Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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IRVlN, James, manufacturer, born in Centre county, Pennsylvania, 18 February, 1800; died there, 28 November, 1862. He was trained from the age of fourteen in his father's mercantile business. He became the chief manufacturer of Centre county, supervising the operation of twelve charcoal blast-furnaces, besides rolling-mills, forges, and grist-mills. He represented his district in congress from 31 May, 1841, to 3 March, 1845, and in 1847 was the Whig candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, but was de-feared by the temperance vote, though he was an advocate of temperance principles. He joined the Republican party when it was first organized, and, having lost his fortune in the crisis of 1857, accepted about 1861 the appointment of naval storekeeper in Philadelphia, which he held at the time of his death. He was one of the founders of the Pennsylvania agricultural college, for which he gave 200 acres of land.--His brother, William, physician, born in Centre county, Pennsylvania, 15 November, 1805; died in Amoy, China, 9 September, 1865, studied at Dickinson college, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and was graduated M. D. at Jefferson medical college, Philadelphia, in 1828. He did not practise his profession long, but became a partner of his brother in the iron business at Milesburg, Pennsylvania, about 1833. In later life he studied homoeopathy, and in 1851 was graduated at the Homoeopathic medical college of Philadelphia. After practising two or three years in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, he resumed iron manufacturing in Clinton county. He held a clerkship in the treasury department at Washington from 1862 till 1864, when he was appointed United States consul at Amoy. He employed his professional skill for the benefit of the natives and treated many cases of Asiatic cholera, but finally fell a victim to the disease.
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