Aldrich History Project

Chapter LII

Honorable Alexander Irwin


Irvin, Hon. Alexander. On the 18th day of January, in the year 1800, Alexander Irvin was born. He was the third child and second son of William and Margaret (Johnson) Irvin, who, at the time of the birth of our subject were residents of Centre county. In the year 1820 Alexander came to Curwensville, where he was employed as clerk in his brother's store, and otherwise engaged in business of various kinds, and acquired a thorough understanding of each in general and in detail.

After a residence of about five years in Curwensville, he moved to the county seat where he engaged in the mercantile business, and also that of a mill-contractor, building mills in various localities throughout the county. The year following that in which he became a resident of Clearfield town (1826), he married Elizabeth, daughter of William Bloom and old and highly respected resident of Pike township.

From this time forward Alexander Irvin was one of the foremost men in the affairs of Clearfield county. In business life he was entirely successful, but unfortunately he possessed not the faculty of retaining that which he made; in social and political life, he made friends and always retained them. He had superior intellect and business qualifications, but they were to him of little avail. The political problems of the day he could grasp and solve to a nicety; his power of foretelling the result of campaign was something remarkable, yet he was never boastful of his abilities in this direction , or accustomed to ridiculous or exaggerated statements.

"He was a man," says the Clearfield Republican," of unassuming manners, but of wonderful personal popularity and thereby vanquished every rival he met on the political battle-field. Although he held numerous public offices, he did not possess the faculty of making money. He was an ardent supporter of the old Whig party and was one of the organizers of the Republican party although never the candidate of the latter. In 1872 he was a delegate to the Cincinnati convention and then supported Mr. Adams; but upon the nomination of Mr. Greeley, he fully endorsed and supported him as a presidential candidate. After the excitement occasioned by his independent movement had passed away, Mr. Irvin returned to the Republican party.

His first appearance in the field of politics was made in the year 1836, when he was elected to the State Senate over Governor Packer, the candidate of the democracy. In 1842, he was elected prothonotary of Clearfield county and in 1846 was the successful Whig candidate for congressional honors, he being the first representative in Congress chosen from Clearfield county. Still later, in 1846 he was appointed United States marshal for the Western District of Pennsylvania during the administration of President Taylor.

During His several political holdings Mr. Irvin was never looked upon as an especially brilliant man; he possessed not, or did he claim to possess superior ability as a legislator, nevertheless, his vote could always be found representing the best interests of his constituents and his argument was logical and common-sense.

His success as a politician lay in his popularity with the people and his remarkable power as an organizer in knowing what ought to be done to insure success and then how to do it. After his services as U.S. Marshal had ceased, Mr. Irvin returned to Clearfield where he lived during the rest of his life and where he died on Friday the 2th day of March, 1974, being aged seventy-four years, two months and two days.


Source: Pages 682-683, History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1887.
Transcribed July 2002 by Gloria Gloss for the Clearfield County Aldrich Project
Contributed for use by the Clearfield County Genealogy Project (

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