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The Irvin (Erwin) Letter

(I believe the letter was written by Judge Amos Irvin who lived in Centerville, Montgomery Co, OH)

TRANSCRIPTION: Contributed by Karl Bartlow of St. Louis, MO on 12 Jul 2003
SOURCE:
Copied [with permission from Karl Bartlow] from the Surry County, NC GenWeb Site. (See additional source notes below)
SURNAMES:
Corwin, Dunlevy, Erwin, Finley, Irvin, Nicholson, Potts, Sales, Shaw, Sigler, Simonton, Stewart, Taylor, Wales, Welch


William Irvin (Erwin) was my paternal grandfather and he was born in Ireland. His wife, whose maiden name I do not remember, was English, her given name was Jane. They met and married in Cumberland, E. Pennsylvania, and there my father, Samuel Irvin was born. But after a while Dr. Franklin grew tired of a partner whom he had in the publication of a paper and as an easy method of getting clear of him persuaded him to migrate to North Carolina,

from there Bradley (for that was his name) wrote glowing descriptions of the country and Dr. Franklin published them in his Philadelphia newspaper. These publications were read by both my paternal and maternal grandfathers, both of whom were thereby induced to remove with their entire families from Pennsylvania to North Carolina soon after the defeat of General Braddock at Fort Du Quesne (1755). I do not know whether these families were acquainted in Pennsylvania or not. The name of my maternal grandfather, Mosses Potts, who was twice married, my mother being the daughter of the first wife. My mother had a brother, James Potts, who was a Captain in the American Army of the Revolution, and at an engagement in South Carolina, called Ramsoiers Battle, he in obedience to the command of a superior officer was just on the point of shooting a British Officer when a musketball cut off one of his own silver shoe buckles and passed through his ankle. In the same engagement a man named Stewart was shot through the breast and these two wounded men were then thrown across a horse and borne from the front and concealed in a sinkhole where they remained until next day, almost famished for want of water. The British having proved successful advanced and Potts and Stewart were left in the rear. As soon as my mother's people learned of Capt. Potts misfortune, it being unsafe for a man to pass through the intervening country of 180 miles infested by hostile foes and worse, tories, my mother, then unmarried Miss Mary Potts taking with her a little negro, three horses and the necessary appliances for making a litter to bear the wounded, went entirely through the lines of both armies to where her brother was. Then arranging one horse before another she suspended a litter between poles which the horses walked between and carried at their sides and suspended by ropes which passed over the pack saddles. In this long litter she placed the two wounded men and while the negro rode the third horse in front she walked beside the men and attended to their wants till she brought them safely home. She reported that the Tories she met with treated her with every indignity, blackguarded her, berated and cursed her, but that the British officers treated her always with the greatest respect and kindest attention.

This Mr. Stewart afterwards married a half-sister of my mother's who was Jane.

I have often heard my father and mother say that the first time thet ever spoke to each other was on an occasion when they were riding in opposite directions on horse-back and happened to meet in a small stream where their horses stopped to drink, and they entered into conversation, terminating in his asking permission to visit her at home. Not long afterwards they were married, about the year 1784.

My father had been a soldier and officer in the Continental Army, war of the Revolution, and while in the service carved a tasty spoon out of laurel-root which spoon I still have in my possession. I can remember my grandfather Irvin, but he died when I was quite small, on his farm in Iredell County, N. Carolina. His wife survived him several years and was still living on the old homestead whin my father left the country in 1799.

My father's name was Samuel and he had four brothers, John, Robert, William, and Michael, and two sisters, Jane and Nancy; of these William and Nancy lived to be old people and never married. The rest married, I do not remember the names of their companions except Jane's, (transcribers note: Jane Finley Erwin -widow of Robert Finley) who was twice married the last time to George Wales (married 1760 Christ Lutheran Church in York, York Co., Penn.), and her son Isaac married Ruth Welch and migrated to Ohio, and settled and died near Harveysburgh, in Warren County. (Transcribers note: Jane Finley Wales the d/o Isaac and Ruth married Valetine Nicholson in a Quaker ceremony. From their home in Harveysburg they operated a stop on the underground railroad. They were Hicksite Quakers.) She had other children besides Isaac, among who was a son Samuel (Note: Samuel Wales married Mary Sigler in 1791 Rowan County.) a first rate man with whom my father left his unsettled business when he left Carolina.

Uncle Robert lived and died on a farm adjoining to and south of his father's old homestead and on that homestead Uncle Michael lived and died-what become of their property I do not know. From N. Carolina grandfather Potts and most of his family including his son, Captain James Potts, aforesaid, migrated to Georgia, though I think not until after my father left Carolina. At least I know Capt. James did not leave till after father did, for I remember he accompained us, when we started as far as Mr. Sales, of whom hereafter. The Potts family had a great many slaves but none of the Irvins ever had any that I know of except that my father hired a trusty slave and afterward bought him for 100 sterlin, that he might have a trusty man to carry on the farm when he was away working at mill-wrighting work. The slave managed well for a long time, selling produce and making purchases, but at length become careless and would be gone a week at a time on trading excursions, so that the farm went to rack and my father had to leave his trade and attend to it.

In the will which my grandfather Potts had made before he left Carolina, he had given my father 1000 acres of what was called hickory land together with numerous slaves, conditioned that my father should move to Georgia and settle on said land, but if he refused he was to have a half Jo (about $8.00). Father positively declined to accept the land and accompanying slaves. He declared that he would go to the Ohio territory and would never stop until he was 40 miles north of the Ohio River, that his family might have around them the enobling and stimulating influences of free society. The half-Jo which my father (None: probably meant grandfather) had so willed to him, I have often seen, and I think it was used to pay for the coffin in which my mother was burried.

I was born July 7, 1788. I had two sisters older than myself, Matilda, who died young, and Jane, and two brothers, William and Elam. When my father started from N. Carolina to move to Ohio with his family he journied eight miles to an acquaintance, named Sales, this far Capt. Potts accompanied them, where we waited to days for Joh Simonton and his family, who lived in another region and were going with us. This Simonton had relation in Ohio on the Obanion Creek, not far from the present site of Loveland. It was necessary to wait for Simonton in order to have double teams in pulling over the mountains. We traveled together until we got within six or seven miles of Cincinnati when Mrs. Simonton was taken ill, and in a cabin by the roadside had a child born. After that Simonton mounted a horse and rode to his relatives, and father come on with his family to the neighborgood and present site of Lebanon, there we took up our abode about the month of November 1799, in a cabon belonging to John Shaw on the west half of section,-Ichabod Corwin owning the west half on which Lebanon now stands. The first Sunday after our arrival we were not allowed to romp around, but were required to seat ourselves (according to custom) quietly in the house and read the testament. We had not been long seated when pop!pop! we heard the reports of rifles near by. All rushed to the door but not in time to see the bear fall, which some hunters had shot just as he was climbing a dead walnut tree near the house.

On the 1st of January 1800 several of the neighbors John Shaw, some of the Corwins' and a Mr. Taylor, who had a little mill on the Turtle Creek, and others, to the amount ten persons, had assembled to discuss school matters, and considering the business of building a school house, and soon after being so met Judge Francis Dunlevy rode up and announced the death of Gen. George Washington, on the 14th of previous month. I well remember the gloom which the intelligence cast over the company, such as might have been if a cimpany of brothers had heard of the death of a parent. After while they brightened up, for they thouth the news could not be true: for (said they) could the intelligence come all the way from Mt. Vernon in 17 days. In two or three days the report was fully confirmed and it was found that the news had been brought west by an Indian who had been east and returned on foot with great dispatch. We lived in that neighborhoon on two years, my father still holding to his determination not to settle within forty miles of slave territory, moved north to the vicitinity of Dayton, where he settled. While in the neighborhood of of Lebanon I attended a school on the north bank of Turtle Creek taught by Judge Dunlevy, aforesaid, who was a fine scholar, but a man of towering passion; when any of the boys displeased him he would snatch up one of the long hickory rods of which he had several and fairly raised the offender from his seat. Would that the standard among men were as much improved as the treatment of pupils now is. At that school I was a fellow pupil of Thomas Corwin, positively the worst boy I ever knew in school, over-flowing with tricks, and mischief. His favorite amusement was knuckling, he would hold out his own had first and you might pummel it in vain, but let him get a blow at your knuckled and the caps would come off and you would fall back shaking your bleeding fingers.

John Shaw told us he had a daugher who married William Simonton before we arrived in the neighborhood, that he gave her a sucking pig which she took with her to her home, on the Obanion, but that it escaped its pen and was shortley afterward found at its old home 12 miles away on opposite side of Little Miamia River.

On the day of the Battle of Tippecanoe I married Minerva Munger with whom I have since lived.


FOOTNOTES: [a place to add additional information that you might want to submit]

20 Jan 2003 Karl Bartlow

I do not have the original letter. I believe however, you will find the letter with Thomas Montgommery Wales of Ohio. According to other letters I have in my possession, the daughters of William Winford Wales of Minneapolis, Mn. were actively in pursuit of the family genealogy circa 1880s. It is here that the original letter of Samuel Wales (1837 written to Thos. M. Wales) and Amos Irvin were copied by the hand of one Richard Wales (I assume the son of Thos. M. Wales) and mailed them. These documents are what I have is those that were copied by Richard Wales. The original letters if still around are probably in some archive in Ohio and probably connected to these Wales'.

My grx2 grandmother was Emma Lavina (Pearl) Wales who married Wm. H. Bartlow in 1855 Minneapolis, Mn. Both families traveled to Minnesota after 1851. Emma Wales was the daughter of Isaac Wales b 1800 N.C. and son of Samuel Wales and Mary Sigler of N.C. His uncle was the Isaac Wales that married Ruth Welch. According to the same news article as mentioned the Butterworth family, Jane Finley Wales traveled with her parents Isaac Wales and Ruth Welch to the Welch Colony (Samuel Welch the father of Ruth) in Ohio from their home in N.C.

12 Sep 2003 Brent Urbin My last name is Urbin and I live in Indiana. For the last 3 years I have been doing genealogy.
The name Irvin came up when I was doing some research in Fairfield, Ohio. Well today I was doing some research for landscaping my yard and I had to look for the land detentions so started to look at my land title. The name Amos Irvin was on the paper and just wondered who this person could be. So I ended up at your web site, I have the land title of a Amos Irvin and his wife Minerva Irvin of Montgomery Co, Ohio. Land St.Joeseph Co. Indiana WW quarter Sec3 Twn 36 N of Range 3 E containing 160 acres May 24 1853

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This page created 12 July 2003 and last updated 30 May, 2005
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