William Irvine (1741-1804)

William Irvine (1741-1804)

William Irvine was born of Scots-Irish parents in Fermanaugh, Ireland on November 3, 1741. He attended Trinity College in Dublin and afterwards studied medicine. He became a Royal Navy surgeon and served at sea in the Seven Years' War.

He settled in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1764 to practice medicine. When the Revolutionary War broke out he raised the 7th Pennsylvania Regiment and participated in the invasion of Canada where he was captured at Three Rivers. He was exchanged in 1778 and fought at the Battle of Monmouth. Promoted to Brigadier General, he was given command of the western frontier area and was headquartered at Fort Pitt where he served until the end of the war.

After the establishment of the new government, Irvine served in various posts, many involving the distribution of land, and he attended the Continental Congress in 1787. He later represented Cumberland County in the U.S. Congress and commanded Pennsylvania troops in the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion. His final post was as superintendent of military stores in Philadelphia.

Irvine was one of the original nine trustees to whom the deed for the building of a school in Carlisle had been entrusted. When the Dickinson College charter was passed in the Legislature, six of the nine became trustees of the College. Irvine was one of these and he served until his death.

During his early days in Carlisle, he married Anne Callender. He died in Philadelphia on July 29, 1804.

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Dickinson College Archives
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