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First Generation

1. JOHN IRWIN was born about 1751 in Heighton, England.1 He died before 16 November 1818 at the age of 67 in Clermont County, Ohio.1,2

John Irwin, an Englishman born in Heighton, 23 years of age, is listed among the servants at Northampton Forge, Baltimore Co MD on 3 Apr 1774. Servitude said to have been 4 years. [although I've seen that this service varied, often from 3 to 7 years] There is nothing to indicate how long he might have served. NGSQ, Jun 1975, pp 110-117.
However, I don't know if there is any link that directly ties this servant in Baltimore to the John Irwin living in Cumberland Co PA in 1778. Others have "assumed" this is the same man.

John is given credit in some quarters as having been a Revolutionary Soldier, stating he served from Cumberland County, 5th Regt. There are a number of muster rolls and pay roll cards available on for a John Irwin, Irvin, Irvine, Erwin - in some cases these various spellings are included in one file. None of these, or any information about the 5th Regt that I could find online suggests that this unit was from Cumberland Co. The man, or men, who served in the 5th Regiment were often away under the command of Daniel Morgan; he definitely commanded the rifle corps often called "Morgan's Rifles". However, found in the Pennsylvania Archives, 5th Series, Vol. III, p.80, there were several men of similar name:
John Irvine, came from Wayne's 4th Battalion where he served one year, served three years in the 5th Regt, resided in Huntingdon Co, was age 84 in 1835.
John Irwin, resided in Dauphin County [adjacent to Cumberland Co] in 1834, aged 104
From one of the Pay Rolls: A John Erwin, enlisted at Bethlehem, in Feb of 1778 and was a Camp Valley Forge in June of that year.
Unfortunately the above rolls and pay rolls cards do not necessarily overlap making it that more difficult to figure out which John is which.
I also found a Rejected Pension file at HeritageQuest for a John Irvin who entered the service at Carlisle, PA and was then living in Clermont Co, Ohio. This application is practically unreadable but was made on 24 Nov 1836. The man did sign his own name, plainly as Irvin, but it is filed under Irwin. He could not prove six months of service. He had served under a Capt. John Hughes. [Hughes command was in the 6th Battalion, later the 1st PA Regt.]
None of these, not even the Rejected Pension, seem to be applicable to this particular John Irwin from Cumberland Co PA, who later did live in Clermont Co, Ohio, because he was deceased in 1818.

Pennsylvania Archives, Fifth Series, Volume VI
"Muster Rolls Relating to the Associators & Militia of the County of Cumberland"
has no reference to a John Irwin, Irwine, or Irvine.
There was a Jn'o Irvin in Capt McClellans Co, Class Third, called up in 1780 and a Pvt. John Irvin on Capt. James Irvin's Pay Roll from 22nd Aug - 22 Oct 1780, and Pvt. John & Edward Irvin both were on a Pay Roll list of Capt. James Horrell, Volunteers of the 7th Battalion against the Indians 15-25 August 1782. James, Robert & Christopher Irvin were all called up in the 8th Company of the 7th Battalion on 12 Mar 1782. Since there are so many with the surname Irvin, and not Irwin, I suspect this is a different family entirely.

The following is the first record that I believe to conclusively refer to this John Irwin. Later records will confirm that his wife was Eleanor and that he had been a saddler by trade.
I do not know how John acquired this house and lot:
Cumberland Co PA Deed Book Vol.E, p.258
21 Dec 1778. John Irwin of the Town of Carlisle, Cumberland Co, Commonwealth of PA and Eleanor his wife to Thomas Reed of Carlisle, mason. 50 £ lawful money of PA. Messuage House and lot on the South side Pomfret Street in Carlisle bounded on the East where William Cochran lately dwelt and on the West by a lot late belonging to Thomas Parks. Signed John [his X mark] Ervins and Ellender [her X mark] Ervins. Witness: John Diven, Nathan Nelson. Received 50 £ in payment. Signed John [his X mark] Irwin. Teste: John Creigh. Eleanor examined apart from her husband and executed same. Rec. 24 Dec 1778.
[In law, the term messuage equates to a dwelling-house and includes outbuildings, orchard, curtilage or court-yard and garden - the word has been interpreted incorrectly by at least one researcher to indicate John and Eleanor owned a "mansion". Even had it said mansion, the home was often referred to in old deeds as the "mansion house" which basically just meant the owner's home whether small or grand.]

Found in Pennsylvania Archives, Third Series, Volume 20, which is primarily tax records from Cumberland County, reveals some interesting items, but certainly isn't conclusive regarding the John above, who owned a lot in Carlisle. I have underlined those I believe to certainly have been John.
"First State Tax for the year 1778"
p. 22 John Irwin, declared 1 horse, 1 cow. John Creigh, Esq. from the deed of 1778 was listed, too, as was Thomas Reed in this list from Carlisle. [I would think this one most likely does refer to this John.]
Hamilton Twp
p.55 John Irwin, 85 acres, 2 horses, 2 cows, tax - 10.11.0 I have been unable to discover what township Carlisle was actually located in, if indeed it wasn't considered a "township" in itself. I have no clue if this could be same man, presumably not since his livestock holdings are not the same. Certainly the deed from Cumberland proves that John & Eleanor did live in the town of Carlisle. Although there is a column for acreage in the Carlisle listing, there's never any shown. Does this mean, they worked or lived in town, but had property elsewhere? As he appears later with additional acreage, I suspect this is a different man.
Milford Twp
p.78 John Irwine, 1 cow. Presumably this is another and different family. There is a Christopher, a James Sr & Jr, and a William that are consistently listed in these records in Milford Twp. Some years as Irwin. Certainly the name was not unique.
"Supply Rates for Cumberland County, 1779"
p.123, Freemen
Robert Irwin, 3.0.0 [could not be our "Robert" - he hasn't been born]
John Irwin, 3.10.0
p.135 Carlisle (1779)
William Irwin, Gen'l., 2 cows, 1 Negro
William Irwin, storekeeper
John Irwin, saddler, 1 horse, 1 cow [John's will mentions his saddler's tools, it would make sense for him to have a town lot, and probably a shop]
Others in Carlisle in 1779 were John "Chreigh", John Devon, William Divon, and Thomas Reed
p.177 Hamilton Twp
John Irwin, 150 acres, 2 horses, 3 cows
"Supply Rates for Cumberland County, 1780"
p.268 Carlisle
William Irwin, Genl. 2 horses, 4 cows, 1 Negro
John Irwin, Saddler, 2 horses, 2 cows
William Irwin, storekeeper, 1 horse 1 cow
p.313 Hamilton Township
John Irwin, 330 acres, 2 horses, 2 cows [I doubt my "John" ever owned this much land.]
p.354 Freemen
John Irwin 15.0.0
"Transcripts and Taxables for Cumberland County, 1781"
p.393 Freemen
Robert Irwin, 40.0.0
p.405 Carlisle
John "Irvin", saddler, 1 horse, 3 cows
William Irwin, Genl. 3 horses, 4 cows, 1 Negro
William "Irvin", shopkeeper, 1 horse, 1 cow [a William Irwin, Jr & Sr also are taxed for land in Lurgan Twp]
again, various men of this or similar surnames are present in other townships
"Transcripts and Taxables for Cumberland County, 1782"
p.549 Carlisle
John Irwin, Saddler, 2 horses, 2 cows
William Irwin, General 3 horses, 4 cows, 1 Negro
William Irwin, s-keeper, 1 horse, 1 cow
p.616 Milford Twp
Edward Irwin, no acres, 2 horses, 1 cow
John Irwin, no acres, 1 horse, 1 cow
and the following: Christopher, James, & James, Jr., all landholders
Book skips to "Transcripts and Taxables for Cumberland County, 1785" and this is the last list:
all are listed as "Irwine" in this section and no John appears
p.698 Carlisle
only William Irwine, General with 2 horses, 2 cows [the shop keeper and saddler seem to be gone]
p.739 Milford Twp
again there is James Sr & Jr, a Christopher, and a Robert Irwine
p.743 Freemen
Robert Irwine, Dr. 10.0

On Google Books:
Cumberland County Pennsylvania Church Records of the 18th Century, by F. Edward Wright.
Chapter on Big Springs Presbyterian Church taken from "Big Springs Presbyterian Church", Newville, PA, 1737-1898 by Gilbert Ernest Swope, Newville, PA, James Steam Printing House, 1898.
Communion Lists, 1789
p.34 - David Ralston's District
James Irwin
Isabel Irwin
John Irwin
Mary Irwin
Mary Irwin
Eleanor Irwin

My note:
The majority of those listed on the Communion Lists had a number which appeared to be their age - the Irwins did not. This was just a list of names with no detail other than the numbers beside most. I would love to see the original! I do know this church is still in existence in Cumberland Co in Newville. The fact that it was Presbyterian pretty much says that the Irwins were likely Scots-Irish which I already suspected. If the date as 1789 actually does apply to all those on the list, then it would certainly place the family in Cumberland much later than any other record.

I did find that there were several John Irwins in Pennsylvania, one in particular who was a Lt., then Capt, then Col. and lived in Westmoreland Co. I also saw that there were Irwins in Cumberland Co as early as 1755.

A couple of items that came up on Google Books out of the Pennsylvania Archives series, Vol. 14, could apply to our John, but there's no way to be sure.
Oath of Allegiance 1777-8 before the Justices of the Peace of Cumberland Co.
p.463 John Irwin Feb. 26, 1778
And another. Capt. George Hays, Militia of Cumberland County. In service, Sept 12, 1782- Nov 14, 1782
p.453 listed a John Irwin

1790 Census. Pennsylvania. There were a number of John Irwins living in Pennsylvania, but only one in Cumberland Co.
From Hopewell, Newton, Tyborn, and Westpensboro:
John Irwin 2 white males over 16, 2 white males under 16, 1 white female.
John's daughter Mary, married a Fisher. There was a Tobias Fisher enumerated next to John Irwin in 1790.

John Irvin appears to be on the 1800 Fleming Co KY Tax List as found online. [Second Census of Kentucky on] There is no federal census for Kentucky for 1790 or 1800, only what has been reconstructed from tax lists. There is a John Irvin in five counties, to include Fleming Co and then a John Irwin in Fleming Co, one in Nelson Co, and a John Irwin Jr. also in Nelson Co. Since there is no family information, it is not possible to make any conclusions.
and in
Cumberland Co PA; there is also still a John Irwin: He had 2 males under 10 and one male age 26-45; 3 females under 10 and one female age 26-45. This could be John Irwin, Jr. the son, IF he did not go to Kentucky. Again, there were many John Irwins in Pennsylvania. It is also possible that this is the John Irwin of the Rejected Revolutionary Pension file, who was later of Clermont Co, Ohio.

John's son Robert reports being born in Virginia, circa 1787, so perhaps the family lived for a time in Virginia before moving to Kentucky - or perhaps they had moved to Kentucky prior to 1792 when all of Kentucky was still part of Virginia.

Clermont Co, Ohio; Deed Book A, pp.140-141
1 Sep 1801. William Lyttle and Eliza N. Lyttle his wife of Clermont Co, NorthWest Territory, the river Ohio, to John Irwin of Fleming Co KY. For $340. Beginning at Samuel Colemans West corner ...crossing a branch of Crain Run ..Samuel Colemans line ...crossing the Main branch of Crain Run. 165 acres patented to William Lyttle. Signed: William Lyttle, Eliza N.Lyttle. Witness: William Perry, Owen Todd. Owen Todd also Court Justice. Rec. 22 Nov 1801.
On the same day the Lyttles sold to Jacob Burnett a Lot in the Town of Williamsburgh, generally designated as Lot 262.

The same deed was written again, nine years later. I'm not sure what was wrong with the original deed but apparently there was a problem. The neighbors had changed.
17 Oct 1810 William Lytle and Eliza N. his wife of Hamilton Co, Ohio to John Irwin of Clermont Co. For $330, a parcel in Clermont Co. on the waters of the east Fork of the Miami River. Begin corner to Daniel Snell and with his line; David Snell and with his line; corner to John Trout and with his line; corner to Absalom Smith and with his line; another of his lines; corner of Theodore Malotte and with his line to the beginning. 160 acres and 21 poles. Same land intended to convey to John Irwin on 1 Sep 1801, recorded in DB A. Signed by William Lytle, Eliza N. Lytle
Witness: Thos. Danby, Ethan Stone
5 Sep 1811. Acknowledged by William Lytle; Eliza examined privately.

Although Ohio became a state in 1803, the census for 1810 has been lost. There is the 1810 Tax List for Clermont Co online at <>
It lists both a John Irwin and a Robert Irwin there in 1810.
There are also earlier tax lists - a John Irwin and John Irwin Jr. were taxed in Clermont Co in 1806 [if this is indeed a father and son, then John Jr. did not remain in Pennsylvania]; John Irwin and Robert Irwin in 1809.

The Clermont Co Ohio webpage had this:
A John Irwin of Clermont is listed as having a Rejected Revolutionary Pension for not having served six months. As stated above, I did find this pension on Heritage Quest and this particular John Irwin was still living in 1834 and had served under Capt. John Hughes.

Death date as sometimes seen appears to be the date the Will was proved in Court. The will is dated 29 Feb 1808. So John died prior to 16 Nov 1818, the day the Will was proved, not likely on that day.
Ester is the wife named in John's Will, but he had been married to Eleanor, who is also named.

Clermont Co, Ohio; Will Book B, p.244f
Nov Term, 1818: Last Will & Testament of John Irwin produced and proved by John Trout and Absalom Smith, witness thereto, 16 Nov 1818.
Dated 29 Feb 1808. 1st: pay funeral expenses and just debts (if any). 2nd: unto wife Esther Irwin 50 acres of land including the dwelling house. Laid off ...Crane Run; line of Theodore Malott. 2nd: unto daughter Eleanor Irwin 50 acres adjoining land of Theodore Malott, Absalom Smith, wife Esther. If she dies or marries before age 18, the said 50 acres to be divided equally between my son Robert Irwin and my daughter Mary Fisher. 3rd: unto my son Robert Irwin all the rest of my lands, 65 acres which together with the before mentioned land was conveyed to me by William Lyttle and Eliza N. his wife by Deed dated 1 Sep 1801. Personal Property: to my son Robert Irvin, one cow, one feather bed & bedding being the bed which belonged to my former wife Eleanor, all my carpenter & saddlers tools and the cross cut saw. To said wife Ester all the rest of my personal estate. Desire that my daughter Eleanor should live with her mother free of expense until she is 18 years unless the said Eleanor should marry before that time. My friend William Hunter to be executor. Signed: John [his X mark] Irwin. Signed, sealed & declared & published as the LW&T of John Irwin Senr. in presence of us: R. Waring, Hilery B. Walker, John [his X mark] Trout, Absolom Smith. William Hunter was named Executor and entered into $700 bond; Absalom Smith & Robert Dickey his securities.

Esther may be the older woman living in the household of Robert Irwin in the 1820, Clermont Co, Ohio, Census.

Robert sold his share of his father's land for $200. This was in 1822; he was living in Brown Co, Ohio.
On 1 Apr 1822, Robert & Mary Irwin sold 66 acres and 97 poles, part of a tract conveyed to John Irwin, dec'd by William Lyttle, 17 Aug 1810 [deed in notes above]. Crane Run is mentioned.

JOHN IRWIN and ELEANOR [IRWIN] were married before December 1778 in Pennsylvania. ELEANOR [IRWIN] was born (date unknown).

Will of John Irwin mentions his former wife Eleanor. Since he leaves to his son Robert, the bed and bedding which belonged to her, it appears Eleanor was Robert's mother.

JOHN IRWIN and ELEANOR [IRWIN] had the following children:






John IRWIN2 was born about 1780.1

When John Irwin wrote his Will in 1808, he did not mention a son John. However, he called himself John Irwin, Sen. It would certainly seem there was a younger John Irwin in the community. Both a John Irwin and a John Irwin, Jr. were listed on the 1806 tax list, assuring me that there were two men of this name, but not necessarily indicating they were father and son.

Carlisle, Cumberland Co PA, there was still a John Irwin in 1800: He had 2 males under 10 and one male age 26-45; 3 females under 10 and one female age 26-45. Given the age, this could be the son, John, if he did not go to Kentucky at the same time as his father.

1810 Cumberland Co PA. John Irvin in Rye Twp. John Irvine in Tyrone Twp.
1820, Cumberland Co PA. Two John Irvines. One John Irwin.

In 1820 in Clermont, Ohio, there was also a John Irvin, Goshen Twp. He had 1m under 10, 1m 16-18, 2 m 16-26, and one male over 45 [or born before 1775 - seems a bit too old]. 3 f under 10, 2f 10-16, and 2 f 26-45. I believe it quite likely this is the following:
A John Irwin of Clermont is listed as having a Rejected Revolutionary Pension for not have served six months. I did find this pension on Heritage Quest and this particular John Irwin [or IRVIN] was still living in 1834 and had served under Capt. John Hughes. If he was younger, than the John Irwin of my research would very likely have been referred to as the "Senior" John Irwin in the area.

Two John IRWINs were found in 1830 in Clermont:
One in New Richmond. 1m 30-40, 1m 60-70. 1f 10-15, 1f 60-70
One in Goshen Twp. 2m -5, 1m 5-10, 1m 10-15, 1m 20-30, 1m 50-60. 1f 5-10, 1f 10-15, 1f 15-20, 1f 40-50

The name is so common and the spellings so varied, I doubt any success in positively identifying a John Irwin, Jr.




JOHN IRWIN and Ester [IRWIN] were married by perhaps 1804 in probably Ohio. Ester [IRWIN] was born (date unknown).

Ester outlived John Irwin as evidenced by his Will. In 1820 she may have been living with her stepson Robert Irwin:
1820, Williamsburg, Clermont Co Ohio.
Robert Irwin, 1m under age 10. 1m 26-45. 1f 16-26. 1f over age 45. [Possibly Robert's stepmother Esther?]

JOHN IRWIN and Ester [IRWIN] had the following children:



Eleanor IRWIN was born in 1806 in Ohio.2

Eleanor was a young child when father John wrote his will. He desired that she live with her mother until age 18 & gave her 50 acres of land provided she had not married by that age.

Clermont Co, Ohio, Marriage Book 2, p.367
Eleanor Irwin married Henry Willis, 19 Mar 1831, by William Simmons

In 1830, a Henry Willis was in Tate, Clermont Co, OH, but he was age 60-70, his spouse age 50-60.

1840, Jackson Twp, Clermont Co, OH
Henry Willis: 1m under 5, 1m 15-20, 1m age 40-50. 1f under 5, 1f 5-10, 1f age 30-40

1850 Census. Jackson Twp, Clermont Co, OH
Henry Willis, age 52, b. KY
Elanor, age 44, b. Ohio
Eliza J. age 16, William H. 14, Mary E. age 11, James M. 8, Margarett 5, Ross W., age 5 months.

1860 Census. Marathon P.O., Jackson Twp, Clermont Co, OH Hh 428
Eleanor Willis, age 54, b. Ohio
Eliza J. age 26, William H. age 24, Mary E., age 21, Margaret M. age 15, Ross W., age 10.

I did not find the family in 1870.