Aldrich History Project

Chapter LII

Colonel Edward Anderson Irvin

The subject of this sketch, Edward Anderson Irvin, was born on the 13th of January, 1838. He was the third child and the oldest son of William and Jane (Sutton) Irvin. His father was an enterprising merchant at Curwensville, and desired for his sons the benefit of a business education. Edward attended the school at Curwensville for some time, and at the age of sixteen entered the academy at Mont Holly, N.J. where he remained two years. He then entered the Edghille school at Princeton, N.J., and continued there one year. In 1857 he returned home and became associated with his father in the mercantile and lumber business. Three years later, 1860, he succeeded to the business and successfully conducted it until the breaking out of the war.


When the war began in 1961, he was at Marietta with a large amount of lumber of various kinds on hand to sell. Leaving it there, he returned to Curwensville, gave over to his father the care an management of his business interests, and proceeded at once to recruit a company. Though but twenty-three years of age, he was full of push and enterprise and with these enjoyed the confidence of the people, and in a short time he had one hundred and twenty brave and determined men enlisted and ready for the service.When officers were elected, Mr. Irvin was made captain. After two weeks of drill the company went to Tyrone, and was there reduced to one hundred men. Shortlly after its place of rendezvous was at Camp Curtin, Harrisburg. Captain Irwin was commissioned as such on May 29, 1861. The company was attached to the Forty-second Regiment Pennsylvana Volunteer Infantry, otherwise know as the "First Pennsylvania Rifles", and after by order of the War Department, were called "Kane Rifles". This regiment of which Captain Irvin commanded Company K, achieved such a reputation of gallantry during the service that the name "Bucktail became famous in both armies.


On the first day of McClellan's seven days operations of the Peninsula, at Mechansville, Captain Irvin was taken prisoner and confined in Libby prison for two months, when he was exchanged , and joined his regiment on the Rappahannock, again taking command of his company and particpating in the campaign of General Pope, know as the Second Bull Run, and also in the Maryland compaign. By a commission dated September 10, 1863, Captain Irwin was promoted to the position of Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment; but shortly after, on September 14, he was badly wounded while commanding a skirmish line on the advance of the battle of Boonsboro, or South Mountain, by being struck in the head with a "minnie" ball. He was carried to the field hospital and made as comfortable as the situation would permit. The surgeons believed the wound would prove fatal, and the parents of the brave young office soon came to him. A mother's comforting presence and care soon turned the scale in his favor, and by slow journeying, Colonel Irvin as brought to this home in Curwensville, Gradually he regained his health and strength, under the careful attention of parents, sisters, and other kind friends.


On the 30th of October of the same year, 1862, Colonel Irvin was married to Emma A. Graham, a most excellent lady, daughter of Hon. James B. Graham of Clearfield. Soon after this event he rejoined his regiment, but on the 14th of December, 1962, at the battle of Fredericksburg, he was again severly wounded having an arm broken by a rifle ball and was again incapacitied for duty. In May of the next year, 1863, believing himself fit for duty he went before the surgeon general, who made an examination and refused him a certificate allowing him to engage in further active service in the field. Rather than become a member of the invalid corps, Colonel Irvin was granted and accepted a discharge for wounds received in action. He entered the army among the first. His ardent sympathy with the cause and his strong conviction of duty were dominant traits and made him a soldier of the truest and best type. Among those who were loyal to very trust, and at all times unflinching in courage, he held no second place. There were few who suffered more and saw and felt more of the shock and desolation of battle than he. He was closely identified with the "Bucktail" regiment up to the time of his discharge, and with all the vicissitudes of its eventful history, taking part in all the battles in which it engaged during that time.


Upon returning to his home, Colonel Irvin resumed his former occupation, the lumber and mercantile business, which he conducted with general success until the year 1878 when he quit merchandise, and has since given his entire time to his lumber and coal interest.


Upon the death of Associate Judge James Bloom, in 1865, Governor Curtin appointed and commissioned Colonel Irvin to that office, but he never entered upon the discharge of its duties. Notwithstanding the fact of his busy life, there is no man within the limits of the county who feels greater interest in its social or political welfare than Colonel Irvin, nor is there one more ready to assist in every worthy enterprise. His long identification with the Republican party, and his position as one of its acknowledge leaders, has placed him prominently before the people, and frequently has he been pressed to become a candidate for positions of trust and honor in this borough of Curwensville, he is more content, after the business cares of the day are laid aside to seek its enjoyment. Of the marriage of Edward A. and Emma A. Irvin there has been born four children, two of whom are now living, a son and a daughter. The son, Hugh McNiel Irvin (named for a warm personal friend of Colonel Irvin, the gallant Colonel Hugh McNiel of the famous "Bucktails," who was killed at South Mountain) occupies a position in connection with his father's business.


Colonel Irvin is an active member of the Presbyterian Church. Charities, public and private, and religious institutions as well, receive from him a helping hand. With much of dash and public spirit, he combines an earnest desire to be a faithful helper in every work tending to promote the well being of his town, his county and its people.


Source: Pages 674-675, History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1887.
Transcribed August 1999 by Gloria Gloss for the Clearfield County Aldrich Project
Contributed for use by the Clearfield County Genealogy Project (

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