Burial Records state: BUSKIRK, PHILIP K / Date of Death - 8/22/1907 / Last Residence – (Blank) / Place of Birth – (Blank) / Age – 44 / Gender – M / Cemetery - Rose Hill / Section and Lot - Spencer Addition, 351.
Tunie Hays Buskirk
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