|Birth: ||Jul. 4, 1835|
|Death: ||Mar. 25, 1911|
Thomas Kilshaw Irwin was born in Mobile, Alabama on July, 4th 1835 to Alfred Irwin and his wife Margaret Kilshaw Irwin, a British citizen of Irish descent. Alfred Irwin, came to Mobile from Maryland in the late 1840's to serve as Secretary of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Alfred and Margaret had three children; Thomas Kilshaw(T.K.), Lee Fearn and Corrine who died as a young woman.
An 1877 passport application by T.K. Irwin for a trip to Europe, listed the following description: "5' 11" tall, Broad and prominent forehead, prominent chin, light colored hair, blue eyes with fair complexion."
The Irwins moved into the historic Oakleigh Mansion, built by James W. Roper in 1851. Roper made his fortune as a cotton merchant. He lost his wealth and consequently his home in the 1837 banker's panic. The resulting economic downturn forced Roper to sell Oakleigh.
Mobile was known as "The Paris of the Confederacy" and the Irwin home was a social hot spot in this beautiful city. Many famous writers, artist, actors, social elites and politicians were entertained in the front parlor of this grand mansion. In 1877, future U.S. President and former Union soldier, James Garfield drank his first "Southern Mint Julep" here at Oakleigh ("Irwin Place")as a guest of T.K. Irwin.
T.K. married Mary Anna Ketchum, (1840-1905)a native of Mississippi, in 1858. Mary was 18 and T.K. was 23 years old. Mary Anna was the daughter of Colonel Charles T. Ketchum, commander of the 38th Alabama Infantry. They would have two children; Franklin Kilshaw Irwin, born in 1862 and Emily (Daisy) Sims, named for her maternal grandmother, was born in 1863.
Upon the advent of the American Civil War Thomas Kilshaw enlisted in the Confederate Army. First in Company B of the Alabama Cadets,serving as provost marshall in the city of Mobile in 1861, then in Company L of the 6th Mississippi Calvary and finally in Company F of the 40th Alabama Infantry where he served as a First Lieutenant. "T.K.volunteered to serve as an escort for President Jefferson Davis upon his escape from Richmond at the end of hostilities. His services, however, were declined.
His brother Lee Fearn Irwin enlisted in the 3rd Alabama Infantry, re-enlisted in the CSA Navy and finally served in the 38th Alabama Infantry.
During the occupation of Mobile by Union troops, T.K.'s mother Margaret draped a British Flag in the front gallery of their beautiful home to prevent vandalism and destruction by the northern occupiers.
At the end of the Civil War, T.K. returned to Mobile and began a successful career as a cotton broker and operated Irwin's dairy. Mary Anna died in 1905. Their daughter Daisy (Emily) returned home from Birmingham, Alabama upon the death of her husband Alfred Angus Clisby. Daisy was the last Irwin to occupy the beautiful Oakleigh Mansion. Her four sons worked diligently to support their mother's residency until they were finally forced to sell the property in 1916, five years after the death of her father.
Col. Thomas K. Irwin.
MOBILE, ALA., March 27---Colonel Thomas Kilshaw Irwin, President of the Mobile Cotton Exchange, prominent socially, a Confederate Veteran, and prominent resident of Mobile, died Monday morning at 10:45 o'clock at the old family home, Oakleigh, west of George Street, at the head of Savannah Street. He had been ill with la grippe and was compelled to take to his bed again and pneumonia set in. He had been seriously ill since last Saturday and his death was not unexpected to those who were acquainted with the nature of his illness.
The Montgomery Advertiser, Montgomery, AL 28 Mar 1911
T.K., his wife Mary Anna and daughter Daisy Irwin Clisby are buried in beautiful Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile, Alabama.
Alfred Franklin Irwin (1806 - 1867)
Mary Anna Ketchum Irwin (1844 - 1907)*
Daisy Irwin Clisby (1862 - 1940)*
Corinne Villere Irwin (____ - 1856)*
Thomas Kilshaw Irwin (1835 - 1911)
Lee Fearn Irwin (1840 - 1923)*
Created by: David Cahoon
Record added: Nov 11, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 44188115