Goodspeed_Weakley_Bios
Goodspeed's History of Tennessee 1887

Biographies of Weakley County


Biographies - I
   
Robert N. IRVINE, merchant, of Dresden, Tenn., was born in 1828 in Buckingham County, Va.   His father, Samuel Irvine, was of Scotch-Irish descent, and was born in the same county and State as his son, in 1802.  He was also a merchant and held county offices for upward of twenty years.   His father, Walter Irvine, was a native of the Emerald Isle, and when a young man came to the United States and became a merchant of Jamestown,Va. Samuel, in I824, marred Catherine Jones and in 1833 came to Weakley County, Tenn., and followed merchandising.  He became the owner of 500 acres of land, and as he was a man of fine intellect and business capacity, was elected clerk of the circuit court of Weakley County in 1844, and held the office until his death in 1868.  He was highly honorable in every respect and led an exemplary and useful life.  His wife was born in Nottoway County, Va., in 1808, and died in 1882.  After Mr. Irvine's death she married James McDaniel, who is also dead.   There were six children in the Irvine family, three of whom are living: Benjamin D., a miller, of Dresden; Samuel, who farms the old homestead, and our subject, who was educated in the neighboring schools and Dresden. At the age of twenty he    began clerking in Dresden and at the age of (twenty) five years he and a brother bought the general merchandise store of Isaac Winston and began business for themselves. In 1856 Robert N. purchased the entire stock of goods, but in 1861 moved to Paducah, Ky., where he remained until 1865, when he returned to Dresden and reopened a store, and here has since remained.   April 20, 1853, he married Nannie Winston, who was born in Virginia June 11, 1835, and by her became the father of five children: Clarence B., Annie (wife of Dr. R. R. Winston), Walter and William G. (who died December 14, 1879, while attending the literary department of the Vanderbilt University at Nashville and Mattie Lee.  In 1858 and 1859 he was engaged in the manufacture of tobacco, and the two following years ran the stage line from Hickman, Ky., to Camden, Tenn.  Since 1876 he has dealt in leaf tobacco.  He is a Democrat and Mason, and his wife and two daughters are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.

Clarence B. IRVINE, livery man and native of Dresden, Tenn., was born February 26, 1855, son of Robert N. and Nannie (Winston) Irvine. Clarence was reared and educated in Dresden and in addition attended one year at the Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, which was under the management of Gen. Bushrod Johnson and Gen. E. Kirby Smith.  At the age of sixteen he began clerking in his uncle's (P. B. Winston's) dry goods store at Brownsville, Tenn., and after one year's service there began clerking in Clarksdale, Miss.   During the centennial year, he with a party of his friends took a pleasure trip to Philadelphia and visited many places of interest in the Northern and Eastern States, going as far as Canada.  In 1877 he entered into partnership with his father in the grist and sawmill business, three miles south of Dresden. T he following year he purchased his father's interest and carried on the business on his own responsibility.  In 1883 he sold out and in 1884 established a livery and feed stable.  In 1885 he purchased a stable of J. A.. and J. P. Gibbs, and since then has had complete control of both stables.  November 12, 1884, he married May Pryor, who was born near Paris, Tenn., in June, 1862.   She is a member of the Christian Church.  Mr. Irvine is a Democrat in politics and cast his first presidential vote for Hancock.

B. D. IRVINE, farmer and miller of Dresden, Tenn., is a native of Weakley County, Tenn., born October 31, 1832, son of Samuel and Catherine (Jones) Irvine.  He was educated in the neighboring schools and in Dresden, and made his home with his parents until he was fourteen years of age.  e served four years as his father's deputy.  In 1855 he and his brother R. N. and J. E. Freeman engaged in merchandising, and November 5, 1856, he married Agnes Moran, daughter of James H. and Harriet Moran.  Mrs. Irvine was born October 7, 1838, in Dresden, and became the mother of twelve children, ten of whom are living: Harry C., who is in Texas; Thomas B., who is in South America; John B., James A., Florence, Robert L., Moran, Sophia A., Forest D. and William P.   In 1857 Mr. Irvine sold his interest in the mercantile establishment to his brother and Mr. Freeman, and with T. A. Baker established a now firm, continuing two years.  He owns 450 acres of fine land, and a handsome residence in the suburbs of Dresden.   In 1880 he, C. W. Cottrell, G. S. Boyd and S. P. Scott engaged in merchandising and milling, the dry goods firm being known as Cottrell, Irvine & Co., and the milling firm as Scott, Boyd & Co.   In 1883 Mr. Cottrell bought the store, and Mr. Irvine and Mr. Scott bought Mr. Boyd's and Mr. Cottrell's interest in the mill, and from that time until the present the firm has been known as Irvine & Scott.   For the past thirty years Mr. Irvine has been one of Weakley County's enterprising business men.   He is a Democrat, and his first presidential vote was cast for James Buchanan.  In 1876 he was elected trustee of Weakley County, and served in that capacity two years.   He is a member of the Masonic, I.O.O.F., K. of H. and A.0.U.W. fraternities, and his wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.




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