From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and
Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing
Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 441-442, a reprinted by Stevens
Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County
Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
Dr. Charles N. Irwin, a resident of Mount Sterling, was born in
Fayette county, Kentucky, August 30, 1827. His father, John M. C.
Irwin, was born in the same county, and his father, William Irwin, was
born in Virginia, although his father was born in the north of Ireland,
of Scotch ancestry. He came to America in Colonial times and settled in
Virginia, where he spent the remainder of his days. His son, William,
was reared in Virginia, and after marriage emigrated to Kentucky with
his family. The removal was made with pack horses. He located in
Fayette county, which was at that time very sparsely settled. When
about to trade some horses for some land the horses were stolen from
him by the Indians, who were numerous and sometimes hostile. He
purchased a tract of land eight miles from Lexington, on the Lexington
and Frankfort road. There was a fort in the neighborhood, where the
people used to repair for safety. He improved his farm with hard labor,
and resided there until his death. The maiden name of his wife was
Catharine McClay. She was born in Pennsylvania, of pure Scotch
ancestry. She died on the farm in Fayette county. Their son, John,
followed agricultural pursuits, and spent his entire life in his native
county. He died in 1857. The maiden name of his wife was Martha Nourse,
born in Mercer county, Kentucky. Her father, William Nourse, was born
in England, where his parents spent their entire lives. He came to
America in Colonial times, and was one of the pioneers of Mercer
county, Kentucky, where he spent his last years. Mrs. Irwin died on the
home farm in Fayette county. She was the second wife of her husband and
reared three of her five children, Martha, Charles N. and George.
Charles was reared in his native State, receiving his early
education there. In 1846 he came to Illinois, settling in Jacksonville,
where he remained a short time and then came on to Mount Sterling, and
commenced the study of medicine with Dr. Witty. He attended lectures at
Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and in June, 1850, commenced
practice in Mount Sterling, which he continued until 1862, when he
entered the United States army as Assistant Surgeon of the Third
Illinois Cavalry, joining the regiment at Helena, Arkansas. They were
with Sherman at the first attack on Vicksburg, and at the battle of
Arkansas Post, in Grant's command at the battle of Milliken's Bend.
Soon after this the regiment was detailed to do garrison duty on the
Memphis & Charleston Railroad, guarding different points. During
that time the regiment made frequent raids into Mississippi. He
continued with the regiment until he was honorably discharged in 1864.
He then became Assistant Surgeon in the Provost Marshal's office of the
Ninth Illinois District. Upon the resignation of Dr. Worthington as
Surgeon, he was appointed his successor, continuing in this office
until the close of the war.
In 1865 he bought an interest in the drug and hardware store of
Dr. Stone, Dr. Burch being his partner. One year later Dr. Burch sold
his interest to George Irwin. In 1877 Martin O'Neil purchased the
interest of George Irwin, and the firm became Irwin & O'Neil, and
have so continued until the present time. They carry a full line of
drugs, agricultural implements, hardware, etc. Since the Doctor engaged
in the drug business he has abstained from practice as much as
possible. He is frequently called in consultation, besides being called
in by former patrons.
He was married in 1851 to Isabella C. Dunlap, born in Fayette
county, Kentucky. Her father, Rev. Latin W. Dunlap, was a native of New
Jersey, but resided some years in Fayette county, Kentucky, from whence
he came to Mount Sterling, and was the pioneer Presbyterian preacher
here. He organized the first Presbyterian society here, where he was a
resident until his death in 1889.
Dr. and Mrs. Irwin have one child, Nellie R. Their only son,
Charles D., died in 1890. They are members of the presbyterian Church,
of which the Doctor is an Elder, and has been for many years. He is an
ardent worker and takes a prominent part in the Sunday school. He
formerly was a Whig, and has been a Republican ever since the
commencement of the Civil war.