At an early age he (John Hamilton Inman) entered, as a clerk, a
Georgia bank of which his uncle
was president. At the outbreak of the war he enlisted in the Confederate army. At the
close of the war his family was penniless and he was obliged to leave home. He came to New
York without money, but achieved extraordinary success. Entering a cotton house as a
clerk, he was made a partner of the firm in 1868, and two years later, taking his former
employer into partnership Mr. Inman founded the firm of Inman, Swan & Company. Mr.
Inman extended his efforts to the development of Southern interests and recources, in
which work he took a commanding place. Indeed, it has been said that he, more than anyone
else since the war, was instrumental in enlisting Northern capital in Southern
development. He secured the investment of several million dollars in coal and iron mines
and in railroad construction in TN. He was a large investor in and director of the
Louisville, Nashville and Richmond Terminal system. He was also interested in various
other southern railways.
In this city his interests were many and varied. He was a director in several banks, insurance companies, and other institutions. Mr. Inman was a member of the original Rapid Transit Commission, but resigned June 8, 1893. He was elected a member of the new commission in January, 1894. He was well known in Atlanta, having often visited his father there. Being the son of pioneer parents, he was early trained to walk in their footsteps, and when only fourteen years old he
joined the Presbyterian Church at Dandridge, TN, with his brothers, Samuel and Hugh. Walker P. Inman, then a mature man, united with this church on the same day. John Inman remained a member of this church during his whole life, and was one of its official managers, Dr. John Hall, an eminent Scotch-Irish divine, being the pastor. Like most men who have achieved fame and fortune, his boyhood received the moral force which comes from a pious parentage.
His summers were spent among the Berkshire hills where he had a comfortable home. The late Cyrus Field and Dr. Henry M. Field were among his neighbors and friends. He numbered other men of this type among his friends. When Mr. Inman went abroad several years ago, he was tendered a banquet by the Liverpool Cotton Exchange. He was a friend and admirer of President Cleveland, and it is said that the President considered his name for the Treasury portfolio.He was an unswerving advocate of sound money, and used his influence on that side of the late contest. He died at his summer home November 5, 1896--
Condensed from the sketches of Mr. Inman found in the Atlanta papers. (Other sources said he died in a sanitarium). This information was from a book by Emma Siggins White, "The Descendants of John Walker of Wigton, Scotland."
INMAN, John Hamilton, financier, born in Jefferson county, Tennessee, 23 October, 1844. His father was a banker and farmer. John left school at fifteen years of age, and became a clerk in a Georgia bank, of which his uncle was president. At the beginning of the civil war he enlisted in the Confederate army. His relatives were impoverished by the war, and in September, 1865, he went to New York city to seek his fortune. He obtained employment in a cotton house, was admitted to a full partnership in the firm in 1868, and in 1870 founded the house of Inman, Swann and Co., in which he associated himself with his former partners. The business increased rapidly, and in a few years he amassed a fortune of several million dollars in the cotton trade, which was attracted to New York city largely through his activity. He turned his attention to the development of southern resources, and, in association with other capitalists who relied on his judgment, invested over $5,000,000 in the enterprises of the Tennessee coal, iron, and railroad company, including the bituminous coal-mines at Birmingham, Alabama, the blast-furnaces in that city, and Bessemer steel works at Ensley City, near there. He induced the investment of over $100,000,000 in southern enterprises, and became a director in companies that possessed more than 10,000 miles of railroad.
Edited Appletons Encyclopedia