James Clarke Irvine
Born 10 Oct 1830 - Died 12 Sept 1907
Married Ann Keturah Johnson 21 Nov 1855
Born 29 Sept 1837 - Died 14 Feb 1918

JAMES CLARKE IRVINE, 1st child of the above union, was born in Mt. Vernon - according to his own record in his Pictorial Family Register - on 10th Oct., 1830, according to age given to the Census Taker in 1850 the year was 1832. Yet this entry into the world was 3-5 years prior to the erection of the fine home of his parents at East Gambier - 110. In his spelling of his middle name we note the first instance of the finale ‘e’. Undoubtedly his parents assigned it as in reference to his maternal grand mother’s maiden name, or his Uncle or Cousin. Just when he appropriated the addition is a mystery but the evidences are it was prior to his Kenyon College entry.

By the word of his next younger sister, Martha E. (Aunt Matt), Clarke evinced a greater interest in cards and drinking parties than in the serious business of preparation for life. He played the part of a quitted dandy in those early days, much to the disgust of his father (evidently forgetful of his own youth) 0 who often threatened and finally did refuse to support him in his foppish ways, his idleness and carousals. His mother, though she deplored the drinking, would always prevail in softening the punishment meted - for she declared "My son is an aristocratic gentleman and should live the life of one".

As to formal schooling - a report of 3/20/1956 from S.R. McGowan, Registrar of Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, states that a James Clarke Irvine was in attendance in 1842-4 at Milnar Hall, a junior grammar school. He was registered as a sophomore at Kenyon College in 1846-7 - making him a non-graduating of the Class of 1849.

The latter phrase just might suggest there’s possibly some truth to a family tale that Clarke was expelled from Kenon during graduation time for his involvement in a student prank - i.e. placing a calf in the belfry tower.

Though finally feeling the pinch of low funds Clarke persisted in his refusal to accommodate to his father demand that he work in the produce store. After exhausting his credit with family and friends a final loan carried him part way down the Ohio river. The rest of the way to Cincinnati luckily was forthcoming from his aptitude at card games. A short trial with a legal firm was followed in 1852 by his casting his lot with a group of tardy responders to the news of "Gold in California". The following hardships during the overland trip discouraged him, what he failed to find on arrival disgusted him - so he worked only long enough to defray a return passage home by way of The Horn. Landed in New York, re-visited Mt. Vernon only long enough to impress his father and to extract sufficient funds to enable his return to Cincinnati. Worked in a law firm for 3-4 years, ending with a return of wanderlust over memories of a pleasing terrain traversed in the Missouri Territory. This enticement grew as his discouragement over slow progress in the law mounted. And he was in love - but in a poor financial fix. Ignoring the implications in the latter his ardent courtship of Ann Keturah Johnson, of Brookville, Indiana, culminated in marriage on 30th Nov. 1859 - and the couple started westward, coming finally to rent among the red hill country of northwest Missouri, in Oregon.