Rev. James William Irish

Male 1868 - 1942  (74 years)


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  • Name James William Irish  [1
    Title Rev. 
    Born 17 Mar 1868  Big Springs, Adams Co., WI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Occupation Supt. for Methodist Church in Western WI 
    Book Reference 1105  
    Died 13 Dec 1942  Milwaukee, Milwaukee Co., WI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Walnut Hill Cemetery, Baraboo, Sauk Co., WI Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • from: Kathryn Sims Martin
      Below you will find material pertaining to James William Irish given or related to me by his son, Foster William Irish who was my step-father. More material will be forthcoming - it is taking me a bit longer to sort through that of Foster William Irish since it evokes so many memories, as I am sure you can understand.

      Souces and notes: JAMES WILLIAM IRISH (Reverend)

      "Minutes of West Wisconsin Conference: The Methodist Church for 1943". Pgs 695-696.
      "Rev. James W. Irish, son of Rev. William R. and Martha Banks Irish, was born in Big Spring, Wisconsin, March 17, 1868, and was reared in the Methodist tradition.

      In 1885, at the age of 17, he left home and went to Aberdeen, then Dakota Territory, to work in a brother-in-law's printing office. He remained several years, establishing a speed record in type setting, joining the union, becoming a foreman and later, night editor.

      Early in 1891 he decided to enter the Christian ministry. With characteristic zeal, he set about getting the education that his early entry into business had precluded, entering the preparatory department of the University of Nebraska. The same year he married Grace Elinor Cleghorn of Whiting, Iowa, and with her loyal assistance, pursued his studies while serving charges. He joined the West Wisconsin Conference in 1896. In 1898 Brother Irish was graduated from the University of Wisconsin and later received a divinity degree from Garrett Biblical Institute. In 1918 Lawrence College gave him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.

      The following churches knew James W. Irish as pastor: Mt. Horeb, Black Earth, Richland Center, Ashland, and First Church, LaCrosse. For twelve years he was District Superintendent, first, of the Ashland District and later of the Eau Claire District. For several years he was Executive Secretary of the West Wisconsin Hospitals and Homes Association.

      Brother Irish was never a man of rugged health. During his work as District Superintendent, the rigors of travel in Northern Wisconsin resulted in an attack of tuberculosis. With his usual intensity of of purpose, he conquered this disease and pronounced cured inside of a year. The subsequent years of travel finally took their toll of his strength and in 1930, brother Irish asked for a supernumerary relation and took up residence in Milwaukee. Three years later he retired.

      Throughout his entire life, new ideas and new techniques, whether for the work of the Kingdom of God or for produects of his skillful hands, always held a great attraction for him. He worked with fervor on a project and attacked entrenched wrong in a community with undivided energy, let the chips fall where they may. As a result, one of his early churches was dynamited and an attempt was made on his life. His greatest effectiveness in the ministry, was as pastor and friend of his people rather than as a pulpit orator. His visits were anticipated and remembered with delight in hundreds of homes. He had an orderly mind and excelled as an organizer, as many a young pastor on his two districts could recall.

      The crucial test of a man's faith, particularly if he be an active restless soul (as was this man) is how he could take years of illness and passivity and linger on a "workless worker" in a world of work. To this final and severest test of all, James W. Irish bent his loyal heart and came off victor, achieving that serenity which is the most exquisite fruit of a man's faith. He never lost interest in the great tides in the church and in the world, but as he became unable to read, he learned patiently and cheerfully to occupy himself with handwork and games. Whenever there came a period of recurring health, he entered gladly into the life of the church to which he belonged. Not the least of his life's labors was his contribution to the work of the churches in Milwaukee and Wauwatosa during his years of retirement.

      After several paralytic stokes, James W. Irish died December 13, 1942, eight years after the death of his wife. Funeral services were held at the Kenwood Methodist Church, Milwaukee, with the Revs. Charles W. Heywood, Robert B. Stansell, R.J. Bailey, and George F. Barber participating. Other services were held on December 17 at Barabo in the undertaking parlors. Ministers participating in this service were Revs. Dean W. Irish (nephew) who read the scripture and offered prayer; Ernest E. Horth who sang two beautiful songs, and John W. Birchall who delivered a brief address. Burial was in the beaufiful Baraboo Cemetery. The grave-side services were conducted by the Revs. W. F. Tomlinson and R. Harold Gee, E.J. Sachtjen, S.J. Lambright and Paul B. White.

      Two sons and two daughters survive. They are: Foster of Evanston; Russell of Scarsdale, New York; Marie (Mrs. Ward P. Kessler) of Elkart, Indiana and Elinore (Mrs. Russel H. Baum) of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Of his father's family, there remain two sisters, Josephine Irish Starling of Dallas, Texas, Martha Irish Karnopp of Winnetka, Illinois, and two brothers Gilbert H. of Dallas, Texas and Luther B. of Baraboo, Wisconsin. Members of three generations of the Irish family have served consecutively in the West Wisconsin Conference. They are: Wm. R., James W., and Deane W. now active in service at Dodgeville.
      John W. Birchhall."

      Comments made by his son, Foster William Irish, to me in an oral interview in 1979, indicate that James William left home at about age 15 because he didn't get along with his step-mother; that James William went to North Dakota where he learned to be a printer, that he went to San Francisco as a printer and that he traveled on a ship to Seattle which ran into whale, that he was a "tramp printer" who rode on freight trains from town to town, and that he was helped financially by his wife when he attended school to become a minister.
      Kathryn Sims Martin - simsmartin@sbcglobal.net
    Person ID I00995  Irish
    Last Modified 30 Oct 2010 

    Father William Richards Irish,   b. 2 Jan 1841, Perryville, Madison Co., NY Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 31 Oct 1921, Baraboo, Sauk Co., WI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years) 
    Mother Martha M. Banks,   b. 17 Jun 1840, IL Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Aug 1881, Hammond, St. Croix Co., WI Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 41 years) 
    Married 30 Jan 1859 
    Family ID F0128  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Grace Elinor Cleghorn,   b. 4 May 1871, IA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 31 Jul 1934  (Age 63 years) 
    Married 22 Dec 1891 
    Children 
    +1. Foster William Irish,   b. 10 Oct 1894
    +2. Russell Johnstone Irish,   b. 20 Dec 1897,   d. 28 Oct 1953  (Age 55 years)
    +3. Marie Verona Irish,   b. 9 Feb 1905,   d. Abt 2003  (Age 97 years)
    +4. Elinore Grace Irish,   b. 4 Jan 1913,   d. 04 Apr 1988, San Carlos, San Mateo, CA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years)
    Family ID F0570  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 17 Mar 1868 - Big Springs, Adams Co., WI Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 13 Dec 1942 - Milwaukee, Milwaukee Co., WI Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Walnut Hill Cemetery, Baraboo, Sauk Co., WI Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Headstones
    Rev. James William Irish
    Rev. James William Irish

  • Sources 
    1. [S007136] Descendants of John Irish 1629-1963, Willis L. Irish.