Contra Costa County











     Although a resident of the United States for more than half a century, it was not until 1858 that Michael Kirsch went to the Pacific slope, and another decade had passed before he located in Contra Costa county, Cal., which has been his home since that time.  His beautiful residence in Walnut Creek is one of the finest in this vicinity and bespeaks the prosperity of its owner, who is a fine mechanic---a blacksmith of no little ability, having learned this useful trade early in life and followed it principally ever since.  United by close ties to the town of St. Wendel, in Germany, where his birth occurred November 29, 1832, and which was also the birthplace of his parents, Mr. Kirsch is the second in the family of ten children, eight of whom are still living.  His father, Michael Kirsch, was, during his active life, engaged in the manufacture of rope, but died in 1846, aged about forty-six years.  The mother of Mr. Kirsch, whose maiden name was Karlena Kohl, attained the great age of ninety-two years, having passed to her final rest in 1901. 

     The early training of Mr. Kirsch was received in the schools of Germany, and soon after the death of his father he left his home and came to America, being then only fifteen years old.  Drifting to Cincinnati, Ohio, he became apprenticed at that place to study diligently and to learn the blacksmith's trade, serving a three years' apprenticeship.  Having completed his trade, he went further west to St. Louis, Mo., and the four years following were spent working at his chosen calling, in the shops of the Iron Mountain Railroad, a little below St. Louis.  This occupied his attention until 1858 when he came to California, by way of the Isthmus, and landed in San Francisco, October 28, of that year.  Proceeding to Watsonville, in Santa Cruz county, he spent six months in that vicinity, and then wisely concluded to return to San Francisco and apply himself to his trade.  Embarking in the blacksmith business there on his own account, he followed that occupation successfully until October, 1868, at that time seeking a new location where competition was not so great.  A desirable one was found in Walnut Creek, Contra Costa county, and it was there that Mr. Kirsch established a permanent business.  His marriage took place in San Francisco in 1867, when he was united with Miss Julia Switzer, born in Germany in 1844, and who accompanied her parents to California in 1866.

     The family of Mr. and Mrs. Kirsch consists of four children:  Fred M., a resident of Los Angeles; Emma, wife of William Hempsted, of Dawson City; Paulina Virginia, wife of Norwood Horton, of Oakland; and Bertha, who resides in San Francisco.  Politically, Mr. Kirsch is a Republican.  He is one of the most active citizens in Walnut Creek; at the present writing he is foreman of the fire company, and in fraternal orders he is allied with the Ancient Order of United Workmen, being a charter member of Diablo Lodge No. 91, of Walnut Creek.  Having passed through all the chairs, he has represented the local lodge at the meeting of the grand lodge of the state upon several occasions and ranks among the most active Workmen in his locality.





Transcribed 3-29-16  Marilyn R. Pankey.

ญญญญSource: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Pages 1096-1099. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

2016  Marilyn R. Pankey.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library