Famous Irwins/Erwins/Ervins/Irvins/Irvings, etc.

Recently I began reading the past editions of the Holly Leaf Chronicle.  The first one was distributed back in the first quarter of 1976.  It was primarily written by the Association’s first Chairman, Ralph Irwin.  He must’ve been a man of great passion and knowledge of/for our ancestry.  I would love to have a cup of tea with him and talk about the early days of the Association but alas, he is no longer with us.

It is amazing how much that early group of people were able to accomplish before faxes, emails, internet, etc.  The original issues were mimeographed after being typed on a typewriter.  Contact had to be done face to face, by land-line phone or via the United States Postal Service.  I doubt they sent each other telegrams, but I digress…….

Another thing that surprised me was the number of “famous” persons of the name that were mentioned in these old editions.  I have only read through the first few years and I have found several people that we should remember.  These may not be in chronological order and as I come across more, I will write about them:

Robert Irwin:   One of the original signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.  Robert was one of George Washington’s generals and a pallbearer at Washington’s funeral.  Robert was the son of William Irwin that immigrated to the colonies about 1729.  He was of the Drum branch of Irwins. (Vol. 1, No. 2, pg 5)

John Erwin:  A reporter for the New York Evening World that uncovered the Teapot Dome scandal of 1923.  The newspaper was owned by Joseph Pulitzer.  After a long career in journalism, Mr. Erwin retired to live in Washington, D.C. (Vol. 1, No. 3, pg 6.)

John Erwin/Ervin:  Probably the first of the name recorded would have been in James City in 1625.  His name was recorded as Erwin or Ervin in the records of the Council and General Court.  One entry records that he had two barrels of corn in the public granary.  The second records the death of John Verone who had “hunge himself with an Iron Dogg Chaine”.  John Ervin “holpe” to take him down.   (Vol. 1, No. 3, pg 6.)

Alexander Irvine:  While on the staff of William and Mary College in 1695, Alexander was a teacher of Natural Sciences (Math and Physics).  In 1727, he was the surveyor of the line between North Carolina and Virginia. (Vol. 1, No. 6, pg. 5)

Henry Irwin:  According to the Executive Journal of the Colonial Council of Virginia, Henry was the Naval Officer and Receiver of Duties for the James River District as of 12 June, 1716.  He outfitted the war sloop Ranger under Lieutenant Robert Maynard, who boarded the pirate ship of the pirate Blackbeard (Robert Teach).  After a hard fight, Lieutenant Maynard shot the pirate, killing him.  (Vol. 1, No. 6, pg. 5)

Theodore Roosevelt:  Reportedly descended from the Irvine’s of Drum.  (Vol. 1, No. 9, pg. 7)

George Washington:  Moncrieffe (I have no reference for who this indicates) states that Washington was descended from Maldred, son of Crinan Eryvine. (Vol. 1, No. 9, pg. 7)

St. Columba:  “Historians are agreed that the Irwins are of the Kin of St. Columba, foremost of the missionaries who brought the Christian religion to Scotland (521 -597).  Again, Crinan as the father of Duncan I (killed by MacBeth) ties the Irwins into the line of the 113 kings that ruled Scotland down to 1286 in the male line, and to the present day in the female line on the throne of England.  The “113 kings” refers to the Declaration of Arbroath (1320) in which the Scottish nobles declared their intention to rule themselves, or die, rather than submit to England.” (Vol. 1, No. 9, pg. 7)

Brigadier-General William Irvine:  William and his two brothers, Andrew and Matthew, were in Washington’s Continental Line and descendants from them are eligible for membership in the Order of Cincinnati.  Lt. Col. Henry Irwin and Captain John Irwin both of Pennsylvania were also in the Continental Line and their descendants are likewise eligible.  (Vol. 1, No. 9, pg. 7)

Edgar Irving of Annan (1792 -1834):  Edward was never on cordial terms with the religious world but he made a mark therein with his contribution to the establishment of the Catholic Apostolic Church, sometimes called the “Irvingite Church”.  At one time the Irvingites were numerous throughout Europe, North American and Australia.  However, by 1960, there were few of their churches remaining.   (Vol. 1, No. 9, pg. 7)

Submitted by Leslie Smeathers, Corresponding Secretary of Clan Irwin Association