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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1191~


John Irvine


The agricultural interests of Fayette county are well represented by the subject of this review, who is one of the practical and enterprising farmers of his section of the county, his residence being in the attractive little city of Oelwein. Like many other successful, self-made men of northern Iowa, he is an American by adoption only, being a native of Ireland, from whence has come so much of the bone and sinew of this great western republic. Wherever known the Irish type is noted for thrift and enterprise, the subject of sketch being no exception to the rule.

John Irvine was born near Belfast, county Down, Ireland, on the 20th day of January, 1836, and was reared on the parental homestead, receiving his education in the schools of the neighborhood. In 1857, when twenty-one years old, he came to America, going at once to Ontario, Canada, where he resided during the ensuing ten or twelve years. He there followed farming and dealing in livestock and was fairly successful. In February, 1870, Mr. Irvine came to Fayette county, Iowa, locating two miles west of Oelwein, though at that time the town had not been laid out. On his arrival here he bought a farm of one hundred and sixty acres of land, to the cultivation of which he devoted his energies, and from time to time he added to his original land until he eventually owned four hundred acres of land in Jefferson township, which is still in his possession. When the Great Western railway was run through Oelwein, Mr. Irvine moved to that place and has since resided there. About two years after locating here Mr. Irvine returned to Canada and brought back with him to Iowa four thoroughbred Shorthorn cattle, and soon afterwards he imported a carload of these animals, being the first man in the county to handle thoroughbred cattle extensively. He now has on his farm a large herd of milch <sic> cows, which are managed by his nephew, W. J. Irvine. Mr. Irvine has been industrious and practical in his methods and during his active years he gave his personal attention to every detail of his work, that being one of the main secrets of his success. He is known as one of the most progressive farmers in the county and is considered a representative of that industry.

On March 24, 1866, Mr. Irvine was married to Isabella C. Wiley, a native of Canada, her parents having been natives of county Down, Ireland. To the subject and his wife have been born four children, namely: Louise, who died December 4, 1905; Florence, who died January 12, 1907; the latter as the wife of George L. Thompson, of Oelwein, and she is survived by two children, Marion Isabella and Viola Louisa, one child having died in infancy; the only surviving child is Albert E., who is now living in Oelwein, where he is engaged in the practice of law and is a justice of the peace. Religiously, Mr. Irvine and his family are members of the Presbyterian church, to which they give an earnest support. While he takes an interest of proper sort in public affairs of a local nature, he has never been an aspirant for official preferment. He is ever found in hearty support of every movement which promises to be of benefit to the community, morally, educationally, socially or materially. Because of his sterling qualities of character, he enjoys the highest regard throughout the community where he resides.


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