IRWIN, JAMES H., a farmer residing on Section 3, Cartwright Township, and Vice-President of the Pleasant Plains State bank, was born on his present farm, two miles east of Pleasant Plains on the Beardstown Road, Nov. 25, 1855, a son of Alexander Blackstone Irwin and Jane (Broadwell) Irwin. His father was born in Cabarrus County, N.C., February 7, 1814, and was a son of Samuel Lynn and Rachel (Hudson) Irwin.
Samuel Lynn Irwin was born June 6, 1779, in Cabarrus County, N.C., and his wife, Rachel Hudson, in Rockingham County, Va., October 15, 1785. The latter was taken by an uncle to Cabarrus County, N.C., where she and Samuel Lynn Irwin were married, September 23, 1802. They had ten living children born to them in North Carolina, and in the fall of 1818, with their family moved to the part of Tennessee then called the Cherokee Purchase, where one child, Robert T. Irwin, was born. Samuel Lynn Irwin came to Illinois in 1819 and staked out a claim on land which is now located in the northeast part of Pleasant Plains. He then went back to Tennessee to bring his wife and children to the new home that he had found, and returning arrived with his family on April 20, 1820. Upon his return he found John B. Broadwell occupying on his claim, having settled during Mr. Irwin's temporary absence, so Mr. Irwin went tow miles farther down Richland Creek and took another claim, which is now known as the B. Lee Purvines farm, where he lived until his death on March 1, 1854. His widow died July 6, 1867. The children of Samuel Lynn and Rachel Irwin were: Hannah, born July 11, 1803, died August 30, 1880; Mary, born January 10, 1805, died October 20, 1852; Jane C., born January 26, 1806, died January 15, 1832; Deborah, born November 7, 1807, died November 26, 1852; William C., born February 6, 1809, died in 1851; Nancy, born October 2, 1810, died December 17, 1824; Hugh B., born August 30, 1812, died October 18, 1852; Alexander B., born February 7, 1814, died September 2, 1894; Rachal, born March 26, 1816, died in 1852; Matilda B., born February 13, 1818, died September 11, 1879; Robert Travis, born March 7, 1820, died April 10, 1908; Benjamin F., born May 18, 1822, died January 30, 1902; Julius H., born July 22, 1824, died October 5, 1875; James C., born May 6, 1827, died March 18, 1886; and John M., born April 24, 1829, died January 31, 1902.
Alexander B. Irwin married Cynthelia Broadwell, daughter of John B. Broadwell, October 18, 1838, and settled upon what is now the James H. Irwin farm, where he spent the remainder of his life, with the exception of the last few years, during which time he lived in Pleasant Plains. To this union were born five children: Amos Dick, born October 12, 1839, still living; John B., born March 27, 1841, was wounded in the Civil War at the battle of Corinth, Miss., October 4, 1862, and died of his wounds at Jackson, Tenn., March 20, 1863; Betsy Jane, born April 1, 1843, still living; Samuel P., born February 22, 1845 still living; and Hardin, born April 9, and died August 7, 1847. Cynthelia B. Irwin died August 10, 1847 and Alexander B. Irwin married her sister Jane S. (Broadwell) Seaman, February 28, 1855. To this union were born four children: James Henry, born November 25, 1855; Arabell Albertha, born July 30, 1857, still living at Pleasant Plains; Adah Rachel, born April 16, 1859, now living at San Diego, Cal.; and Maggie Stella, born September 25, 1861 also living at San Diego, Cal. Jane S., Mr. Irwin's second wife, was born December 19, 1817, and died January 3, 1893. Alexander B. Irwin was a prosperous farmer and auctioneer, having cried sales throughout the central part of Illinois. He was an ardent worker for the cause of prohibition, and during the later years of his life was prominent upon the platform at picnics and Old Settlers' Meetings. He was a man widely known, kind hearted, and universally respected.
James H. Irwin received his education in the district school of his neighborhood, and in the Springfield Business College, remaining on the farm assisting his father until his marriage, at which time his father moved to Pleasant Plains. On April 25, 1883, James H. Irwin was united in marriage, in Sangamon County to Mary Etta Purvines, who was born in Menard County, November 25, 1862, a daughter of Green Lee Purvines, a history of whom appears elsewhere in this work. To them five sons were born: Oramel Blackstone, born March 11, 1884, graduated from the University of Michigan Law School, and is now practicing law at Springfield, Ill.; Harry Clyde, born November 19, 1885, attended the University of Illinois Agricultural College, married Delle B. Boynton, daughter of E. D. Boynton, of Pleasant Plains, December 8, 1909, and now resides on a farm at Scranton, Iowa; Emory Quinton, born October 10, 1887, attended the Illinois Agricultural College, married October 20, 1910, Lillian Thompson, the daughter of Z. Thompson of Petersburg, Ill., and now resides on a farm in Menard County, Illinois; Scott Broadwell, born November 16, 1889, graduated from Springfield High School, and now living at home with his parents; and George Purvines, born July 14, 1894 and now attending Springfield High School. Mr Irwin has given his sons a good education, striving to fit them for any position they may be called upon to fill.
After marriage Mr. and Mrs. Irwin located on the old Irwin homestead where he has since made many improvements and were they still live. In 1901 he erected a commodious dwelling, fitting it up in a thoroughly modern manner. His farm has developed very materially under his efficient management, until it is one of the best in that part of the State. He is also engaged in breeding thoroughbred Poland-China hogs and Hereford cattle. He has found time in the midst of his agricultural duties to fulfill his obligations as a member of the Christian Church, to which he and all the members of his family belong. He is one of eight substantial men who organized the Pleasant Plains State Bank, in 1879, being elected its first Vice President and still retaining that position. His fraternal relations are with the Masonic Order and the Modern Woodmen of America of Peasant Plains, while his wife belongs to the Eastern Star and the Woman's Club. She is active in these organizations and also in church and missionary work. In politics Mr. Irwin is a Republican, and although not a seeker for public office, is ever solicitous for the success of his party.
Thrifty, hard working, never neglecting a duty or shirking an obligation, Mr. and Mrs. Irwin have endeavored to rear their children to be useful members of society, and are people of whom any community may well be proud.