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Some of the History of the Irving Mills

[Terry: The last of these mill buildings is still standing in Irvington–which is between Swarthmore and Chester on 340–currently occupied by a contractor with some nasty dogs. I did go and visit when I was about 10 and can remember the looms and all the dust and being shown how to comb wool.]

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In that year James and David Irving, who had established the Irvington Mills in Philadelphia in 1842, leased the Crosbyville Mills and removed their business to that location, where they remained as tenants of the Crosbys until 1857, when they purchased the property. The business had so increased that in 1860 the firm erected Mill No. 2, a building one hundred feet in length by forty feet in width. In 1862, David Irving died, and his interest in the business was purchased by James Irving, who continues manufacturing at Irvington, the old mill seat being now known by that name. On Jan. 1, 1866, Washington Irving was given an interest in the business, the firm being James Irving & Son. The son, however, died the following September, but the firm remained unchanged in title, and in 1879, James Irving’s son, William A. Irving, was admitted to an interest in the mills. In 1873 the old grist-mill building was removed, and a four-story stone structure one hundred and seventy-two by fifty feet erected on its site by James Irving, and Mill No. 3, a stone factory forty by fifty feet, two stories in height, was built in 1880 by James Irving. The machinery in these mills consists of one hundred and six looms, two thousand one hundred spindles, and six sets of cards, the goods manufactured being woolen doeskins and tweeds.

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James Irving, the subject of this biographical sketch, was born in 1817 in New York, where his parents, John and Jeannie B. Irving, emigrated from Glasgow, Scotland, and settled in the year 1811. The family subsequently removed to Montgomery County, Pa., where the two sons, James and David, were apprenticed to Bethel Moore, then one of the largest woolen manufacturers in the State, and with him learned the trade of which he was master. In 1842 they began business in Philadelphia County, and remained until 1846 in that locality.

James Irving the year previous removed to Delaware County and established woolen-mills at Irvington, under the firm-name of J. & D. Irving, which continued until the death of David Irving, in 1862, when James Irving & Son succeeded to the business. James and David Irving and Thomas I. Leiper also established in Chester, Pa., a mill for the manufacture of cotton yarns, under the firm-name of Irvings & Leiper, now the Irving & Leiper Manufacturing Company.

James Irving, in May, 1839, was married to Christiann, daughter of John Berry, of Chester County, Pa. Their children are Jeannie M. (wife of Hugh Lloyd, of Darby, Pa.), E. Matilda (wife of William H. Starbuck, of New York), William A., and D. Edwin. Both the sons are interested with their father in business. Mr. Irving was in politics formerly a Henry Clay Whig, and actively participated in the political issues of the day. He later became a conservative Republican, and indorses the platform of the party in general. He is a director of the First National Bank of Chester, and has been for a long time one of the active trustees of the University of Lewisburg, Union County, Pa., one of the best educational institutions of the State. He is in his religious views a Baptist, and member of the North Chester Baptist Church of Chester, Pa.

Shaw, Esrey & Co.

Chester Rural Cemetery. –  The plot was immediately laid out for the purposes of a cemetery, the first interments within its lines being the Confederate soldiers who died at the United States Hospital (now the Crozer Theological Seminary). Over one hundred and fifty of these men were buried within the grounds. The first lot was purchased by Bennett Dobbs, Sept. 26, 1863, and his wife, Nancy, was buried therein two days afterwards, September 28th. No deed was given for this lot until two months had elapsed, the first conveyance bearing date Dec. 7, 1863. Nearly in the centre of the cemetery an artificial lake was made, the water being supplied by a run which passed in a northwesterly course through the grounds. On Dec. 10, 1869, a sad accident occurred at this lake, on which Herman L. Cochran, son of John Cochran, and Mattie H. Irving, daughter of James Irving, both about sixteen years, were skating when the ice broke and they were drowned. “The Soldiers’ Monument,” a tribute to the soldiers of the civil war enlisted from Delaware County, stands on the highest point of land in this cemetery. Although this testimonial was erected in the name of the citizens of the county, the funds necessary to procure and put it in place were contributed by a few persons. Much credit was due to Mrs. Mary B. Leiper, who was untiring in her efforts to procure the means required. The Soldiers’ Monument, a bronze figure by Martin Millmore, representing a private soldier standing at rest, and elevated on a massive granite pedestal, was dedicated Sept. 17, 1873, Shaw, Esrey & Co.

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One response

  1. This is fascinating. Thanks!

    Like

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