Family Stories

Isaac Shelby Irvine Biography

from Kentucky – A History of the State, Perrin, 1887

Madison County, Kentucky

Isaac Shelby Irvine was born June 19, 1827, in Danville, Kentucky, and is the first of two sons and two daughters:  David, Isaac S., Sarah and Elizabeth, born to David and Susan (McDowell) Irvine.  David Irvine was born near Richmond in October, 1796.  He was a prosperous farmer and about 1812 became county and circuit clerk, which office he filled until the change in the constitution in 1852.  He was an officer on General Green Clay’s staff in the War of 1812, and has also represented his county in the popular branch of the Legislature for several terms, also served in the Senate two terms.  He was a strong and conscientious advocate of the Union in the recent great conflict and had considerable estates in Kentucky and Mississippi at his death in 1872.  He was a son of Colonel William Irvine, who was born in Roanoke County, Virginia; came to Madison County, Kentucky, soon after Boone, participated in Estill’s defeat, where he was badly wounded and carried home by Joe Proctor.  William Irvine was one of the members of the State Constitutional Convention in 1799 and was the first county and circuit clerk of Madison, which offices he filled until after his death about the beginning of the War of 1812.  His son, Christopher, was appointed to fill the vacancy.  Christopher shortly after raised a company and entered General Green Clay’s command, and at the Battle of Fort Meigs was killed.  David, the father of I. Shelby Irvine, was then appointed to fill the offices left vacant.  The Irvine family filled the county and circuit clerks’ office from the organization of the county up to the change of the constitution in 1852.  William Irvine married Elizabeth Hockady, of Clark County, a daughter of William Hockady.  To this happy union seven children were born and reared as follows:  Christopher, David, Adam, Edmond, Albert, Patsie and Amelia.  From these spring many of the most prominent and wealthy families of Kentucky.  The Irvines were of Scotch-Irish descent and were all strong Whigs in politics.  Susan (McDowell) Irvine was born in Danville and was a daughter of Dr. Ephraim McDowell, who was one of the most distinguished surgeons of his day.  He had married Sarah Shelby, a daughter of Governor Isaac Shelby.  Isaac Shelby Irvine was reared in Danville, where he received his preliminary education; afterward attended Transylvania University and graduated from Bethany College, Virginia, in 1846, since which he has turned his attention to farming and has made a specialty of fine Jack stock.  He has a beautiful farm three miles north of Richmond; also owns a large cotton plantation in Louisiana.  He now resides in Richmond, where he has erected on of the finest residences in the county.  In April, 1871, he was united in marriage to Betty Hood, a native of Carroll Parish, Louisiana, and daughter of Gooy and Ann (Chandler) Hood, who were natives of Marion County, Kentucky.  There is no issue from this union.  Mrs. Irvine is a member of the Episcopal Church.  Mr. Irvine’s first presidential vote was cast for General Taylor, but since 1860 he has affiliated with the Democratic Party.

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