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The Legend of Samuel Dale Irwin

The most famous legend in Irwin’s town history is that of the town’s founding in 1846 by Samuel Dale Irwin. Today, at the base of our water tower, you will find a plaque commemorating the sesquicentennial of the town’s founding. Here is the inscription on that plaque.

              Samuel Dale Irwin: Statesman, Marksman; Countryman;
On this site on November 19, 1846, Samuel Dale Irwin, formerly of Del Rio, Texas, settled what is now Irwin, Texas. Mr. Irwin, an infantryman in the company of Sam Houston’s army, lost his way while fighting General Santa Anna’s horde of Mexican infiltrators. Later, in San Marcos, Irwin encountered a food and supply wagon, overtaking its enemy driver and ultimately commandeering two horses as well as the precious contents of the wagon. He rode for three and a half days to what is now present-day Irwin. Upon his arrival, Mr. Irwin dismounted, stumbled to his knees, and declared, “Home, Sweet Home,” before suddenly taking ill, never to walk again. We, the residents of Irwin salute Samuel Dale Irwin on the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of his fateful ride.

Despite his ailments, Mr. Irwin still managed to beget two progeny. These were Enid Irwin (1848-1909) and Sam Irwin, Jr. (1849-1905). Though Enid proved to be barren, Sam Junior did have a son, Travis Carr Irwin (1871-1963). Travis Irwin moved to nearby Pinkertyn, where he managed a textile mill and met his young wife, Dorothy (1896-1955). Travis and Dorothy’s first child, James Gregory Irwin (1914-1968), moved to Louisiana to wildcat. Their daughter, Wilhelmina (1930- ), returned to Irwin when the ele-middle school opened in 1952 and taught 7th grade until she retired in 1996. Wilhelmina Irwin, who has since moved to a retirement community in Tavares, Florida, is the last surviving descendant of Samuel Dale Irwin.

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