John William Harris "Bill" Irby
- Born: 30 Jan 1856, Union County, North Carolina
- Marriage: Cleopatra Beacham on 2 Jan 1879 in Arkansas
- Died: 27 May 1934, Union County, Arkansas at age 78
- Buried: Hopewell Cemetery, Uniion County, Arkansas
Noted events in his life were:
• Obituary, May 1934, Union County, Arkansas. John William Harris Irby was born in Union County, North Carolina, first born son of James Hogan Irby and his wife Mahalia Ann Griffin, who were married 26 Sept. 1854. His paternal grandparents was Coleman Irby and his wife Sarah Hoffman, and his maternal grandparents were Thomas M. Griffin and his wife Elizabeth Anderson.
J. W. H. Irby, called Bill, married Cleopatra "Patra" Beachum (1861-1931) on 2 Jan. 1879, and they lived in Wadesboro, NC for a time, where they kept a hotel, and Mr. Irby had a blacksmith shop and stables. They went to Arkansas in 1890, and settled on a farm near El Dorado. J. W. H. Irby's maternal grandparents, Thomas and Elizabeth Griffin went along with them.
From a history of the Irby family that was sent to me by Gary Stegall of Hawkins, Texas, "Grandma and Grandpa Irby wanted to be self-sufficient and have an independent way of life; but the farm land at that time in North Carolina was 'worn out' and there were severe problems with insects destroying the crops. They heard there was good land to be bought inexpensively 'out west,' go Grandpa Irby rode the train west to look for a new place for his family to live. Although he had planned to go farther west, he was so impressed with the beauty of Arkansas that he decided to settle there.
"In Arkansas, J. W. H. and Pattrie did become self-sufficient. Grandpa became a prosperous farmer, growing cotton, corn, sugar cane, raising cattle, etc. He built a blacksmith shop, a tannery, a syrup mill, a grist mill, a brick kiln, a lumber mill, and a cotton gin. He made work shoes for the family, and built a spinning wheel and a loom for Grandma." In fact, ti sounds like Mr. Irby could do just about anything! He also donated land for a school to be built near the church in their community, and built a "Creole cottage" as the family home place when they left their original farm in 1924. Patra Irby planted the yard of this lovely home with many varieties of beautiful flowers. According to a granddaughter Anna Bess, "Bees, hummingbirds and butterflies kept the yard humming...It was a lovely place; I still remember the smell of the new wood and the flowers."
Patra and Bill Irby were devout Christians, and, according to another part of the memoir written by their granddaughter Anna Bess, "Grandma and Grandpa were creative and talented and worked very hard all their lives, and we are fortunate to have the start they gave us."
The children of Bill and Patra Irby were: James Fincher Irby (18 Jan. 1880, died in infancy), Franklin Lorenzo Irby (25 Jan. 1881-5 Aug. 1968, m. Estelle Royce, he became a doctor and owned a hospital in El Dorado, Ark.),Walter Williams Irby (10 Feb. 1883-12 May 1963, m. Geneva Dell Owens, 8 children), Ada Bertha Irby (2 April 1885-before Dec. 1890), Arlington S. Irby (6 Jan. 1888-?, m. Sally A. Mason, 6 children), Mamie Jane Irby (15 Dec. 1890-6 June 1892), Cleo Bessie Irby (5 Oct. 1893-25 July 1969, m. Jesse Clyde Stegall, 9 children), Annie Clara Irby (2 Jan. 1896, m Walter Baker), Pettie Mae (Patricia?)Irby (16 Aug. 1898-2 Feb. 1968, m. James Vaelma Gunn. She became a college professor at Ouitchita Baptist College, Arkadelphia, Ark.).
John married Cleopatra Beacham, daughter of Jeremiah Washington Beacham and Mary Jane Taylor, on 2 Jan 1879 in Arkansas. (Cleopatra Beacham was born on 5 Oct 1861 in Anson County, North Carolina, died on 14 May 1931 in Union County, Arkansas and was buried in Hopewell Cemetery, Uniion County, Arkansas.)