Alexander M. Irving was born in Chambersburg, Pike county, Illinois, January 16, 1842. He attended the common schools of his native place and thus acquired the foundation for his present educational advantages. When he had reached the age of sixteen, his father died and he was compelled to earn his own living and assist his mother, and was engaged in work upon the farm until the mutterings of coming war spread over the land in 1861, when he espoused the cause of the Union, and enlisted in Company H, Ninety-ninth Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry, in August of the year last mentioned, and served three years. He went to Harrison county, Missouri, during the fall of 1864, taught school the following winter and came to Gallatin in April, 1865, and engaged in the business of manufactaring wagons in company with his brother, until the summer of 1866.
Next he engaged in the insurance business, continuing in said business until the fall of 1869, then went to work in the hardware store of A. D. Brown, continuing in that until the fall of 1870, when he entered in the drug business with C. C. Gillilan and did a thriving business until the fall of 1872, under the name of Gillilan & Irving. Retiring from the firm he served as deputy sheriff under James T. Dunn during 1873 and 1874, and then as deputy circuit clerk until the spring of 1875, under A. F. McFarland, when he again engaged in the drug business at his old stand with D. F. Long under the firm name of Long & Irving. In the winter of 1875 and 1876 he once more went into the hardware business with his brother, under the firm name of J. C. Irving & Bro., and in the fall of 1878 they added groceries to their stock, he attending to the groceries and J. C. to the hardware.
In the spring of 1879, his brother retired from the firm and he continued in business until May, 1880, then sold out and went to Colorado, locating at South Arkansas (now known as Salida), situated between the two Arkansas Rivers one mile above the mouth of the South Fork and 115 miles west of Pueblo on the line of the D. & R. G. Railroad. Remaining there in the mercantile business until April, 1881, he moved his stock to Buena Vista, Chaffee county, Colorado, twenty-eight miles west of Salida, where he owns a wholesale and retail store of general merchandise, and in connection with the store has identified himself. with mining, and is engaged in developing the mines in which he is interested. Buena Vista is located in the Arkansas valley, thirty-one miles south and east of Leadville, on the lines of the D. & R. G. and D. & S. P. R. roads, was laid out and surveyed in February, 1880, and now has a population of 3,000. The city is situated one mile from the mountains on. the east, and six miles on the west, Cottonwood Hot Springs being located. six miles west in what is known as South Cottonwood Mining District, and in South Cottonwood Gulch lies the famous Cottonwood Lake, covering an acreage of 145 acres, the bottom of which has never been found; this lake is filled with fine mountain trout and during the summer season the surface is covered with vessels, carrying with them crowds of pleasure seekers, carried to and fro by the mountain breezes. Buena Vista is also centrally located and is surrounded by good paying mines of both gold and silver.
Mr. Irving was married to Miss Hattie J. Atchison. of Shelbyville, Kentucky, at the residence of E. B. Sain, in St. Joseph, Missouri, on November 13th, 1867. They have four children; namely, Emma Vassie, Mittie Josie, Edward Fenton, and Alexander M., Jr.
Mr. Irving was elected a member of the Gallatin board of education in the fall of 1868, serving as the treasurer for six years, and during said time the school-house that now adorns the city was built. He served as a member of the city council three years, and. as city marshal one year.
He was made a Mason in 1866, served as Master of Gallatin Lodge No. 116; is a member of Gallatin Royal Arch Chapter No. 11, served as High Priest two terms; is a member of Kadosh Commandery No. 21, of Cameron; served as master of Civil Bend Lodge, W. D.; has served as District Deputy Grand Master and District Deputy Grand Lecturer; is also a member of the orders of I. 0. of O., and A. O. U. W. He was appointed a member of the County Court of Daviess county, by Hon. John S. Phelps, in 1877, and served until the winter of 1878.