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An Account of The Ancestry of Christopher Irvin (1730 - 1791)


The following is an extract from a paper written by Kent Irvin on the possible ancestry of his forebear Christopher Irvin of Rowan County, North Carolina (ca.1730?-1791).  He believes it helps illustrate the difficulties of making connections between America and Ulster and between Ulster and Scotland .

A biographical account has been preserved in Louisa Boyd’s The Irvines and their Kin (pages 317-319) which includes some information on Christopher Irvin’s ancestry and may help explain why he does not appear to have been heavily involved with his apparent relatives. 

"A statement of Ancestry and Tradition relative to his family made by Rev. Samuel Irvine, D. D., of Fredericksburg, Wayne Co., Ohio, reduced to writing by his son, John E. Irvine, in his presence and at his direction, at his home on Thursday, April 4, 1861.

I was born at or near Derg Bridge, County Tyrone,
Ireland , on the 22nd day of June, 1786.  My parents emigrated to the United States in the next year, leaving Ireland in May and arriving in Philadelphia in August, a month or six weeks before the rising of the Convention that formed the present Constitution of the United States .  My father lived, until the next spring, about nine miles west of Lancaster, in Lancaster Co., Pa., and then moved to Kishocoquillas Valley, in Mifflin Co., Pa., where he lived until 1796, when he moved to the farm where he lived and died in Shaver's Creek Valley, Huntingdon Co., Pa.  I entered Jefferson College in Gannonsburgh , Pa. , in 1810.  In November, 1810, I began the study of theology under the instruction of John Anderson, D. D. , of Service, Beaver Co., Pa.   I was licensed to preach the gospel by the Associate Presbytery of Philadelphia , which met at Carlisle , Pa. , for that purpose on the 12th day of August, 1819.  After spending a term of some eight or nine months preaching in the Carolinas and Tennessee, I visited this part of Ohio and received a call from Salt Creek, Newman's Creek, Wooster and Mohican churches, which I accepted and was ordained as their pastor by the Presbytery of Chartiers, which met at the Court House in Wooster, Ohio, for that purpose in March 1821.  I had spent the fall and winter among those churches.  I have ever since been pastor of the Church of Salt Creek , and of the branches, from time to time, united with it.

I had four brothers:  John, born in Kishocoquillas Valley, in March, 1789; Christopher, born at same place in 1793; James S., born at Shaver's Creek, June 22, 1799; David, born at Shaver's Creek, September 11, 1802.  I had one sister, Elizabeth, born in October, 1795 at Kishocoquillas Valley , Pa.   She married Alexander Campbell and left two daughters, Sarah and Elizabeth, the first, wife of John Henderson, of Shaver's Creek, Pa., and the other, of Hugh Lee of Linn Co., Oregon.

My father, James Irvine, born 1761, near Derg Bridge, Tyrone Co.,
Ireland , was the youngest son of his father by a second marriage - there were fifteen children of his father in all.  My father was brought up (his father having died during his own infancy) by his older full brother, John Irvine, who followed the trade of blacksmith near Derg Bridge .  I only remember the name of one other of my father's brothers - Christopher Irvine - who emigrated to America and settled on the Yadkin in the southwest part of Rowan Co., North Carolina.  He was a young, unmarried, I think, when he emigrated.  His oldest childen were as old as my father.  He was there long before the beginning of the Revolution.  Uncle Christopher left a large family of sons and daughters - in 1819 they were very old.  I saw a grandson of Uncle Christopher, named Graham, the proprietor of a hat establishment in Statesville , North Carolina - a fine man, - he gave me the best hat I ever owned.  My Uncle John Irvin, of Derg Bridge , had three sons, Christopher, William, and John.  Cousin Christopher was a farmer, William was a scholar - he built a hotel at Derg Bridge (or Castle Derg).  William's son John once visited me at Fredericksburg and returned to Ireland .  He had traveled and peddled in America .  I don't know what became of Uncle John's son John.  My grandfather, John Irvine, was twice married, and had a family of fifteen children.  He was a blacksmith.  His father, my great-grandfather, was likewise called John Irvine and was a blacksmith.  He (my great-grandfather) was renowned for his great strength.  I have heard father say that he could straighten out a horseshoe - he received the freedom of the City of Londonderry , for what he did in the seige, -- the exact nature of which I do not now recollect.  He served throughout the seige in  the Derg garrison.  Where father was born and bred the people were all Scotch-Presbyterians.  My mother, Sarah, was the third youngest daughter of Samuel Semple.  He had a large family and came and settled with them in Kishocoquillas -- Margaret, wife of Hugh Braham, and Elizabeth, wife of James Flemming.  My father had a full cousin, General James Irvine, of Carlisle , Pa. , who was an old man at the time of the Revolution.  Before father left Kishocoquillas Valley I remember that two young brothers, William and John Irvine, came from Ireland and spent a winter in Kishocoquillas.  They were fine looking men and I used to admire them for their appearance.  My father called them cousins, but I do not know what was the degree of the relationship between them.  They both married and settled in Center Co.  Gen. James Irvine of Center county is the son of that John Irvine.  I know of many other branches of Irvine in this country, but none of whose relationship to us I am clearly informed."

The claims made by Samuel Irvine in his statement are relatively modest, and some can be confirmed from other sources.  A biography of Samuel Irvine published seventeen years after his death (History of
Wayne County , Ohio , From the Days of the Pioneers and First Settlers to the Present Time.  by Ben Douglass.  Indianapolis:  Robert Douglass, Publisher, 1878, pages 766-7) appears to confirm some of the information in Samuel Irvine’s statement:

Rev. Samuel Irvine,
D. D. , was born in County Tyrone , Ireland , June 25, 1787 , his parents immigrating to America June 25, 1788 , two years thereafter settling in Huntingdon county, Pa.   He labored on the farm until 1810, when he entered college.  In 1815 he attended the theological seminary at Servia , Pa. , where he was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Philadelphia , in 1819.  In 1820 he came to Wooster ...retaining his relation with the Saltcreek church until his death, April 28, 1861 .

A history of
Center County , Pennsylvania , published in 1883 (History of Centre and Clinton Counties , Pennsylvania by John Blair Linn.  Philadelphia:  Louis H. Everts, 1883, pages 204-5. Includes a Portrait of James Irvin with signature) supplies the following biographical material in support of Samuel Irvine’s statement:

IRVIN, JOHN, emigrated with his brothers William and Guyan from
Ireland ....
IRVIN, GEN. JAMES, son of John Irvin and Ann Watson, his wife....
IRVIN, GUYAN, came from Ireland in 1793, died March 5, 1850, aged eighty- four; Elizabeth, his wife, died
May 17, 1843 , aged seventy-two.

Samuel Irvine’s statements are consistent with Christopher Irvin’s settlement in
Rowan County over fifteen years before the start of the Revolutionary War and with his eleven children.  Christopher Irvin had several grandsons named Graham, and his land was near Statesville which was mentioned in Samuel Irvine’s statement.  It is therefore reasonable to accept Samuel Irvine’s statement that Christopher Irvin’s father lived in Derg Bridge , County Tyrone .  However, Samuel Irvine in no way specified the amount of time that the family resided in Derg Bridge .  The absence of such a statement or of any other Irish place names suggests that Samuel Irvine was unaware of any other places that the family lived in Ireland .  This negative evidence may indicate that the Irvin family had been residents of the Derg Bridge area for a considerable amount of time before the birth of Samuel Irvine’s father in 1761, but it is not proof.  However, there is one possible piece of corroborating evidence. 

John Beaufin Irving’s "Book of the
Irvings " (page 185) contains the following biographical sketch:

Major-General James
Irvine , a descendant of the family of Derg Castle , or Derg Bridge, Co. Tyrone , Ireland .  Born August 4, 1735; appointed ensign in Captain Atlee’s company in 1760; captain, 1763; lieut.-colonel, 1775; colonel, 1776; major-general, 1782; President of the State of Pennsylvania, 1784-5, and an original trustee of Dickinson College; died at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
April 28, 1819.

Unlike Samuel Irvine’s account, this brief statement was undoubtedly the project of research.  It is possible that the author read Samuel Irvine’s statement in Boyd’s book and assumed that all of the Irish Irvins mentioned by Samuel Irvine lived at
Derg Bridge .  If an independent source exists which connects James Irvine with Derg Bridge , then it is likely that the Irvin family was in the Derg Bridge area before Christopher Irvin was born.

Was Christopher Irvin of
Rowan County , North Carolina , born in or near Derg Bridge , County Tyrone ?  Much of the documentary evidence necessary to answer this question no longer exists.  Only two sources survive from the seventeenth century which may provide comprehensive lists of the Irvins in County Tyrone , and no similar sources exist for the eighteenth century. 

The John Irvin identified by Samuel Irvine as a participant in the siege of
Derry in 1688 was unlikely to have been born much later than 1670.  It is therefore possible that the name of his father was recorded in the Hearth Money rolls of the 1660s.  These rolls record taxes levied on each hearth, which makes them a list of all but the poorest households.  The only complete dated Hearth Money roll which has been preserved for Tyrone is from the year 1665/6.  Twelve Irvines were listed.  The total can be broken down by barony as follows:

Clogher 6
Omagh 3
Strabane 2
Dungannon 1

Derg Bridge or Castlederg is located in Urney and Ardstraw Parish in Omagh Barony, and the three Irvins listed in Omagh Barony were all residents of townlands near Castlederg.  The closest to Castlederg was Christopher Irvin of Learmore in Urney and Ardstraw Parish.  Learmore is also near Lisleen in Urney and Ardstraw Parish, where Robert Irvine was listed, and Killen in neighboring Termonamongan Parish, where Andrew Irvine was listed.  Lisleen adjoins Killen, and Killen is separated from Learmore by the small townland of Munie, which was not mentioned in the Hearth Money Roll nad may have been created from Learmore.  Both Urney and Ardstraw Parsih and Termonamongan Parish belonged to Lucie Countess of Huntingdon at this time, so the parish line was an artificial barrier in the 1660s. 

The Subsidy Roll of
County Tyrone circa 1665 lists Lucie Countess of Huntingdon as the only taxpayer, and therefore the only landowner, in Termonamongan Parish, and as one of only four taxpayers in Urney and Ardstraw Parish.  She may in fact have been the only landowner in Urney and Ardstraw, since it is not clear if the other three taxpayers were charged only with property taxes.  The lands of the countess of Huntingdon were sparsely settled in the 1660s.  The colonization of Ulster from Great Britain began in 1607.  The British settlers, mostly Scots but also English and Welsh, are clearly distinguished in contemporary sources from the Gaelic-speaking natives.  Termonamongan Parish had sixty householders with sixty-one hearths in 1665/6, but only twenty of these men had non-Gaelic names.  The twenty non-Gaelic households in Termonamongan Parish in 1665/6 were divided among eleven townlands in the easter half of the parish - the half that adjoined Urney and Ardstraw.  There were fewer hearths in Urney and Ardstraw Parish, but there were slightly more settlers.  Out of fifty-five hearths in the parish, thirty-four belonged to men whose names were not Gaelic.  However, these non-Gaelic households were found in only six townlands.

The name Christopher Irvin appears in the 1665/6 Hearth Money Roll of Tyrone only in Learmore.  The name does not appear among the ten Irwins listed in the 1664 Hearth Money Roll of County Armagh, the eight Irvins listed in County Donegal in 1665, or the three Irwins listed in the 1663 Hearth Money Roll of County Londonderry.  No Irvins were listed in the 1663 or 1665 Monaghan Hearth Money Rolls, and only Richard Erwen was listed in the 1664 roll for Cavan.  Nineteen different Irvines were named in the 1666 and 1669 Antrim Hearth Money Rolls, but none were named Christopher.  No Hearth Money Rolls have survived for
County Down , and only fragments survive for County Fermanagh .  Christopher Irvin of Rowan County, North Carolina, appears to have come from a large family that had a preference for the name Christopher.  In seven out of nine Ulster counties with surviving Hearth Money Rolls, the name Christopher Irvin only appears one time, and that reference is near Castlederg.  The Hearth Money Rolls also indicate that Castlederg was one of the few places in those seven counties which could claim to have an extended Irvin family in the 1660s.

Samuel Irvine’s account states that John Irvin participated in the seige of  Londonderry, or
Derry .  During the Revolution of 1688 when James II was replaced by William III,

the Protestant gentry had raised levies in support of William.  Tyrconnell had defeated them in a confused engagement known as the ‘break of Dromore’, whereupon those who could not get a sea passage away from the country had crowded as refugees into the garrison town of Enniskillen, in Fermanagh, and into Londonderry." (A History of
Ireland , by Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry, pages 159-160)

According to local historian T. P. Donnelly,

The ousted James II advanced from the south with his army on his way to the siege of
Derry .  Some Protestants from the Derg Valley fled to the security of the fortress of Derry . (Donnelly, page 59)

If Samuel Irvine’s account is correct, then it is consistent with residence near Castlederg in 1688.  During this period most of the Irvins in
Ulster seem to have been concentrated in the counties of Antrim, Down, Fermanagh, and Tyrone.  Fermanagh refugees might reasonably be expected to have sought refuge in Eniskillen, and the residents of the coastal counties of Antrim and Down would have been able to arrange sea passage.

The initial distribution of Irvins in
Ulster is seen the remaining comprehensive document, the muster roll of Ulster compiled circa 1630.  This document lists eighty-three Irvins among the 13,092 able-bodied men between the ages of sixteen and sixty in the nine counties of Ulster .  The total numbers of Irvins listed in each county in this document is as follows:

Down 33
Fermanagh 17
Tyrone 10
Derry 10
Armagh   9
Antrim   1
Cavan   1
Donegal   1
Monaghan   1

In 1630 Omagh Barony in
County Tyrone had even fewer British settlers than in the 1660s.  Lord Hastings, husband of Lucie Countess of Huntingdon, was listed in the muster roll with only twenty-five men, none of whom were named Irvin.  This is consistent with Pynnar’s survey of 1619 which listed only forty-one men with arms in all of Omagh Barony, thirty of whom were on the lands of Gavelagh & Clonaghmore belonging to Sir John Davies, father of Lucie Countess of Huntingdon.  According to a local historian,

The Garvetagh proportion extended on both sides of the River Derg, as far as the boundary of Donegal and included all the land that surrounds Castlederg, except the church (erenagh) lands, that is, Churchtown, or Ballylennon North, on which the town stands, Craigmonaghan, Ballylennon Mercer, Ballylennon Scot and Berrysfort.  Those church lands were removed from the erenagh and the catholic church and put into the ownership of the established protestant church.  They remained in its possession till the late 19th century when they were sold.(Donnelly, History of Castlederg and Ardstraw West, page 49)

The names of John Davies’ men circa 1631 (The names in the muster roll are Bastards (3); Bird; Bisse; Borrell; C___?; Clarke; Crome; Edwards; Gardner; Lundy; Howard; Jones (2); Moore (2); Moy; Netherwill; Roberts (2); Steward; Taylor; Waterhose; __richand?) bear no relation to the names of the householders in the same area in the 1660s. This is understandable in light of the small number of settlers and the destructive warfare of the 1640s.  According to one historian, the rebellion of 1641 the rebels control, within a few days of all of
Ulster except County Antrim , northern Down, and Londonderry , and isolated castles and forts scattered throughout the western part of the province in Counties Donegal, Tyrone, Londonderry , and Fermanagh.  Refugees, Scots and English, fled to the Protestant-held enclaves... (Stevenson, Scottish Covenanters and Irish Confederates, page 98)

One of these isolated castles and forts was Castlederg.

In the war of 1641, Sir Phelim O’Nial besieged the castle of Derg; and although he was driven away with disgrace and considerable loss of men, horses, and ammunition, yet he so greatly injured it that it was never afterwards repaired,
and remains a noble pile of ruins on the northern bank of the river. (Donnelly, pages 57-58)

The Tyrone countryside appears to have remained considerably dangerous for British settlers after the end of the rebellion.  According to Donnelly,

Many men took to the hills and banded together to raid the colonists’ homes and settlements.  At Tyrone Assizes in Dungannon at one time no fewer than one hundred of these Tories were placed in the dock.  From a return made to the Protestant bishop of Derry on 28th October 1669 we see that Dr. Buttolph, rector of Urney-Ardstraw, in the Deanery of Mohey ‘was constantly resident in the parish till May last, then was frightened away by the Tories’...In the State Papers of 27 March 1667, Sir George Lane writes: ‘In Ulster, several Tories have been tried and executed, particularly in the county of Tyrone’.  On the 3rd June 1668, the Lord Deputy of Ireland and the Council issued a proclamation against the Tories - ‘They appeared in arms against the King’s authority and many of them have committed murders, robberies, and burglaries, stealths and other offences to the terror of the King’s good subjects...they have escaped in woods and mountains, and there  stood upon their keeping so as to be contemners of the laws’.(Donnelly, page 58)

Under these conditions it is understandable that many refugees of the 1640s would never return.  It is unlikely that outsiders could easily be persuaded to settle in
County Tyrone for a considerable period after the 1640s since it was widely believed, whether true or not, that Catholic forces had massacred large numbers of Protestant settlers.  

The1665-6 Hearth Money Roll of Urney and Ardstra Parish lists John Hemphill, Christopher Irvin, and George Hemelton (
Hamilton ) in Learmore Townland.  Like the Irvins, there appears to have been an extended Hemphill family in the vicinity of Castlederg since Edward Hemphill was listed in the Hearth Money Roll of Urney and Ardstraw in Balliliney and James Hemphill was listed in the same roll in More.  Hamilton is one of the most common names among the British settlers in Ulster, but Hemphill is extremely rare.  Of the 13,092 men listed in the muster roll of Ulster circa 1630, only three were named Hemphill.  James Hymphil was listed in the muster of Sir William Hamilton in the Barony of Strabane, County Tyrone, and James and Robert Hemphill were listed on the Ironmongers Proportion in County Londonderry .  The families of the last two seem to have remained in County Londonderry since the 1663 Hearth Money Roll of Coleraine Barony in that county names James Hemphill and Robert Hemphill Junior in Camus Parish and Alexander Hemphill in Aghadowy Parish.  There were no Hemphills in Strabane Barony in the 1665/6 Hearth Money Roll.  It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the Hemphill family of Urney and Ardstraw Parish was probably founded by James Hemphill who was listed in the muster roll of Sir William Hamilton in Strabane Barony about 1630.

Since a boy of sixteen in 1630 would have been fifty-one years of age in 1665, it is possible that one or more of the Irvins listed in the Hearth Money Roll of Urney and Ardstraw Parish in 1665/6 was also listed in the
Ulster muster roll circa 1630.  This may perhaps even be likely if the three households of 1665/6 consisted of a father and two sons.  If short distance moves are to be considered more likely than long distance moves, then it is perhaps most likely that the Irvins listed in Urney and Ardstraw Parish belonged to a family listed in the muster roll of County Tyrone.  Of the nine Irvins listed in Tyrone, only Clogher with five and Strabane with two had more than a single Irvin.  The two Irvins in Strabane Barony were both listed in the muster roll of Sir William Hamilton, whose muster has already been noted as including James Hemphill.  They were Francis Irwin, armed with a sword  and a snaphance, and Christopher Irwin, who was armed with a sword and pike.  James Hymphil was also armed with a sword and pike.  Since Francis Irwin, who had a type of firearm called a snaphance, was better armed than Christopher Irwin, he was possibly older than Christopher Irwin.  There was no other Christopher Irvin listed in the muster roll of County Tyrone .  If Sir William Hamilton’s Christopher Irwin was in Urney and Ardstraw Parish in 1665/6, then Francis Irwin was perhaps likely to have been his father based on the consideration that Christopher Irvin was not likely to have been significantly older than his early or mid twenties circa 1630 and that Francis Irwin was able to arm himself better.  The circumstantial evidence suggests that the Irvin and Hemphill families in Urney and Ardstraw Parish in the 1660s were living on Sir William Hamilton’s lands in Strabane Barony about 1630.  This would suggest that Christopher Irvin of Learmore was the founder of the Irvins of Castlederg, which would support the contention that Christopher Irvin’s family favored the name Christopher in the seventeenth century.

If Christopher Irvin of Learmore was listed in the 1630 muster roll of
County Tyrone , he was unlikely to have been significantly older than the minimum age of sixteen.  His name is therefore unlikely to have appeared in any records before 1630.  The majority of Scottish settlement in Ulster occurred before 1620 (Stevenson, page 11).  Any attempts to connect Christopher Irvin to Scotland would have to make use of the proposed father/son relationship of Francis Irvin and Christopher Irvin.  If Christopher Irvin was born between 1609 and 1614, making him between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one in 1630, then his father would likely have been over sixteen as early as 1605.  Any reference to the name Francis Irvin in Ulster or Scotland between 1600 and 1630 is therefore of interest.

According to the Printed Calendar of Patent Rolls of
Ulster , on 14 July 16th James I (circa 1618) George Erivine and Francis Erwine were pardoned.  The name George Irwin appears seven times in the muster roll of Ulster circa 1630, and the name Francis Irwin appears five times.  However, the names do not appear together in any location.  There is no evidence to suggest that the Francis Erwine who was pardoned was more likely to have been the Francis Irwin listed in Strabane Barony about 1630 than any of the other four men of the same name listed in the Ulster muster roll.  There is also no evidence that the George and Francis Irvin who were pardoned were related, although the fact that they were apparently pardoned together suggests that they were.  If they were in fact related then one or both of them died or left Ireland before 1630, or was simply overlooked in the muster roll.  No other references to the name Francis Irvin have been found in Ulster before 1630. 

Three references have been found in Dumfriesshire in
Scotland that fit the profile developed for the Francis Irvin named in the muster roll of County Tyrone in 1630.  Two of these references show that another Irving family favored the name Francis.  On 27 March 1602 Christopher Irving formerly in Guilielands called "Black Christie" made a charter of lands in the burgh of Annan to his son Edward’s son Francis Irving.(Reid Abstracts Volume 121, Moriquat Charters, 12.)  Another Francie Irving, son of Gilbert Irving of Wysbie, was a fugitive on 26 August 1605 (Register of the Privy Council).  Both Gilbert Irving of Wysbie and "Black Christie" were brothers of Edward Irving of Bonshaw.  "Black Christie" had a son named John Irving who son, another Christopher Irving, purchased the manor of Rossguire in County Fermanagh .  In the 1630 muster roll of County Fermanagh, Christopher Irwin, John Irwin, and Francis Irwin were listed in Mr. Flowerdew’s manor of Rossguire, and William Irwin, James Irwin, and Francis Irwin were listed in Sir Gerard Lowther’s neighboring property which was eventually also purchased by Christopher Irving.  It is likely that the two men named Francis Irwin in the Fermanagh muster roll were relatives of "Black Christie" and Gilbert Irving of Wysbie if they were not in fact their sons.

The third Dumfriesshire reference is dated
24 May 1604/7 , when George Irwing, called Gibb’s George, and Francis Irwing his son were declared to be rebels.  In 1607 Geordie Irwing, called Gibb’s Geordie, John Irwing, called Gibb’s Johnne, and Cristie Irwin, called Gibb’s Cristie were denounced as rebels.  In 1608 George Irwing called Gibb’s Geordie the Rannigald was mentioned.  This Francis Irving is clearly connected to a George Irving as in the Ulster pardon.  Is he likely to have settled in County Tyrone ?

The male name Francis seems to have been something of a novelty in sixteenth century Scotland that can be traced to the marriage in of Queen Mary to Francis, son and heir of the king of Francis, in April 1558.  There were therefore probably few adult males with the name in
Scotland before 1580.  An Act of the Scottish Parliament of 1585 provides a fairly comprehensive list of Irvings in Dumfriesshire. This Act names at least eighty-three Irvings , including two men named Francis Irving, two men named Geordie or George Irving, and five men named Christopher Irving.  Each of the two Francis Irvings were listed with their fathers, suggesting that they were born in the 1560s.  Francie Irving of Gretnahill named in the Act was probably the Francie Irving of Gretnahill executed in 1606.  His father was Walter or Wat Irving, and Wat was a favorite name of the Irvings of Gretnahill.  Mathie or Mathew Irving of Gretnahill was also named in the 1585 Act.  In the 1630 muster roll of the Draper’s Proportion in County Londonderry included Francis Irwin, Walter Irwin, and Mathew Irwin, likely members of the same family.  The large Gretnahill family could have easily produced another Francis Irving over the age of sixteen by 1630 named in honor of Francie Irving of 1585.  The only other Irving family shown to favor the name Francis by the 1585 Act was the Irvings of Kirkpatrick.  Francie Irving of Kirkpatrick had a brother named Walter.  If they were over sixteen years of age in 1585 as is probable, then they were over sixty in 1630 and should not have been listed in a muster of men between the ages of sixteen and sixty.  However, the Irvings of Kirkpatrick should be considered a possible source of the Irwins on the Draper’s Proportion in County Londonderry in 1630.  The Gretnahill and Kirkpatrick Irvings do not appear to have used the names George or Christopher.  Based on the limited evidence for the five men named Francis Irwin in the 1630 Ulster muster roll, Francis Irving, son of Gibb’s George, is perhaps most likely to have settled in County Tyrone or County Down if he in fact did settle in Ulster.  The evidence for the family of Gibb’s George may tend to support the identification with Francis Irwin of County Tyrone .

Also named in the Act of 1585 were "geordie Jon and Christie Irvingis sonis to gib in blakbaksyd".  If the sons of Gibb Irving were young men in their twenties in 1585 as is suggested by their joint reference and their continued activity some twenty-two years later, then a birth date in the 1580s or 1590s is likely for Francis Irving, son of Gibb’s George.  That would mean that Francis Irving was himself a young man in his twenties during the period of time proposed for the birth date of Christopher Irvin of Learmore.  The evidence shows that the names George Irvin and Francis Irvin were relatively rare, and they have only been found in combination in the
Ulster pardon about 1618 and in the father and son combination Gibb’s George Irving and his son Francis Irving about 1607.  If these two combinations represent the same father and son, then the failure of George Irving to appear in the 1630 muster roll after his pardon is understandable.  If he was not already dead in 1630 he would certainly have been over the maximum age for military service of sixty.  If Francis Erwine of the pardon is to also be equated with the Francis Irwin listed in Sir William Hamilton’s muster in Strabane Barony, then theory that Christopher Irvin was his son is supported by the fact that Gibb’s George Irving had a brother with the somewhat rare name of Christopher Irving.

George Irving’s father Gilbert or "Gibb"
Irving was probably an adult in the 1560s or earlier.  The Act of Parliament of 1585 named twenty-two Irvings in Eskdale, the eastern district of Dumfriesshire, including Gibb’s three sons.   Most of these were in the vicinity of Stakehugh, known as "the manor place of Irewyn" - that is, the chief dwelling place on the five pound land of Irving .  In 1528 there is a reference to the "the Irwenes of Staikhugh, to the nombr of vj".  The founder of the Irving family in Eskdale appears to have been David Irwin who was summoned to appear in court in Dumfries in 1504 for the suits of his lands of Irwin and Hegeland.  Since his son John Irving of Skaills seems to have been an adult in 1500, David Irving was probably born in or before the 1450s.  The growth of his family to at least six adults in 1528 and to twenty-two adults in 1585 is not unlikely.  The existence of only thirteen Irving households in Eskdale in the 1691 hearth roll of Dumfriesshire is consistent with the departure of large numbers of Irvings, perhaps including Gibb’s Geordie and his son Francis, for Ulster in the first two decades of the seventeenth century.