The most interesting of the Captain’s grandchildren was tough, diminutive George Moore Still Kirkman, a World War I combat veteran.
The sixth child of Nelson and Sarah Mott Kirkman, George was born March 7, 1888 in Little Neck. He was a Little Neck Bay oysterman when the United States declared war on the Kaiser’s Germany in 1917, was drafted in May 1918, and received only five weeks of basic training before shipping out to France.
A private in the 107th Engineers attached to the 32nd "Red Arrow" Infantry Division, a Michigan National Guard unit, George participated in the battle of Chateau-Thierry and the Meuse-Argonne offensive during the summer and fall of 1918. During the fighting, George went over the top to assault German trenches and battled Krauts hand-to-hand, and during the victorious Allied advance built bridges, roads and other structures. He gained notoriety in the 32nd by being its welter-weight boxing champion.
After the November 1918 armistice, George was a member of the Allied forces that occupied western Germany . He was rotated home and discharged in May 1918, almost a year to the day after he was inducted. George’s name is inscribed on a plaque that commemorates Little Neck’s World War I veterans.
George later married Vincentia Gertrude Foti of Manhattan, moved to Westchester County, NY, fathered three children (Mary, George Richard and Annette).and for many years was a custodian in the Larchmont, NY post office. In late life, George resided in Flushing, NY with his brother James and sister Mary Kirkman Fischer, and died there on Feb. 7, 1981 (age 92). He was buried in Calverton National Cemetery, Riverhead., NY. His wife Vicentia died April 27, 1993 and was buried with him.
Nelson’s most successful son was his first-born, C. William Kirkman (also called Christian William Kirkman II and Will).
Born Jan. 5, 1880 in Little Neck, Will emulated his father by becoming an accountant, in his case, for American Telephone & Telegraph Co., and was widely respected for being a Little Neck Boy Scout commissioner
One of Nelson’s most respected children was his third, Frederick "Dick" Kirkman, born Dec. 26, 1883 in Little Neck, who is warmly remembered for bringing bags of groceries to needy family members during the Great Depression. Dick bore a strong resemblance to his grandfather, the Captain.
A painter who resided in Flushing, Dick changed his given name from Frederick to Richard when he married Irish-Catholic Anna Jennings.
Dick and Anna had three children: Elizabeth, James and Theresa, and one of Elizabeth’s descendants, Edward Guyton of Anoka, MN, contributed to this history.
Dick spent his last years in Mattituck, NY, a small town near the eastern end of Long Island, and died there on Aug. 20, 1968 (age 84).
Tragedy dogged Nelson’s extensive family. Three of his children, Matilda (Tillie), Susan and Stephen died as infants or toddlers, and his eldest daughter Bertha and son Washington, were victims of 1918's worldwide influenza epidemic. Washington’s wife Susan died on Nov. 5, 1918, Bertha on Nov. 6, and Washington on Nov. 7.
Two of Nelson’s children left the New York area. Albert moved to San Francisco, CA, and James lived in Florida for a time before returning to Flushing.
Mary Kirkman Fischer, Nelson’s sixth child became the family’s first historian when she queried the American embassy in Copenhagen about the Kirkman family’s roots in 1931.
Born Jan. 7, 1887 in Little Neck, Mary married John Fischer, resided in the College Point section of New York City’s Queens County, and had three children (John, Fred and Joseph).
Family members remember her as a pleasant aunt with a touch of vanity. In old age, Mary dyed her hair bright red and curled it in ringlets which made her look like "Gone With the Wind’s" Aunt Pittypat.
Samuel and Emma Kirkman also resided in New York City’s Queen borough; little is known about Adam’s, Nelson’s 10th child, and there are no records or documents for the three children of Nelson’s second marriage.