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Riverside County










            William Gage Irving, numbered among the most prominent attorneys in southern California and enjoying a position of distinction in professional circles as one of the best informed men in the state on the subject of water problems, maintains well appointed offices in the Evans Block in Riverside, where he has been continuously engaged in practice during the past thirty-six years.  He was born at Kingston, Ontario, Canada, May 16, 1870, his parents being William and Eliza (Gage) Irving, the latter a sister of Matthew Gage, deceased, whose career is reviewed at length elsewhere in this work.

            William Irving, the father of William G. Irving, was closely identified with the constructive enterprises that developed the rich horticultural area around Riverside.  He was born near Annandale, Dumfries, Scotland, in 1833, the son of William and Elizabeth (Browe) Irving.  At the age of twelve years, in company with his parents, he crossed the Atlantic to Kingston, Canada, where he received his education as a civil engineer.  Until his father’s death in 1874, he was associated with him in the designing and erection of many of the public and collegiate buildings which distinguish Kingston among Canadian cities.  In 1881 he organized and became president and manager of the Kingston Car Works.  He was chosen a member of the city council of Kingston, Ontario, and made a most commendable record in his aldermanic capacity.  In 1887 on the invitation of Matthew Gage, Mr. Irving came to Riverside, California, to act as engineer of the Gage Canal System.  Under his direction the Gage Canal was constructed from the Terquisquito Arroyo to its present terminus and Arlington Heights was laid out in its present form.  Later, upon the organization of the Riverside Trust Company, Limited, in 1890, which company acquired Mr. Gage’s interest in Arlington Heights and the Gage Canal he became the engineer of that company.  Immediately following the organization of the Riverside Trust Company the planting of Arlington Heights was begun and continued until upwards of five thousand acres of desert were converted into prolific citrus groves.  Mr. Irving became manager of the company in 1894 and continued to act as such until the year 1901 and thereafter as consulting manager until his death.  In 1901 Mr. Irving was requested by the United States government to make an investigation and report upon irrigation practice in southern California.  Upon this work he was engaged at the time of his death, which occurred September 23, 1904.  He was a trustee of the Presbyterian Church and took an active part in its work.  A contemporary biographer wrote:  “Mr. Irving was widely read in all branches of literature.  His chief pleasure, however, was found in philosophical and scientific studies, and in the discussion of such subjects.  Of a clear and logical mind, he followed the course of reason with relentless precision, regardless of the results to generally accepted dogma.  The solution of the problems of life in the light of truth was everything to him, and no demand of expediency could cause him to hesitate in putting his decisions into action.”

            In 1867 at Kingston, Canada, William Irving married Eliza Gage, who was born in Coleraine, Ireland, in 1839, the daughter of James and Margaret (Orr) Gage.  Mr. and Mrs. William Irving had a family of six children, all of whom are still living, namely:  Elizabeth Browe, who in 1897 became the wife of John M. Mylne, successor of Mr. Irving as engineer of the Gage Canal System; Margaret Eva, who in 1901 became the wife of Stewart E. Malloch, of Hamilton, Canada; Kathleen, the wife of Edward W. Trevelyan; William Gage, of this review; Robert M., who is engaged in horticulture; and J. Norman, who is engaged in the bond business in Riverside as a member of the firm of Irving & Conrad.

            William G. Irving, whose name introduces this article, was reared and educated in Kingston, Canada, attending the Collegiate Institute, and received his more advanced intellectual training as a student at the University of Queens College in Kingston, from which he was graduated with the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1893.  Coming to California, he was admitted to the bar in 1896 and took up the work of his chosen profession in Riverside, where he has practiced throughout the intervening period of more than a third of a century and has built up an extensive and gratifying clientage.  He has won an enviable reputation for his comprehensive understanding of California’s water problems, specializing in litigation of this character, and his practice is state-wide.  He represents the cities of Santa Barbara, Pasadena, Riverside and many other important communities as attorney in water cases, served as referee in bankruptcy by federal appointment for five years and was city attorney of Riverside for seven years.

            Mr. Irving gives his political support to the Democratic Party and is deeply interested in government affairs.  During his early youth in Canada, he served a private in C Company, Princess of Wales Own Rifles.  When the United States became involved in the World War he turned over his office force and his entire time to the Red Cross chapter of Riverside, of which he was chairman, and to the Food Administration, which he represented in Riverside County.  He served as a member of the board of education in Riverside.  Appreciative of the social amenities of life, he belongs to numerous clubs, including the California Club of Los Angeles, University Club of Los Angeles, the Presidio Golf Club of San Francisco and the Victoria Country Club of Riverside.

            On the 19th of February, 1913, in Los Angeles, Mr. Irving was united in marriage to Maude Louise, daughter of Matthew Gage, whose biography, as previously stated, may be found in another part of this publication.




Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: California of the South Vol. III, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 211-214, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles,  Indianapolis.  1933.

© 2012  V. Gerald Iaquinta.