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James and Sybil Irwin family papers, 1815-1987 (majority within 1832-1946)

6.3 linear feet (in 8 boxes)

James and Sybil (Hunter) Irwin were early setters of Washtenaw County, Michigan. Their two sons, John E. and (James) Leman Irwin, fought in the Civil War as volunteer members of the 20th Michigan Infantry. Correspondence, diaries, and ledgers from these and other branches of the family are preserved in the Irwin family papers.

The James and Sybil Irwin family papers feature letters written from various Civil War battlefields and encampments by the brothers John E. and (James) Leman Irwin. There are four additional Civil War letters from cousins Samuel H. Row, James H. Irwin, S. Baker, and S.H. Loveland, as well as a transcription of William B. Irwin's journal. The collection also provides insight into the lives of Michigan farmers in the second half of the 19th Century and early 20th Century by way of letters, ledgers, photographs, and diaries. In addition, the correspondence record details the experience of prospectors on the Minnesota Iron Range and life on a Great Lakes freighter. Also extant are sketches by Harriet (Hattie) Irwin, poetry by Harriet and Civil War veterans John E. Irwin and Samuel H. Row, and some early documents pertaining to the North Sharon Methodist Episcopal Church.

The James and Sybil Irwin family papers are divided into the following series largely as maintained by the donor: Civil War Materials; the Baker-Rice and Irwin Families; the individuals Amy (Rice) Irwin, Fred C. Irwin, Harriet S. Irwin, Isaac Irwin, James and Sybil (Hunter) Irwin, John E. Irwin, Max H. Irwin, (James) Leman Irwin, and Max H. Irwin; the North Sharon Methodist Episcopal Church; Miscellaneous items; and Postcards.