Town Memorials | Winthrop, Massachusetts
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Captain Samuel Irwin

Samuel Grandy Irwin (1827-1908)
m. 1853, Hannah Almira (Deming) (1830-1886)
m. 1887, Mary Elizabeth (McGill)
- Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, William R. Cutter, 1908 - pg. 1743
   "Captain Samuel Grandby Irwin, eldest child of Robert G. and Isabella (Firth) Irwin, was born in Shelburne June 15, 1827 and for something like twenty years was of the most famous master mariners on northern Atlantic coast, He seemed to been born for a seafaring life and from time he left school until of mature age he followed the life of a seaman from deckhand skipper and part owner. "

   In 1867, having recovered from the effects of a serious illness, Captain Irwin went to Winthrop, Massachusetts purchased a comfortable house and a large tract of land near the center of the town and began a general real estate and insurance business. At the same time he was constantly looking about for other opportunities, and seeing the need of improved transportation facilities from Winthrop to Maverick Square, East Boston, he purchased at foreclosure sale in 1877 the company franchise and equipment of the horse railroad formerly operated between those points, organized a successor corporation under the name of Boston Winthrop & Point Shirley railroad, and converted the old system into a narrow guage steam road connecting with the Revere Beach & Lynn railroad at Orion [Orient] Heights, and thus constructing the first steam road in the town of Winthrop. At the organization of the new company Captain Irwin was elected president serving in that capacity for the next three years and operating the road with a fair degree of success but owing to the difficulty in securing a fair rate for passenger traffic between Orion Heights and Boston it became virtually compulsory that his road be sold to the Boston & Maine Company But notwithstanding the ultimate outcome of the venture to those most directly interested from a financial standpoint

... the fact remains that Captain Irwin did more than any and all other persons in promoting the welfare of the town of Winthrop at the time when Boston was beginning to assume the character of a metropolitan city and men of means were casting about for desirable sites for suburban homes. Indeed, he was the leading spirit of this enterprise from its inception just as he was in later years the prime mover in various other improvements which have been for the prosperity of the town and its people.
- Images of America - Winthrop, Winthrop Historical Commission, 2002 - preview - pg. 32
   "The Winthrop Horse Railroad was not as successful as was hoped. In 1875, after three years of operation, it succumbed, and its assests were sold for $12. The new owner, Samuel Irwin, was a prominent Winthrop citizen whose plans were to reconfigure the track route and use three-foot-guage steam engines and passenger coaches. The new railroad, the Boston, Winthrop, and Point Shirley, began running with a single locomotive and five employees. Its size earned it the nickname "Peanut Train," and it would also connect with the narrow-gauge line at Orient Heights. "
- Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1901 - pg. 760
   "In 1854 he became master of a good vessel of which he was part owner. He commanded and partly or entirely owned six different vessels from 1854 to 1886. He was shipwrecked in 1858, the crew all being saved. During the Civil War his vessel, which he commanded, was chartered by the United States government and used to carry supplies for the Northern troops in the South. In 1866 he was shipwrecked while on a voyage from the western coast of Greenland to Philadelphia Pa. His vessel sprung a leak in a gale of wind, and filling sank. The Captain and his wife, with the crew consisting of sixteen men all told left, the vessel in the night in the long boat, shortly before the vessel went down saving nothing but the clothes they had on. Their experience in the boat was extremely trying but they were picked up the following day by another ship, and were all save. During Captain Irwin's seafaring life of twenty three years not a man died on board, nor was one lost out of a vessel that he sailed in, although he was shipwrecked twice. "
- National Magazine: Volume 2, 1895, Town of Winthrop - pg. 589
   "Capt. Samuel G. Irwin is specially distinguished by the constant interest he takes in the development of the town. He is a large real-estate dealer and insurance agent, and does a vast amount of business in his line. He has served the town as selectman, and assessor and in other positions of trust."
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