Park T. Irwin. Ever since the early ’70s the name of Irwin has stood for agricultural and commercial integrity and good citizenship in Champaign County, for faithful performance of duty in peace or war, and for helpful support of progressive measures. Particularly is this true in the community of Longview, a town which was laid out by James W. Irwin, father of Park T. Irwin, the latter one of the representative young business men of this place. Park T. Irwin was born at Longview, July 13, 1881. his parents being James W. and Margaret (Fisher) Irwin.
James W. Irwin was born in Ohio, and during the early ’70s came to Champaign County. At that time he was a veteran of the Civil War, having enlisted in his native state in the Seventeenth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, at the outbreak of hostilities, and subsequently being connected with the heavy artillery. He served three years and three months in the Union army, taking part in numerous important battles, and on one occasion being captured by the enemy but subsequently paroled, and had a fine record as a soldier. On coming to Champaign County he secured land and engaged in farming, accumulating 200 acres, on which was later laid out the present town of Longview, the founders of which were Mr. Irwin and J. W. Churchill. Mr. Irwin was a man of excellent judgment, and his foresight enabled him to choose for his location a property which would later be in a position to attract settlement and business enterprises. He is now retired from active pursuits and makes his home at Longview. He has never lost his interest in his old army comrades, and is still a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and one of the most popular comrades of his post. In Masonry he has attained a high position, having reached the thirty-second degree. Mrs. Irwin, who was a native of Pennsylvania, died in 1899, having been the mother of the following children: Corda, who is deceased; Paul F., a resident of Chicago; Blanche B., the wife of Charles H. Watts of Urbana, county superintendent of schools; Claude G., a resident of Omaha, Nebraska; Park T.; and Daisy D., the wife of George E. Bronson, a division city engineer of Chicago.
After attending the country schools of Champaign County and the public schools of Longview, Park T. Irwin spent three years at Westfield College, and at the age of twenty-one years entered upon his commercial career as proprietor of a grocery business at Westfield. He was successful in this venture, but after two years was compelled to dispose of his interests because of failing health, and for the next year traveled to various points. Returning to Longview, he embarked in the grain business, and to this enterprise has since given his attention, having built up an excellent trade at Longview and in the surrounding territory. Mr. Irwin is a young man of push and enterprise and has inherited much of his father’s business acumen, while the integrity which he has shown in his business operations has gained him a name for probity in commercial circles. He is a Republican, although not active in politics, and his fraternal connection is with the Modern Woodmen of America, in which order he has numerous friends.
Mr. Irwin was married May 26, 1907, to Miss Emma White of Westfield, Illinois, and they have three children: Frances, born July 20, 1911; Margaret, born August 29, 1913; and Elizabeth, born January 15, 1915. Mr. and Mrs. Irwin are members of the Presbyterian Church.