Biography of Irving S. Catlin of Barnesville, Minnesota

Irving S. Catlin, of the firm of Catlin Brothers, dealers in drugs, jewelry and notions, at Barnesville, Minnesota, is a native of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, and was born April 23, 1871, the youngest son of Nelson and Elizabeth (Keyes) Catlin. The father, born in Litchfield, Herkimer county, New York, was of English lineage. He was a school teacher in early life, and in the early days purchased and settled on a partially improved farm in Walworth county, Wisconsin. He was a man of influence in his community and served as justice of the peace, town supervisor, township superintendent of schools, and other local offices. He met an accidental death, September 23, 1876, and was survived by his widow and two sons and two daughters. The mother was a native of Rome, New York. She died at the family homestead in 1897.

Our subject, who was five years old at the time of his father’s death, grew up on the home farm, acquiring a good common and high school education, and on attaining his majority, went to Barnesville in the Red River valley, and began life on his own account. He spent four years in the drug store of Dr. Robert Paterson, preparatory to taking a course of study, and then attended the Northwestern School of Pharmacy, at St. Paul, passing an examination before the state board and receiving his diploma in 1896.

Returning to Barnesville and established himself in the drug business in a small way, associated with his brother, Frank A. Catlin. In the fall of 1896 the business was moved into the building which they purchased, and which is known as Catlin block. A substantial two-story building, 25×80 feet, with physicians and attorneys’ offices on the second floor.

Mr. Catlin is a man of wide popularity, a thorough man. and alive to all that pertains to the welfare of his town. He served as postmaster from 1897 to 1906, under appointment by Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt, and was a member of the city council when the water works were installed. He is a Republican and active in the councils of his party. He is a member of Lodge 119 Knights of Pythias, in which he has passed all the chairs; belongs to the Masonic Order, is an active member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and of the Modern Woodmen of America, and also belongs to the Royal Arcanum.

He has dealt extensively in lands outside of his regular business, and owns a quarter section in Wilkin county, and a quarter section in Clay county, both valuable tracts in a rapidly developing section.

In September, 1903, Mr. Catlin married Miss Martha, daughter of Mr. J. C. Kneff, a prominent man of Fergus Falls. They have one child, Harriet Aleta, born February 15, 1908.


C.F. Cooper & Company, History of the Red River Valley, Past And Present: Including an Account of the Counties, Cities, Towns And Villages of the Valley From the Time of Their First Settlement And Formation, volumes 1-2; Grand Forks: Herald printing company, 1909.

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