Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Death of B.D. Irvine, Prominent Dresden Citizen 1916

Funeral notice of 
Benjamin D. Irvine, 
husband of Agnes Moran.  

Dresden Enterprise February 1916
Honored Citizen Passed Away
Death of B.D. Irvine Removes One of the County's Best Known Men

In the death of Benjamin D. Irvine, Dresden and Weakley county loses one of the oldest and best known men.  Mr. Irvine died Sunday afternoon at 1 o'clock at his home in Dresden following a brief illness. On Monday of last week Mr. Irvine was down town, but quite feeble, as he had been most of the winter.  Going home, he took his bed, but his condition did not become critical until Saturday, and many of his friends in town did not even know of his illness.  He sank rapidly.

Mr. Irvine was the son of Sam Irvine, for many years circuit court clerk of this county.  His mother was a Miss Jones, his parents coming here from Virginia and settling on Thompson Creek, nine miles east of Dresden, where the deceased was born and reared.  And where he received education in the common schools of the community.

When about twenty years of age, Mr. Irvine came to Dresden to reside, being deputy to his father, and it was evidently in this station that he learned the methods of careful business transactions that afterwards characterized his life, he being considered one of the best business men of the country.  In early life he was united in marriage to Miss Agnes Moran, sister of the late John W. Moran.  To this union thirteen children were born, eight, with their sainted mother, surviving him, as follows:  Thomas E. Irvine, California; Sidney Irvine, Bowie, Texas; Robert Lee Irvine and James A. A Irvine and Moran Irvine and Mrs. Sophia Irvine Ferguson, Dresden: Forrest Dabney Irvine, Ft. Worth, Texas; and William Preston Irvine, Georgia.

In early life Mr. Irvine engaged in the mercantile business in Dresden, remaining in public life until the early '90's when he retired.  During his long and successful business career he was associated with such well-known men as Tom Baker, now cashier of a leading bank at Paducah; John R. Moore, John W. Moran, C.W. Cottrell and others of equal prominence.  All these relations terminated most pleasantly most agreeably, there being no word of criticism, no spark of ill feeling, nothing but the most cordial, friendly relations between himself and his business partners.  The reason of this was his fair, honorable, open methods, his fairness toward his associates and his generous disposition.  There was nothing little about the man.  He was broad and liberal in all matters.  While in those days he was making money, paying not as much attention to the future welfare of his soul as in his latter days, yet he was a liberal contributor to religious matters, evidenced by his generous donation when the present Methodist Church was erected, and his donation of both the lots on which stand the Presbyterian and Baptist churches here.

All his characteristics were positive none, negative.  The ties of friendship were enduring and strong with him.  Possessing a high sense of honor, his word was his bond; and it has been said of him by one who is in a position to know, that he never knew Mr. Irvine, in all the latter's various and many business transactions to take an undue advantage in a business deal. He was absolutely without guile.  He was an unassuming man.  Perhaps his strongest characteristic was his generosity and indulgence toward his family.  He possessed and analytic mind, weighing carefully and and all matters he had in hand.

At the very bottom, in faint lettering:
Christ is my hope
During the latter years of his life a great change had come over him spiritually.  He spent many long hours searching the scriptures, which, as was said at his funeral, resulted in his conversion and recognition of "Christ as his hope."  This inscription "Christ is my Hope" was engraved upon his tomb at his direction before his demise, and he left every assurance that he fully believed in and trusted in the saving grace of his Master.

Nor more gentlemanly, affectionate, modest man ever lived in Dresden than Uncle Ben Irvine, who is now gone to his final home.  Peace to his ashes.  Funeral services were conducted at his late home Monday afternoon by Rev. G.T. Mayo, A.E. Scott and D.C. Johnson, and a worthy tribute paid him by his life long friend, Mr. Geo. S. Boyd.  The remains were held over to Tuesday morning, pending arrival of two sons from Texas, and laid to rest at 10 o'clock Tuesday at the Dresden Cemetery.

The following is from  Goodspeed's History of Tennessee:

B. D. IRVINE, farmer and miller of Dresden, Tenn., is a native of Weakley County, Tenn., born October 31, 1832, son of Samuel and Catherine (Jones) Irvine.  He was educated in the neighboring schools and in Dresden, and made his home with his parents until he was fourteen years of age.  e served four years as his father's deputy.  In 1855 he and his brother R. N. and J. E. Freeman engaged in merchandising, and November 5, 1856, he married Agnes Moran, daughter of James H. and Harriet Moran.  Mrs. Irvine was born October 7, 1838, in Dresden, and became the mother of twelve children, ten of whom are living: Harry C., who is in Texas; Thomas B., who is in South America; John B., James A., Florence, Robert L., Moran, Sophia A., Forest D. and William P.   In 1857 Mr. Irvine sold his interest in the mercantile establishment to his brother and Mr. Freeman, and with T. A. Baker established a now firm, continuing two years.  He owns 450 acres of fine land, and a handsome residence in the suburbs of Dresden.   In 1880 he, C. W. Cottrell, G. S. Boyd and S. P. Scott engaged in merchandising and milling, the dry goods firm being known as Cottrell, Irvine & Co., and the milling firm as Scott, Boyd & Co.   In 1883 Mr. Cottrell bought the store, and Mr. Irvine and Mr. Scott bought Mr. Boyd's and Mr. Cottrell's interest in the mill, and from that time until the present the firm has been known as Irvine & Scott.   For the past thirty years Mr. Irvine has been one of Weakley County's enterprising business men.   He is a Democrat, and his first presidential vote was cast for James Buchanan.  In 1876 he was elected trustee of Weakley County, and served in that capacity two years.   He is a member of the Masonic, I.O.O.F., K. of H. and A.0.U.W. fraternities, and his wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.

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