ROBERT D. INMAN -|
OUR EARLIEST CHAIRMAN
Robert D. Inman was born in Miami County, Ohio, on August 11, 1853.
He was the oldest of two sons and two daughters of Asa and Lucinda
Inman. The family first came to America in the seventeenth century,
immigrating from England and settling in Vermont. Inman's paternal
grandfather, Ahab Inman, was born to the emigrant family in that state.
He became a pioneer of Miami County, Ohio and served the colonies in the
American Revolutionary War.
Asa Inman, Robert's father, was a natural mechanic, a trait that
Robert would inherit. During the Civil War, Asa enlisted in the service
and at the battle of Shilo, he was killed while defending the stars and
stripes. His wife reared Robert and the younger brother and sisters.
Robert attended schools when he could, but as the oldest boy he was
expected to spend most of his time assisting the family in making a
living. At the age of eight, he began his career as a towboy on the old
Ohio canal. He worked in Ohio until age twelve when he joined a train of
emigrants bound for the Pacific coast. After seven months, he arrived in
Oregon and worked for a time on a farm. In June 1869, at the age of
sixteen, he moved to Portland, where he worked for the west side road
cutting ties. Following that, he worked as a brakeman and fireman with
the railroad. After that he worked for two years with the John Wilson
circus, and in 1875 was hired by the Willamette steam mills. He was
quickly promoted to a position in the machinist department, where he
remained for seven years. He later worked with the Northern Pacific
Lumber Company as a one-quarter owner and director.
In 1890, Robert entered into a partnership with Johan Poulsen, and
the Inman-Poulsen Lumber Company was incorporated with |
President. The company developed into the largest lumber operation in
the state of Oregon at the time and one of the largest on the Pacific
In 1892 Robert was elected to the State Legislature, serving in the
1893 session. He was elected to the State Senate on the Citizen's
ticket in 1900 and served in the 1901 session. He resigned this position
when he was nominated for the office of mayor of Portland, an election he
In 1895 he was elected as the first chairman to lead a newly formed manufacturing
association called the Manufacturers Association of the
Northwest, AOI's earliest predecessor. He served in this position for
The book History of Oregon, III describes our first chairman:
"During his lifetime, there was no man in Portland or in the state of
Oregon, who was more universally respected than Robert D. Inman. His
life was a living illustration of what can be accomplished if one but has
the perseverance. His motto has been "honesty and fairness to all," and
with the natural business sagacity with which he seemed to be endowed,
Mr. Inman stopped at nothing."
History of Oregon, III 979.1 C181, Portrait and
Biographical Record of Western Oregon, p.147 92-P832P