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Histories and Biographies of Ballard, Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, McCracken and Marshall Counties, Kentucky A Reprint of Part H of Battle. J.H., W.H. Perrin And G.C. Kniffin. Kentucky: A History of the State. First Edition. Louisville, Chicago: F.A. Battey Publishing Co., 1885. Ballard Co.
REV. ROBERT F. BIRKHEAD was born in Nelson County, Ky., August 27, 1828, and is one of three living children born to the Rev. Jesse and Abigail (Peak) Birkhead, both natives of Washington County, Ky., and of Irish and English descent, respectively. Jesse Birkhead was married in his native county, where, and in Nelson County, he was engaged in agricultural pursuits. In 1833 he came with his family to what is now Ballard County, and subsequently improved a farm, on which he resided several years, when he sold, and again bought wild land in the same neighborhood. Here he improved another farm. He continued to reside in the vicinity of Milburn until his death, January 29, 1877, in his eightieth year. Both himself and wife were from early life devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Soon after he came to western Kentucky, he was licensed to preach and was one of the very earliest pioneers of Methodism in Jacksonâ€™s Purchase. Although he was only a local minister, he traveled and preached almost constantly for more than forty years, his field of labor including all of the Purchase District in Kentucky, and extending from Paducah to Millâ€™s Point, or Hickman. Father Birkhead was also a member of the Masonic fraternity. Rev. Robert F. Birkhead was employed on his fatherâ€™s farm until he was sixteen years old, after which he lived with a Mr. William Pile until he was twenty-one years old, He then taught and attended school for some two years. He then engaged in agricultural pursuits, and has been so employed ever since. He now owns a well improved farm near Arlington. Mr Birkhead was married in February, 1853, to Mrs. Susan M. Pile, a native of Washington County, Ky. To this union were born two children-one son and one daughter-both of whom are living. Mr. Susan M. departed this life December 2, 1855; she was a devoted and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. October 23, 1856, Mr. Birkhead married Miss Eleanor P. Mix, a native of Henry County, Tenn. One daughter has blessed this union. Mr. Birkhead and wife are, and have been from youth, devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which church he has been a local minister for the past ten years, and has had charge of a mission for four years of that time. He has been a member of the Masonic fraternity for more than thirty years, having filled various offices in the order, and was W. M. of his lodge for one year.