Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa - 1896 - I

1896 Index

A Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa
Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1896


Unless noted biographies submitted by Dick Barton.

M. G. IRVIN, a farmer of section 4, Union township (post-office Derby ), is a highly esteemed citizen of Lucas county, well known for his good qualities both as a farmer and as a citizen. He has been a resident of this county ever since the year 1851, the year of his arrival here, at the age of eight years.

His father, Matthew Irvin, was a good representative of that enterprising and high-principled race, the Scotch-Irish, being a native of north Ireland . He was a lad of twelve years when his father, Guy Irvin, emigrated to the United States and settled in Coshocton county, Ohio ; and thus, being early "Americanized" as a specimen of humanity in regard to mental qualifications, one might compare him with a scion grafted upon the best of stock. After attaining the full growth of manhood he was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Heller, a native of Ohio and of a good and thrifty family, who were of German ancestry; she was a daughter of Anthony Heller. After marriage they settled in Tuscarawas county, Ohio , where they resided until the year 1850, when they removed to Iowa , coming with a wagon and three horses, which brought all their household goods and a set of carpenter's tools. For the first year in this State they resided in Monroe county, and then came to Lucas county, settling permanently in Union township on land now owned by the subject of this sketch. They were among the first settlers on that prairie, which at that time was a broad expanse, unoccupied and unbroken by the hand of white man. Mr. Irvin built a log cabin of two rooms, furnishing it with a puncheon floor, an old-fashioned large fire- place, a clapboard roof, etc. There was but one house between his place and Chariton , fourteen miles distant. This family was well known for their hospitality and intelligence, the latchstring of their humble door always hanging out. Friend or stranger was always welcome, and the needy always received assistance at the hands of this kindly disposed family; and they knew how to treat all comers in a royal manner.

In 1861, on the old Mormon "trail," Mr. (Matthew) Irvin erected a large, commodious dwelling, near where his son, our subject, now resides, - indeed, in the same yard. This residence, still standing, is 18 x 40 feet in dimensions and two stories high, with an L 16 x 24 feet. At the time it was built it was one of the largest houses in the township. In the family of Mr. Irvin were six children, three of whom are now deceased. The living are: Andrew J., a resident, of Union township; M. G., whose name forms the introduction to this biographical sketch; and Sarah E., who became the wife of Mr. Brough and died in 1891, in Oklahoma . Mr. Irvin died in 1877, at the golden age of seventy-three years. By trade he was a carpenter and wagon-maker, and he was a good mechanic, especially in wood. In his political sympathies he was a Jackson Democrat, and his high intellectual and moral character was attested by his election to the office of Justice of the Peace. He was also Postmaster of Argo, in Union township, for a number of years. In religion he was reared a Presbyterian, but in mature life he became a Methodist and finally a member of the Christian Church. He was a man of good physique, of perpendicular carriage and weighing about 175 pounds and being six feet tall.

Mr. M. G. Irvin, our subject, was born in Tuscarawas county, Ohio , April 24, 1842 , and was a lad of seven or eight years when his father and the family located in this county. As might be expected, he grew up inured to farm pursuits during the monotonous period of frontier life. His literary education he received at the Goshen school. The first structure for this school was of logs, with a sod chimney. Mr. Irvin has continued to be a farmer until the present time, now occupying the old homestead, consisting of 260 acres; it is a finely improved place. It is pleasant to contemplate the old residence still standing on the premises, under whose hospitable roof so many people in pioneer times found shelter. Mr. Irvin has a good modern residence, 26 x 28 feet and one and a half stories high, on a beautiful situation, which is ornamented with an orchard and three-acre grove of walnut and maple bordering the lawn, with fine pastures and meadows and fields surrounding. The two barns are respectively 24 x 35 feet and 30 x 40 feet in dimensions; and these and all other outbuildings are in good condition.

New Year's day, 1865, was both a happy and an exciting day in the life of Mr. Irvin, as on that occasion he was united in matrimony with Miss Harriet Beagle, a lady of excellent qualities and a member of a good family. She was born in Ohio , a daughter of Abner and Agnes (Sponseller) Beagle, natives of Maryland . Mr. and Mrs. Irvin have had eleven children, namely: Rev. Andrew J., a Presbyterian minister at Omaha , Nebraska ; John Thomas, Postmaster at Derby ; Matthew Florin, of Union township; Lizzie, the wife of John Davis, of Warren township, this county; Charles, at home; George, Samuel, Marion, Angie, Clemmie, and one deceased. The children have all received a good education, the two eldest sons at Fairfield , Iowa , and Stanberry , Missouri .

Concerning national questions Mr. Irvin entertains the views of the Democratic party. He has been prominent in the educational interests of his community, and both himself and wife are members of the Baptist Church , where they are efficient in church and Sunday-school work, he serving as Superintendent of the school.

Alexander Irwin submitted by Dick Barton

Alexander Irwin, deceased, was one of the honored and esteemed citizens of Warren county, Iowa. He was born in Harrison county, Ohio, September 9, 1843, and died at his pleasant home in Virginia township, August 22, 1895, respected by all who knew him. His childhood days were passed in Harrison county, Ohio, and he was descended from a sterling family, noted for excellent traits of character. He came to the West at an early day, and taking up his residence in Warren county here formed the acquaintance of Miss Susan Elizabeth Steele, a native of Missouri, born in Adair county, September 20, 1859. Her parents were John and Mary (Gher) Steele, who in 1861 left their Missouri farm and came to Iowa, settling in Wapello county. Subsequently they removed to Madison county, later to Clarke county, and afterward to Warren county, but again went to Clarke county. The mother died when Mrs. Irwin was a maiden of twelve summers, passing away, in Clarke county, on the 8th of April, 1871, at the age of fifty- four years. She was a devout Christian woman, reared in the faith of the Dunkard Church. Maryland was the State of her nativity, and there she became the wife of Mr. Steele, a Pennsylvanian by birth, to whom she proved a faithful companion and helpmeet. He was a straightforward and honorable business man, and his death occurred in 1868.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Irwin was celebrated at the home of her sister, Mrs. Mary Henthorn, of Clarke county, on the 5th of April, 1877, and was blessed with a family of six children, namely: Ida, who was born March 13, 1878, and is now attending the high school; Theophilus, born October 4, 1880; Ray, born July 6, 1884; Nellie, born July 15, 1886; Nora, born May 8, 1888; and Lois, born October 15, 1891.

In his business dealings Mr. Irwin met with fair success, and by his energy and enterprise succeeded in accumulating 400 acres of valuable land, which leaves his family in comfortable circumstances. His life was one of honor and uprightness, and he won the high regard of all with whom business or social relations brought him in contact. He was reared in the faith of the Presbyterian Church, and his wife is a member of the United Brethren Church. She is now devoting herself to her children and to the management of her business interests, in which she displays excellent ability. Over her home she presides with gracious hospitality and her friends are many.