Shirk, John

African American Soldier - No photograph currently available

Private John Shirk was an African- American soldier in Company K in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. He was the son of Carper and Harriet Camel Shirk and was born on May 23, 1843 in Pennsylvania. Shirk resided in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania prior to his enlistment on May 6, 1863 at Camp Meigs in Readville, Massachusetts where he was assigned to the 25th Corps, Army of the Gulf and was sent to serve in Florida. Shirk took part in the Battle of Olustee (also known as Ocean Pond) on February 20, 1864 in Baker County, Florida. Corporal William Stephenson noted that Shirk was “assisting our squad in removing a cannon” near Mount Pleasant by Charles City, South Carolina in August 1865 when a piece of timber fell on his foot and permanently injured him. He was discharged from the army on August 25, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina. Shirk married twice, first to Mary Hillow on November 20, 1860 and the second time to Alice Patterson on August 20, 1876 shortly following Hillow’s death in March 1876. He had four children named Charles, Robert, Elias Craig, and George. Shirk died on February 20, 1913 as a result of heart disease and is buried at the Locust Grove Cemetery in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. (By Brenna McKevley)

Life span
05/23/1843—02/20/1913

Life Summary

Full name
  John Shirk
Place of Birth
Birth Date Certainty
  Exact
Death Date Certainty
  Exact
Gender
  Male
Race
  Black
Sectional choice
  North
Origins
  Free State
No. of Spouses
  2
No. of Children
  4
Occupation
  Military
Relation to Slavery
  Free black
Military
  Union Army

Images