William G. Irwin

At Rest at Cypress Lawn: William G. Irwin (1843 –1914)

William Irwin 1

Young William came with his family from England to California at the onset of the California Gold Rush, which eventually made its way to Hawaii. He was in the right place at the right time to make a fortune in the sugar plantation market.

After successful ventures, California “Sugar King” Claus Spreckels offered him a partnership in 1881. It was a union that would come to include subsidiaries in banking activities and shipbuilding.

The Irwin plantation home in Ho’okuleana, Hawaii.
The Irwin plantation home in Ho’okuleana, Hawaii.

Two decades later, after amassing a fortune in his association with Spreckels, Irwin moved away from his plantation activities and relocated to San Francisco, where he continued his affiliations with financial institutions.


  • Irwin remained a British citizen throughout his life. His estate had an estimated worth in excess of $10,000,000 (equivalent to over $250 million in today’s dollars), the bulk of which went to his widow.
  • His only child, Helene, married the first time into the wealthy Crocker family of California. Her second marriage was to Paul I. Fagan, who became the owner of the San Francisco Seals baseball team.

Want to visit Irwin’s final resting place? Click here to view an interactive map of our Memorial Park.