Kirby, Jared E. (1809–1865)

By: Charles Christopher Jackson

Type: Biography

Published: February 1, 1995

Updated: November 13, 2019

Jared E. Kirby (Kerby, Curby), planter, son of Henry and Sarah Kirby, was born in Georgia in 1809 and moved with his parents, his wife, and his daughter from Mississippi to Texasin late 1848 or early 1849. The family settled on a quarter-league tract in the Hempstead district of Austin County, east of the Brazos River in what is now Waller County. In 1850 county tax rolls described Kirby as the owner of fifty-five slaves and an estate valued at $28,000. He served as a delegate to the state Whig party convention at Tyler in the spring of 1852 and was chosen an elector in the impending presidential campaign. Kirby was master of Alta Vista plantation, at the site of present Prairie View. By 1860, after a decade of steady accumulation, he had perhaps become Austin County's wealthiest resident. He owned more than 8,000 acres on both banks of the Brazos, worth $285,000, and $175,000 in personal property, including 139 slaves. In that year his plantation produced 10,000 bushels of corn and 700 bales of cotton. After the outbreak of the Civil War in the spring of 1861 Kirby was selected to help organize public defense as a member of the Austin County Central Executive Committee. His first wife, Indianna, seems to have died in the mid-1850s; they had two children. He married his second wife, Helen Swearingen Kirby, in 1858. He appears to have died early in 1865; his estate was probated that year.

Randolph B. Campbell, An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821–1865 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989). Randolph B. Campbell, "The Whig Party of Texas in the Elections of 1848 and 1852," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 73 (July 1969). Frank M. Spindler, "The History of Hempstead and the Formation of Waller County," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 63 (January 1960).

  • Agriculture
  • Plantation Owners
Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Charles Christopher Jackson, “Kirby, Jared E.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 17, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995
November 13, 2019