Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies



Samuel Irvine

Submitted by Amy E. Armstrong

Samuel Irvine
During the period of the late '50's Samuel Irvine arrived in California via the Panama route, accompanied by his wife, Mary (McCalla) Irvine. The newcomer was of Irish birth and lineage, being a son of William and Phoebe (Hanna) Irvine, born near Belfast in 1831. After landing on the Pacific coast he engaged in mining in Calaveras county and for a time carried on a lumber business, remaining for twelve years in that part of the state. It was during 1868 that he arrived in Monterey county, where afterward he became an influential citizen and well-known merchant. In looking around for a location Mr. Irvine found an opening for business investments at Sotoville, a hamlet named in honor of Mr. Soto, its leading general merchant. Later the name of the place was changed to Santa Rita. The village was situated on the main road through the county, but it was necessary to turn to the right about three-quarters of a mile before the town was reached. After Mr. Irvine bought an interest in Mr. Soto's store he had the roads platted so that the stage passed directly by the store. In time he sold out to his partner, but soon bought out the entire establishment and afterward conducted it alone. As soon as his son, John, was old enough to be of help, he took him into partnership, thus relieving himself of many heavy business cares. After becoming a citizen of the United States and informed concerning its parties, Samuel Irvine always supported Democratic principles. April 25, 1876, he was appointed postmaster at Santa Rita and continued in the position until his death in 1898. Thereupon his son, John, succeeded to the office, and remained postmaster until the establishment of the rural free delivery. No one was more deeply interested than Samuel Irvine in the establishment of good schools and as trustee of Santa Rita school for many years he labored indefatigably to promote local educational interests. Other matters pertaining to the local development and progress owed much to his zeal. In business dealings he was straightforward, in physique strong and sturdy, in disposition kind, and in good citizenship progressive. His wife passed away in June of 1908. They were the parents of four children, namely: William J., and Mrs. J.A. Armstrong, both of Salinas; Phoebe and John, both of Santa Rita. The younger son continues the business so long conducted by his father, and the business, carried on under the name of Irvine for years, is the only one in the entire county conducted without change of name by the same family for so many years.

Source: HISTORY AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF MONTEREY & SAN BENITO COUNTIES AND HISTORY OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA by J.M. Guinn, A.M. Volume II, (Historic Record Co., Los Angeles, Cal.) 1910.