George W. Irvin (ref: 942-971)


Photograph courtesy of Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives




GEORGE W. IRVIN, Sixth U.S. Marshal of Montana Territory and Montana


George W. Irvin was born February 22, 1844 at Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Pennsylvania, southern Illinois and the Dubuque, Iowa area. At the start of the Civil War he enlisted in a Kansas Volunteer Regiment, but entire company was disbanded after only three months of service. In 1863, Irvin, looking for adventure elsewhere; joined the John Bozeman Expedition on an overland trip to Idaho Territory. In August of that year, Irvin is credited with giving Bozeman Pass it's name. Camping at the site of present day Bozeman, Montana; the men of the expedition learned of the gold strike at Alder Gulch. Irvin left the group and spent the next two years engaged in mining on California Gulch.


Irvin commenced his long career in public service with his appointment as clerk of the commission to codify Montana Territorial laws in 1865. The following year he became Assistant Assessor of Internal Revenue at Deer Lodge, while also serving as a Deputy United States Marshal. In 1866 he held the position as the first Postmaster of Deer Lodge and remained in that capacity for two years. From 1871 until 1873, Irvin contracted for and surveyed the Flint Creek and Bitterroot Valleys. Irvin held the post of Under-Sheriff of Deer Lodge County from 1874 until 1876, when he secured the job as Public Administrator of that county and subsequently Silverbow County until 1879. In that year, Irvin became the clerk of the Second Judicial District and remained so employed until elected Sheriff of Silverbow County in 1882.


President Benjamin Harrison appointed Irvin as United States Marshal in 1889 and held the post until his resignation in 1890. Irvin was the Montana State Commissioner of Mineral Lands from 1893 to 1894, and he was appointed Postmaster of Butte in March, 1898. "Uncle George" was serving in his third term at the Butte Post Office at the time of death, March 18, 1907. He was laid to rest at Mount Moriah Cemetery in Butte.




1. History of Montana, Helen Fisk Sanders, Montana Hist. Soc.

2. Biographical Sketch of Geo. W. Irvin, Charles S. Warren, M.H.S.