A native of Ireland and the son of an Irish father and a Scotch mother, John Larkin, of Mesa county, Colorado, living two miles south of Debeque, possesses the more admirable characteristics of both races, the versatility and resourcefulness of the Irish, and the keenness of perception and sturdy industry and frugality of the Scotch, and has made them tell in his American career to his own advantage and the substantial gain of the places in which he has lived. He was born on the Emerald Isle in 1829 and is the son of John and Eliza (McCitric) Larkin, the former of the same nativity as himself and the latter born in Scotland. His mother died in 1838, when he was but nine years old, and soon afterward he began to provide for himself by working around in the neighborhood of his home, at the same time attending school when he could, and thus receiving a limited knowledge of the common branches of education. His father was a farmer in his native land and followed the same occupation in this country after he emigrated thither in 1841. After his arrival in this country he settled in Pennsylvania where he ended his days, dying in 1871, at the age of seventy-three. His son John came over a year previous and located in New York city where he engaged in making cigars until 1847. He then went to Pennsylvania and worked for his father in the lumber business until 1855. In that year he moved to Illinois, and a year later to Louisiana. After a residence of a few months in that state he returned to Illinois, and then came west to Nebraska. In that state and Missouri he passed the time until 1864, then came to Colorado, and locating in Laramie county, was employed in driving a team. In 1869 he made a trip through the Blackhawk and Central City section of Gilpin county, prospecting, and remained there until 1880, when he went to Gothic in Gunnison county. He remained there and at Durango mining until the autumn of 1881. At that time he moved to where he now lives and in company with a partner took up a ranch near Debeque. At the period of their arrival the land in this portion of the county was not yet surveyed, and all the conditions were primitive and undeveloped. They gave themselves with ardor and energy to the improvements of the section, starting a movement which resulted in the construction of the Larkin irrigating ditch, and stimulating the industries of the region toward the building of other public improvements which have resulted in great good to the community. Mr. Larkin is a representative man in this neighborhood, with a voice of influence in local affairs, and a warm place in the regard of his fellow citizens, deserving his place among them by his merit and the breadth of view and public-spirit with which he considers all matters of general interest, and by the excellence of his private character and the uprightness of his daily life.
Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.