(By Dr. Adrian Irvine)

It must be noted here that Dr Adrian Irvine compiled his facts from a few sources of which this webmaster is trying to gain access to such books. In the mean time, it must be noted that The Irvings of Bonshaw had at least two separate branches. One being the Castle Irvine Branch and the other was the House of Drum Branch. This Drum Branch is were Dr Adrian Irvine as well as myself, William H. K. Irvine, descend from. Furthermore, the two Houses were joined by a cousinly marriage of unfounded evidence. As quoted by Adrian, "Likewise, still in a haze is the remoteness of cousinly relationship of our "John of Camgart" to Sir Christopher, Bart., founder of the Castle Irvine Line – as well as the revelation in the will of John, of Camgart, of Capt. Gerard Irvine being a "brother-in-law". (To speculate a bit – the enigma could be resolved if a brother to John of Camgart had married a sister of Alice Forster, wife to Gerard --- or if a brother or sister of his wife Rebecca had married a sister or brother of Alice. Take your choice --- I’m for letting sleeping dogs lie.)"

It is a historical fact that James VI of Scotland became James I of England following the death of Queen Elizabeth. Also that this James I was known to have aided the Covenanters of Scotland in their efforts to have the Presbyterian faith prescribed for all Scotland, England, and Ireland. Also that such aid took the form of land grant in north Ireland and America to be colonized by these persecuted followers. Hence, the predominance of this faith in Ulster Province, Ireland, the settlement in America of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607 and the Massachusetts Colony in 1620. The specific date of this particular grant of land to the first Sir Christopher Irvine in Ireland has now been found as officially of record as having occurred in 1613.

Final disposition of this estate from James I may be of interest:

(By a special cable to the Cleveland Press and Plain Dealer, in 1943 or 1944.)


"Dublin, Ireland, March 25. The Irvine Estate, co. Fermanagh, is in the Irish Land Court for sale, and the vendors are also willing to sell the town of Irvines—town which is on the Estate, and from which a revenue of $5000.00 yearly is derived. Irvinestown was founded by Sir Christopher Irvine, a Scottish barrister, who received a grant of an Estate in co. Fermanagh from James I, of England. Irvine Castle was built by him, destroyed by fire by the Rebels in 1641, was finally restored by Sir Christopher prior to his death in 1666."

John W. Love visited Enniskillen, Irvinestown, and Castle Irvine in 1919 reporting that the then owner had recently died and his widow as living in Paris.

The original Sir Christopher Irvine in Ireland, known to be a descendant of the House of Bonshaw, Irving, came from Dumfriesshire, Scotland, was proprietor of Robgill and Annan, was reputed to be a barrister of the Temple, London, and was ancestor to the Irvines of Enniskillen and Rockfield, co. Fermanagh, Baronets. He was married to his cousin Blanche in 1615, daughter of Edward Irving, Laird of Stapleton (an Irving of the Bonshaw Line).

Many of the descendants have scattered to four corners of the world – Burke (known source to Dr Adrian Irvine) listed them in Victoria, New South Wales, New Zealand, Australia – but nary a mention of one in the House of Drum line who came to America and partook of the Revolutionary War, nor one Thommas who married a Jane Sproule (whose ancestry is traceable back to a marriage ceremony in or near Enniskillen in 1688) and beget at least one daughter (becoming Mrs. Mathew Thompson – great great grandmother to John W. Love and great great aunt to Irvine Thompson Holloway) and a son Thomas – the emigree founder of my particular line in America. (by Dr Adrian Irvine)

As if it were a last look at this famous [Irvine] Castle, built and burned and re-built by Sir Christopher of the Castle Irvine Branch, here is an extracted bit of lore from a letter from Irvine T. Holloway to his distant cousin John W. Love. ( Two contributors of Adrian Irvine's research)

25 May 1944

"Cousin Annie Meyers of Mt. Vernon… and her family were the last of the family to reside in Castle Irvine, which was located on Lough Erne. I always understood the father was somewhat of a sportsman and spendthrift, and the mother and children departed, coming to America. Whether they were some of those who Grandfather Thompson helped across, I do not know."

((This Annie Meyers was a grandchild via the last child of Martha (Mrs. Mathew Thompson above.) Her father was Henry Irvine - a grand cousin to Elizabeth Dunlap, wife of Annie’s uncle Irvine Thompson. Elizabeth’s grandmother being a sister to this Henry’s grandfather. No discovered linkage of these Irvines to Castle nor Camgart lineage.))

So far this recital has been a long-winded one, the more so in considering the fact that much of it is irrelevant - for to date (1950) there has been found no substantiation to the handed-down tales and apparently misinformed recordings that the brothers Gen’l William, Major Andrew, and Dr. Mathew were within the Castle Irvine lineage – nor closely connected to the line of our specific Thommas Irvine.

The remainder of this recital it is hoped will be more definitely circumstantial, though much that is speculative must of necessity be interwoven with the cataloguing of names and events from the innumerable scraps of information derived from so many sources. It remains still a hope to secure authentic enlightenment on the personalities these names represent. But time passes, and sources of personal knowledge are so few and scattered. Making matters worse these few seem unable or loath to search their memories – even more so to express what memories do recur.

Copies and extracts of some few letters between early cousins are included where expedient. Now that the writers have departed I deem no confidences are betrayed. The gossipy implications and sometimes inaccuracies are the sole providers of what nature of man started our line on this continent. Likewise do they raise the doubt that he bore any near relationship to any clan of noble strain and reputation. Rather do they confirm the belief that this man [Thommas], in keeping with so many of the early emigrees, sought escape from unacceptable family or economic or political circumstances. To seek a new land surely was the vogue of the time – a common means of escape from any number types of situations which were cramping to the particular and peculiar attitudes and aims of an escape. The exact nature of these factors are irretrievably lost in the dust of time, and not being recorded – except in memories themselves long turned to dust – they can at best but be vaguely imagined.

Again it seems a peculiar and unreasonable circumstance – if consideration is given to the fact that members of a nation’s aristocracy instill a sense of pride into their offspring – that written authentication of family connection overseas has not been uncovered by some of our immediate predecessors who from several sources were keenly interested in "from whence they came". Our Great Aunt Martha E. Irvine and her cousin Martha Thompson were both "blooded inheritance" enthusiasts. The former was sufficiently erudite to become reporter from the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany to the New York Times, and sufficiently forceful to stump for "women’s rights" – but both of these ladies admitted their inability even to discover the name of their own common great grandfather. Both were grown to adulthood when Thomas (son of Thommas) died in 1851.

From the emigree Thommas’ marriage (1755) just two months after disembarking from Ireland and from the several places of birth of his first four children it might be inferred that he was possessed of some considerable means – or else remunerative employment was easily come by. Finally, settling to farming near Mt. Vernon, OH in 1811 – and butchering – suggests but does not prove these occupations to have been his station in Ireland. Subsequent involvement in establishing a stage coach terminal and tavern in the town – with its associated saloon and livery stable – merely implies he had an eye and an ear for the trend of events, with sufficient spunk to venture into the infancy of a growing business. Occupations entered into by his four sons neither confirms nor denies the influence of heredity or environment – for they were farmer and grocer and butcher, livery stable and saloon keepers, singers and lawyers and writers. We see some of the sons of the grocer becoming lawyers and newspaper writers, and some of the sons of the lawyer following the horsy atmosphere of the stable, others the law and public affairs. Environment can and does, at one and the same time, attract and/or repel the human victim. Some day it is to by hoped someone will make "heads" from "tails" among the devious ways Dame Nature co-mingles these factors of inherited vs. environment influences. Meantime, we must continue to flounder in the fog.