Search billions of records on


 Biographies Index  



California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



The twentieth century has been marked by the inauguration and rise of many public-spirited projects, few of which possess greater value or promise greater benefit than the good-roads movement. As a pioneer worker in the developing of the roads E. C. Irvine gained local prominence many years ago, when the movement was yet in its infancy. Consistently advocating permanence in roads, from the first he opposed the temporary quality and unsatisfactory nature of such work as was done on the roads, but gave the pressure of his influence toward better highways as a precursor to better farms and larger profits to the farmers. Before automobiles had come into common use and their owners had united to advocate a more satisfactory highway, he had attracted attention through his persistent efforts to interest property-owners in such work. It has been his privilege to see a marked advance and a deepened interest in the movement, but he believes the work already accomplished is only the predecessor of greater efforts in the .years to come.

Taking up a consideration of Mr. Irvine's personal history, it may be stated that he was born in Jefferson City, Mo., February 5, 1846, a son of Capt. Alexander and Lou Anne Irvine, of that state. His father raised a company which was assigned to the regiment of Colonel Donovan for service in the Mexican war, and he served as captain. Wounded in the first engagement of his company, he started for the Paso Robles Springs, Cal, but after a few weeks became so ill that he was obliged to turn back. Nevertheless, in 1850, Captain Irvine piloted a train across the plains to California, where the family made their home. Richard C. Irvine for some years attended the public schools of St. Louis, Mo., but in 1859 he accompanied the family to California and settled in Eldorado county, where he continued his studies in the public schools. In 1862 he secured a clerkship in the general mercantile business in his home county and continued in the same position until his removal in 1870 to Sacramento, where he engaged as clerk with E. Stone & Co., wholesale saddlers. Later he was promoted to a salesmanship for the company. When they first sold out in 1881 to A. A. Van Voorhies & Co., Mr. Irvine bought stock in the new concern and continued a partner in the business until January of 1891, when he sold out his interest.

After a period of service as county assessor from 1891 to 1895 Mr. Irvine was appointed by Governor Budd as a member of the bureau of highways, the executive's attention having been drawn to him through his intense interest in every phase of the good-roads movement. During 1896 he resigned the position to take charge of a large wholesale saddlery in Los Angeles. After a year in Southern California he returned to Sacramento and took charge of the Capital Soap Company until 1898. From that time until 1903 he served as deputy to the city street superintendent, after which he was manager of the Wilson Manufacturing Company. His first appointment as city superintendent of streets came to him in January, 1906, and for two years he filled the position with scrupulous fidelity, resigning in January of 1908 to serve as general inspector over country roads, which office had been tendered him by the county board of super- visors. At the expiration of a term of two years he was again appointed city superintendent of streets and continued to fill the position with marked intelligence and industrious application.

The marriage of Mr. Irvine and Miss Adelaide Wells took place in Sacramento in March of 1881 and they have since been popular in society functions, also contributors to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, with which they are identified. Always stanch in his allegiance to the Democratic party, Mr. Irvine is yet broad in his views and concedes to other voters the same choice of nominees and measures which he demands for himself. A man of genial disposition and companionable nature, he finds pleasure in social and fraternal activities and is one of the founders of the McNeil Club of Sacramento. In addition he has been a leading local worker in the Ancient Order of United Workmen, Knights of Honor, Loyal Order of Moose and the Masonic Order, in which he has taken many degrees, including that of Knight Templars and Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011