Aldrich History Project

Chapter LII

William Irvin

Irvin, William.......About the year 1820, William Irvin, Jr., as he was then known came to the mouth of Anderson's Creek, at a point now occupied by the borough of Curwensville. Here his father had purchased a tract of about three hundred and thirty acres of land, built a dam across the West Branch and erected a mill. In the year 1828, William Jr., and John Irvin purchased this mill property from their father and managed it for two years, when in 1830, John bought William's interest. The latter then engaged in the mercantile business, conducting a large general store, and also became an extensive lumberman. His investments were remunerative, and he acquired large means. There being no banking-houses in the vicinity during a greater part of his business life, Mr. Irvin invested his surplus funds in real estate, which brought him handsome returns in later years, and left an exceedingly valuable estate to be divided among his heirs at his decease.

William Irvin is remembered as a man of excellent business qualifications, possessing good judgment, honest in every transaction, correct in his habits, unassuming in manner, and inclined to be conservative, yet generous and enterprising in all that pertained to the welfare of his town, county and its people. In the various enterprises that contributed to the development and improvement of the county, he was a leader, and gave largely both of his time and means. For the construction of the Tyrone and Clearfield railroad, he contributed liberally and was made one of the directors although he did not live to see the road completed; but his estate contributed twenty thousand dollars after his death in accordance with his wish. Out of his own funds, he caused to be built a brick school house at Curwensville and for a time paid the expenses of its maintenance. He was a man of broad views on all subjects; possessed a mind capable of grasping large enterprises and conducting them to successful issues; far seeing judgment and a character founded upon principles of justice and integrity. It cannot be said that any good work ever appealed to him in vain; at the same time his best deeds were not done in a manner to draw attention to himself, his chief aim being to be considered one of the staunch business men of the town, an to so order his daily life as to secure the respect and esteem of his townsmen. All religious organizations received his sympathy and material aid. He was an earnest worker in the political field, on the Republican side, thought never for his own advancement; he never sought an office, and accepted but one, that of United States Marshal of the Western District, but his time and means were always ready for the good of the party, and when the government was threatened with internecine foes, none was more active and liberal in its support than he.

In 1860 Mr. Irvin was succeeded in the mercantile business by his son, Edwin A. Irvin, but in the year following, the latter entered the army and during his absence the father managed the store. Aside from this, Mr. Irvin may be said to have retired from active business in the year 1860 and thereafter and until the time of his death, December 19, 1869, his time was given to the care and management of his estate.

William Irvin, Jr., of whom the above is written was born in Penn's Valley, on the 1st day of December, in the year 1801. His father, William Irvin, Sr., was a native of Ireland and came to this country in the year 1789. He married Margaret Johnston by whom he had nine children, William, Jr. being the fourth child and the third son. In the year 1830, March 2 William Irvin, Jr. married Jane Patton. The fruit of this marriage was fifteen children, four of whom died in infancy. Of the life and Christian example of Jane Patton Irvin, enough might be written for a complete chapter. She was a woman of fine intelligence and great force of character. To her husband and children she gave her unbounded love, her greatest earthly affection, every attention, every thought, every care. In time of trail she proved a comfort and in time of triumph a joy; her force of character, her patience, her resignation and her very presence were in themselves, noble examples; her worthy charities, dispensed here and there among the poor and the afflicted, quietly and without display; her loyal devotion to country and the Union arms that led her thrice within the lines, administering help to the sick and wounded, and comfort and consolation to the dying comrades, can never be forgotten; and finally her patient resignation to her physical suffering during the last sixteen years of her life, were traits of her character that endeared her to a large circle of friends and relatives; and in her death the whole community lost a dear friend. She died September 4, 1881, having survived her husband nearly twelve years.


Source: Pages 685-685 , History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1887.
Transcribed September 1999 by Gloria Gloss for the Clearfield County Aldrich Project
Contributed for use by the Clearfield County Genealogy Project (

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