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Kansas Memory has been created by the Kansas State Historical Society to share its historical collections via the Internet. Read more.



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People - Notable Kansans - Irvin, Samuel McLeary, 1815-1887

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George A. Root to Mr. Elliott of Coffeyville

George A. Root to Mr. Elliott of Coffeyville
Creator: Root, George A. (George Allen), 1867-1949
Date: February 22, 1933
In this letter to Mr. Elliott of Coffeyville, Kansas State Historical Society Curator of Archives George A. Root provides some brief information regarding Samuel Irvin. Root explains that Irvin "arrived in Kansas in 1837, and established at Highland a mission for the Iowa and Sac Indians. He is described as a man of slight build, and absolutely fearless."

M.H. Turner to Kirke Mechem

M.H. Turner to Kirke Mechem
Creator: Turner, M.H.
Date: December 15, 1938
In this letter to Kansas State Historical Society secretary Kirke Mechem, Presbyterian Historical Society librarian M.H. Turner informs Mechem that she has searched for information regarding the printing press used at the Iowa and Sac Mission that Reverend Samuel M. Irvin worked at as a missionary, teacher, and makeshift surgeon. Turner explains that she found some information but "nothing about the press in the reports" of the Western Foreign Missionary Society.

Reminiscences of T.J. Sutherland

Reminiscences of T.J. Sutherland
Creator: Irvin, S. M. (Samuel Mcleary), b. 1812
Date: July 1882
This item, written by Reverend Samuel M. Irvin, contains Irvin's thoughts on Thomas Jefferson "TJ" Sutherland. Sutherland, also known as General Sutherland was, according to the information that he gave Irvin, held prisoner by the British following the burning of the "Caroline" on the Canadian border in 1837. Irvin explains that Sutherland intended on forming a group in order to move "west of the Indian reserves" but was unable to complete the task due to the fact that he died after a lengthy sickness.

Reverend Samuel M. Irvin and family

Reverend Samuel M. Irvin and family
Date: Between 1854 and 1859
This is a photograph showing Reverend Samuel M., Eliza, his wife, and their family. In November 1837, Rev. Irvin and his wife established a Presbyterian mission for the Iowa Indians located two miles west of the mouth of Wolf River on the southern edge of the Iowa Reservation in present-day Doniphan County, Kansas. Buildings were constructed on the mission grounds, and children were taught in English and the Iowa language. This was made possible by the arrival in 1843 of a printing press on which Irvin published a hymnal and several grammar books in the Iowa language. Studies included spelling, arithmetic, and geography, but emphasis was placed on the industrial and domestic arts and farming. With the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, a new treaty was negotiated causing a reduction of Indian lands. The treaty took effect that same year, and white settlement began in earnest. As a result of the loss of land, the mission became too far removed from the two reservations to make attendance at the school convenient for Indian children. The mission closed in 1863 with Reverend Irvin working there until it closed.

Samuel M. Irvin diary

Samuel M. Irvin diary
Creator: Irvin, S. M. (Samuel Mcleary), b. 1812
Date: January 1, 1841-June 23, 1848
This diary was written by Samuel M. Irvin, and it contains a great number of details surrounding his activities during the period from January 1841 through June 1848. During the period covered in the diary, Irvin worked as the principal missionary at the Iowa Presbyterian Mission near Highland, Kansas. As a result, Irvin's diary discusses his duties in that capacity, as well as his day-to-day activities on the frontier.

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