Sunday, August 25, 2019

Samuel Irving (1858 -1930): Berkeley mayor killed by car

Samuel Irving
Main Mausoleum, Section E, 28, T1

Samuel Irving, was a former mayor of Berkeley, who was struck and killed by a car driven by a 19-year-old University of California student, who was later exonerated as it was determined that the accident was unavoidable.

Irving himself was an 1879 graduate of the University of California and later served as a UC Regent.

Professionally, Irving worked as the treasurer at Parafine, a paint manufacturing company, as well as President of the California Cider Company. He also served as President of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce.

He was served as mayor of Berkeley from 1915 and survived a recall during his first term orchestrated by the Taxpayers' Protective League. The group claimed that the City Council and Mayor failed to consult with voters and taxpayers about the use of city money. Irving said the group was nothing but a group of disgruntled former and current politicians. He went on to be elected for a second term. 

In the 1915 election, Irving beat former Mayor and prominent Socialist Stitt Wilson. Two incumbent Socialist members of the City Council were also defeated. Upon his election, Irving declared, "Berkeley has been torn by factional differences. It is too big a city to suffer this way. From today on we are going to be united - east, west, north and south."

In 1926, he ran for the United States Senate as a "Dry Democrat," who supported a ban on alcohol, including its production, importation and transportation. Prohibition in the United States ran from 1920-1933.

Sources: Berkeley Daily Gazette, Oakland Tribune,, Find-a-Grave 

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