Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / People

Samuel V. Irwin, 1823

    Died February 13, 1890

Irwin was born in New York state in 1823 and came to Albion in the 1850s. Irwin left the furniture businesses to start a private banking firm, Mayhew &Irwin. It was on this location that the National Exchange Bank of Albion began operation on January 1, 1866, when the earlier bank was dissolved.

Irwin owned considerable land in the south part of the city, and lived in a large brick home on the corner of S. Superior and Irwin Avenue. The house is still standing today, 103 Irwin Avenue. Irwin operated a fruit tree farm, and sold thousands of pear and apple trees to customers in the area. Irwin also sold fire insurance for the Home Insurance Company of New York and for the Phoenix Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut.

Irwin was active in community affairs. He served on the first board of trustees for the new Union Schools of Albion, and was appointed by the governor of Michigan to the board of Albion College in 1866. He was also an officer of the Albion Fair Ground Association, and a member of St. James Episcopal Church. Irwin was one of the original stockholders of the Albion Malleable Iron Works in1889.

A sign of his popularity was when Eugene D. Comstock and twelve other Albion residents successfully petitioned the Village Council to change the name of Homer Road to Irwin Avenue. His death which occurred suddenly on February 13, 1890, was a shock to the city. Burial was in Riverside Cemetery. His son Frank L. Irwin went on to serve as Albion’s postmaster. Irwin’s last know descendant, his only granddaughter – Genevieve Irwin Fisher Gunnison, died in Jackson, Michigan in 1972.

Source: Frank Passic. Albion’s Banks and Bankers. Albion, Michigan:Albion Civic Foundation. 1985.

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