The Irwins of Orange

My mother Patricia Devereaux Irwin Towner received a letter in 1964 from her oldest sister Agnes, which included ancestry information gathered by their nephew Bill Irwin (my cousin) for a high school English class project he submitted in 1960. Bill’s mother Wilma put a lot of this information together for the family, which Agnes included in her 1964 letter to Mother. I took the information in this post mostly from Bill Irwin’s project; although, in some cases, I used dates which I uncovered in my own ancestry research. I also took information regarding Henry Jackson McCord from a letter written by my mother’s brother Hal. I have condensed this information into what I hope is a somewhat easily digestible recap. Per Bill Irwin:

The Irwins came of Orange stock, their ancestors coming from the sandy banks of the River Irvine, County Ayr, Scotland (west coast), to aid the Prince of Orange in Ireland. (After 1688)

Orange Order


Lt J. Burrowes
Lieut. Johnston Burrowes

My great-great-great-grandparents:
LT. JOHNSTON BURROWES (1780-1818) and

Lieut. Burrowes was born in 1780. He married Marie Devereaux in 1800. The following is an interesting excerpt from Bill Irwin’s information sent to Mother in 1960: Irwin ancestry Earl of Essex by Bill Irwin


Alexander Irwin
Alexander Irwin

My great-great grandparents:
ALEXANDER IRWIN (1798-1883) and

Alexander Irwin was the only son of Christopher (1773-1805) and Eliza Middleton (1778-1805). He was born in County of Sligo, Province of Connaught, Ireland. He married Frances Burrowes (Burrows, Burras) in 1820, daughter of Lieut. Johnston Burras of the 47th Regiment of Foot, of the British Army. [47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot]  After his wife died, Alexander lived with the youngest of his eleven children, Henry Devereaux Irwin, of Artemesia, Ontario.



GrGrandma Irwin 60 yrs 1930 a
Alice Rutledge Irwin, age 60; blind from macular degeneration; 1895

My great-grandparents
ALEXANDER IRWIN (1832-1895) and
ALICE RUTLEDGE (1835-1930):

Alexander Irwin was born in the great cholera year in the Town of Sligo, County Connaught, Ireland. He was adventurous, and the family watched him closely fearing he would run off to sea, which he did more than once. In March 1850, Alexander, Alice, and family set sail for Canada from Greenock, Scotland, in the merchant ship Malabar. Three weeks at sea, the ship became trapped in a field of ice. There were abundant seal, but they had no means to catch them. They made it to Quebec in April. They continued up the St. Lawrence, eventually reached Toronto, then moved to Weston, where they lived for two years. They took government land in Artemesia – 100 acres for Alexander and 100 acres for each of his five sons.

According to my cousin Bill Irwin’s research, Alexander (the younger) was a great story-teller, had an infectious laugh, and liked to sketch and make rhymes. He had black hair, a red beard, fair skin, blue eyes which changed to gray when he was depressed, and a nose which became rather aquiline as he grew older.

Alice Rutledge’s parents were from Ireland. They migrated to Canada, and Alice was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1835. Alexander and Alice married in 1853. They moved to Kansas in 1883 and bought land and cattle.


My great-grandparents:

Henry Jackson McCord was 22 years old when he decided to make his fortune in the gold fields of California. He engaged passage on a sailing vessel in 1849 and, after many months of harrowing experiences (including sailing around the treacherous Cape Horn), arrived in California in 1850. He kept a journal of his voyage, the original of which was, in 1970, being preserved by Mrs. Eleanor Whitney of Manhattan, Kansas. She is the daughter of William Bogart McCord, my grandmother’s oldest brother. He apparently did not strike it rich in California and returned home to Ohio. When the Civil War broke out, he helped organize the 111th Ohio Volunteer Regiment and became a captain of one of its companies. He married Rachel Elizabeth Howell after the war ended and after several years of farming and teaching, and they moved to Kansas. They took up a homestead and an adjoining timber claim near Manhattan and began to raise a family. Their oldest daughter was my grandmother Mary Amelia McCord, born May 16, 1876.


My grandparents:
WILLIAM (WILL) HENRY IRWIN (1863-1957) and

My mother was the baby of seven children, listed in birth order: Agnes McCord (1897-1981), Fred Alexander (1898-1991), Lora Rachel (1900-2000), Henry (Hal) Francis (1902-1978), William Wesley (1905-1994), Alice Mary (1909-1996), and my mother Patricia Deveraux (1912-2005). My cousin Phyllis said Lora developed meningitis (or maybe some other severe fever) when she was about two or three years old, and her mind never developed after that. I’m not sure when Lora was admitted into a care facility, but that is where she was living when she died in 2000. Lora lived longer than any of her siblings. She would have been 100 years old later in 2000.

Bill Irwin wrote that Kansas was in a building boom in the 1880s and that Will worked seven years in a planing mill in Salina and later a year in Denver. He was working in Manhattan when he married Mary Amelia (Mayme) McCord. Almost everyone called my grandmother Mayme, except my grandfather, who always called her Mary. She was the daughter of Captain Henry Jackson McCord and Rachel Elizabeth Howell. They moved to Iola, Kansas, after the birth of their first child Agnes McCord Irwin. After the birth of their fourth child, Henry Francis (Hal), Will and a lumberman from Manhattan bought a sawmill near Cauthron, Arkansas, and the family moved there. Mayme taught Agnes at home beginning in first grade, because the schools were so bad there. My grandfather contracted malaria sometime during this period. They moved back to Manhattan, then to Wichita, where Will worked in a planing mill. Will was offered a better job by Correll Planing Mill in Manhattan, and they moved back there. In 1917, Will went to work using his expert lathe skills at Kansas State Agricultural College and stayed until his retirement about 1950. He loved his work at the school.

The Will Irwins bought eleven acres on Wildcat Creek southwest of Manhattan in 1913 and lived there until my grandfather’s death in 1957. After my grandfather Irwin died, my grandmother took turns every six months living in Dallas with us and living in Kansas with my mother’s sister Agnes. My grandmother fell and broke her hip while in Kansas and was admitted into a nursing home there, which is where she was living when she died on March 20, 1964. She was almost 88.

One thought on “The Irwins of Orange

  1. towneraccordingtotina April 1, 2016 / 9:19 am

    Regarding “The Irwins of Orange” post: I found a note in the file that my mother’s sister Lora did have spinal meningitis when she was two years old, which retarded her mental development. She lived at home with her parents until she was admitted into a care facility in the mid-1950s. – tina


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