â€œHistory of Huntington County, Indianaâ€1914 By Frank S. Bash pg. 832-33
Robert L. Irwin. Farming, with all its branches, has been considered a good line of business since the beginning of the world, and such have been the changes and modifications within the past quarter of a century that to be a farmer is now probably the most dignified as well as most independent vocation in the entire range of human activities. Agriculture in such a county as Huntington offers a splendid field for the man of energy, perseverance and ability. In this class stands Robert L. Irwin, of Salamonie township, a man who has been in a remarkable degree the architect of his own fortunes, and who owes his present success in life entirely to his own efforts.
Mr. Irwin is a native of North Carolina, born in Guilford county, October 15, 1856, a son of James and Elizabeth (Kirkman) Irwin. Both were natives of the same state, the father being now deceased, and the mother lives in the old north state. They were parents of nine children, seven of whom are still living, but all are residents of North Carolina except Robert L. and James., the latter a farmer of Blackford county.
While growing up in North Carolina Robert L. Irwin had limited opportunities, attended school irregularly, gave up his books and studies at the age of eighteen, and when twenty-one started out for himself. Two years later he journeyed to a state where he might find better opportunities, and located in Salamonie township of Huntington county. At that time he was a poor man, and had to establish his right to a share in the worldâ€™s goods by diligence, faithfulness to duty, and a forehandedness in grasping and accepting the opportunities presented. On December 27, 1885, Mr. Irwin was united in marriage with Emma A. Foust. She belongs to one of the pioneer families of Huntington county, and was born on the farm now occupied by herself and husband December 22, 1863, a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Colbert) Foust. The Foust family came to Huntington county from Highland county, Ohio, and Mrs. Irwin received her education in the District school at Salem in Salamonie township. Mr. Irwin and wife are the parents of seven children, whom they have reared carefully and upon whom they have bestowed the best opportunities for education and for making themselves useful in the world. The older ones are now married and settled in life, and several of the younger ones are still in school. These children are: Lelia, who is a graduate of the common schools and is the wife of Irwin Neber, a resident of Jackson township in Wells county, and field foreman for the Ohio Oil Company, and there are two children of Mr. and Mrs. Neber; Forrest, who after finishing a course in the common schools, became a student in DePauw University, later graduated from the Northwestern University, and has done much teaching; George and Bertha, twins, both finished the common school course, and the former is a graduate of the Warren high school and a teacher, being principal of the Ward school at Momence, Illinois, while Bertha is the wife of Verl Preble of Salamonie township; J. Leroy is a graduate of the common schools and the Bluffton high school and now a student in the Muncie normal school; Jesse L. and Glen F. are both students of the common schools. Mr. Irwin and wife have three grandchildren.
The families are members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Salem, and Mr. Irwin is one of the trustees of that denomination. In politics he supports the prohibition cause. Mr. Irwin as a farmer occupies the southeast quarter of Section 35 in Salamonie township. This is a farm which for years has been one of the best known in southern Huntington county, and is known in the neighborhood as Jonathan Foust farm, having been entered from the government by Jonathan Foust in the pioneer days. The old parchment deed for the land was signed by Martin Van Buren, who, it will be remembered, was president of the United States from 1837 to 1841.