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State University Libraries
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Pullman, WA 99164-5610 USA
Washington State University Libraries acquired the papers of William Inman from Robert Ackermann and John Bodley, WSU anthropology professors, in January 1994. It was accessioned as MS 94-03. Ackermann and Bodley acquired the papers from an unknown source who retrieved it from the ruins of the Colfax Lodge, No. 14, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellow, which was extensively damaged in a fire in 1993. Robert W. Hadlow processed the papers in March 1994.
William A. Inman was born in Limestone County , Alabama, on 22 January 1843. By the time he was five years old, Inman's family moved to Indiana. Within the next few years both parents died leaving Inman homeless. During the next few years, Inman worked as a hired hand for farmers. Relatives from Greene County, Missouri, sent for him and he lived with them until he became an adult. He received an education and also apprenticed in a printer's shop.
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Inman and his Missouri family sided with the Union. In December 1861, he enlisted in Company H, Phelp's six-month infantry regiment, of the Missouri volunteers. He left this unit the following May and resumed his work in the printing business. In July 1862, Inman again enlisted. This time he became a member of the Eighth Missouri Volunteer Cavalry's Company K. Inman rapidly moved up the officer ranks as he participated in the Battle of Pea Ridge, which cleared Rebel forces from Missouri and achieved Union control of Arkansas, and the Battle of Prairie Grove, which kept northwest Arkansas under Union control. Finally, he participated in the Union siege of Little Rock, Arkansas. Inman resigned in October 1864, in Arkansas, as a captain.
From 1866 through 1868, Inman was a superintendent and agent for the Freedmen's Bureau in Craighead, Green, and Poinsett counties of Arkansas. In his spare time, he read law. In June 1867, Inman was admitted to the bar in Jonesboro, Arkansas. In 1868, he was appointed prosecuting attorney of the 3rd Judicial Circuit, at Batesville. Six year later, Inman moved to Seattle, Washington Territory. Inman practiced law in Washington. He moved from Seattle to Port Townsend in 1877 and then to Colfax two years later. He lived in Colfax for the next forty-five years, making a long and eventful career as a member of the legal profession. By 1880, Inman was elected probate judge and served until the position was abolished in 1890. He also served as city clerk for Colfax and director and clerk of the district school. He was elected prosecuting attorney for Whitman County in 1898.
Judge Inman was a member of several fraternal organizations: the Order of United Artisans, the Grand Army of the Republic, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Of these, he attained the ranks of grand master of the United Workmen; vice commander of the department of Washington, G.A.R.; and all the offices in the I.O.O.F. In other activities, Inman was served as an officer in the Colfax Congregational Church and as president of the Whitman County Bar Association. In politics, he was a Republican. Judge Inman married twice: to Hannah Crosson, in April 1865 (she died in 1900); to Mrs. Margaret M. Donnelly, in March 1901. He had five children by his first wife. Inman died on 11 August 1924, eight months after he suffered a stroke. His second wife and three of his children, Maggie Jane Inman Blair, William C. Inman, and Frank Inman, survived him.
ARRANGEMENT AND DESCRIPTION
The William A. Inman Papers contains both items of a personal nature and documents associated with the Colfax Lodge, No. 14, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. They are arranged into three series. The first contains documents pertaining to Inman's careers as an agent with the Freedmen's Bureau in Arkansas and his law career in Arkansas and Washington Territory. It also includes certificates documenting Inman's membership in the I.O.O.F. The second series contains several records of the Colfax Lodge, No. 14, of the I.O.O.F. Many of them are simply newsletters or invitations about social functions with nearby lodges. Other items include legal documents pertaining to the lodge's meeting hall and its furnishings. The third series contains oversize documents. Most are licenses allowing Inman to practice law or serve as a notary public.
SERIES LIST CONTAINERS Series 1. Personal Papers of W. A. Inman 1 Series 2. Papers of Colfax Lodge, No. 14, I.O.O.F. 1 Series 3. Certificates and Broadsides 1 Container List Box Folder
Series 1. Personal Papers of W. A. Inman 1 1 Special Orders No. 235, Extract, Headquarters, Department of Arkansas, etc., 27 Sept 1864, Discharge of Captain William A. Inman 2 President's Proclamation of May 29th 1865 [Andrew Johnson's Amnesty Proclamation] [copy made by Inman with his own comments, 2 June 1865] 3 Special Order No. 22, J. W. Sprague to W. A. Johnson, 1 March 1866, Appointment of Inman as Superintendent of Refugees, Freedman, and Abandoned Lands for Craighead, Green, and Poinsett counties, Arkansas 4 "Barbacue [sic] and Railroad" Meeting, Jonesboro, Arkansas, 4 July 1866, recollections by Inman 5 Appointment, War Department, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 4 March 1867, appointing Inman as an agent 6 License to Practice Law, Arkansas, 4 June 1867 7 Autobiography, William A. Inman, finished 16 January 1869, and Letters to Hannah Inman, 22 January 1867, 1868, 1869 8 Letter of Reference for W. A. Inman by W. Byers, Pres. of Office of the Secretary of the Bar Assoc. of the 3rd Judicial Circuit of Arkansas, 1 February 1875 9 License to Practice Law, Washington Terr., August 1875 10 Commission as Notary Public, Washington Territory, 19 December 1877 11 I.O.O.F. Membership Documents, W. A. Inman, withdrawal from Independent Lodge, No. 4, Batesville, Ark., 8 June 1877 and visiting membership certificate, Mount Baker Lodge, No. 9, Port Townsend, W.T., 8 November 1879 Series 2. Papers of Colfax Lodge, No. 14, I.O.O.F. 12 Abstract of Title, Lot 3, Block 10, Colfax, W.T., 1886 13 First Mortgage Real Estate Bond, 5 November 1889, Colfax Lodge, No. 14, I.O.O.F., and Abbot Low Mills 14 Washington Water Power Co. statements for electricity and electrical fixtures for lodge, 1913 15 Financial Reports, 1922-23 16 Letter, Board of Trustees, I.O.O.F. No. 14 to Members, 20 February 1923, re: purchasing 1/2 of Knights of Pythias, No. 4, meeting hall in Colfax 17 Abstract of Title, Lots 2 and 3, Block 10, Colfax, Wash., 1925, Colfax Lodge, No. 4, Knights of Pythias, and Colfax Lodge, No. 14, I.O.O.F. meeting hall 18 Lease Agreement, Colfax Lodge, No. 14, of the I.O.O.F. and Adolph Kroll, 1 October 1926 19 Letter, R. M. Hanna to Reuben Green, 17 February 1927, re: Title Abstracts, I.O.O.F., Colfax Lodge, No. 14 20 I.O.O.F. Newsletters, 1913-34, eastern Washington 21 I.O.O.F. Cemetery Legal Description and Map, 1907 and 1943 22 Miscellaneous Receipts, Papers, Notices Series 3. Certificates and Broadsides [oversize] 23 Certificate, State of Arkansas, Justice of Peace, 15 December 1865 Broadside, Roster of Officers and Civilians on Duty in the Bureau Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned lands, for Arkansas, 1 September 1867 Certificate, State of Arkansas, Prosecuting Attorney, 3rd Judicial Circuit, 8 December 1868 Certificate, State of Arkansas, Prosecuting Attorney, 3rd Judicial Circuit, 25 April 1873 Certificate, Territory of Washington, Notary Public, 22 February 1877 Certificate, Grand Army of the Republic, Spokane Falls, Washington Territory, Aid on Staff of Department Commander, 28 August 1887 Certificate, State of Washington, Notary Public, 11 February 1895
From History of Whitman County Pages 344-345
JUDGE WILLIAM A. INMAN. - The esteemed pioneer whose name gives caption to this article has won for himself an honored place in the annals of the Palouse country by the faithfulness with which he has performed every duty, public or private, which might devolve upon him, and by the magnanimity and breadth of mind which have ever characterized him in all the relations of life. Professionally he has always maintained due regard for the dignity of his high calling, his influence being ever exerted in such a way as to elevate rather than to degrade the practice of law.
Our subject was born in Limestone county, Alabama, in 1843, but began his education in Indiana, to which state his parents removed him when he was five years old. That continued to be his home state until 1857, when the family again moved, going to Greene county, Missouri, where his home was until the outbreak of the war.
Notwithstanding the fact that he had been born south of the Mason-Dixon line, Judge Inman was ready to respond with true loyalty when the call of patriotism summoned him to the defense of his country's flag, and the faithfulness of his service is abundantly attested by the fact that he was promoted step by step from the ranks to the captaincy. He enlisted first on December 19, 1861, in Company H, Phelp's Six-month Infantry Regiment, in which he served until May following. On the anniversary of the nation's birth, 1862, he re-enlisted, becoming a member of the Eighth Missouri Volunteer Cavalry, which was assigned to service in Missouri and Arkansas. He participated in the battles of Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove and the capture of Little Rock, Arkansas, also in numerous other engagements and
skirmishes, remaining with his regiment throughout all of its campaigns until October 24, 1864, when he resigned his captaincy and retired from the army.
In 1865 he became a resident of the state of Arkansas, in which commonwealth he continued to live for the ensuing ten years. During the years 1866-78 he was superintendent of the Freedmen's Bureau, but he had been devoting all spare time to professional study, and in June, 1867, he was admitted, at Jonesborough, Arkansas, to all the rights of an attorney at law.
In 1868 he was appointed prosecuting attorney of the Batesville circuit, so had to change his residence to the city of that name. After discharging the duties of that responsible office for six years he removed to Seattle, Washington, where he maintained a law office nearly two years. In February, 1877, he removed to Port Townsend and thence in November, 1879, to Colfax, in which city he has ever since practiced with success.
Before he had been here a year his abilities were so far recognized that the electors chose him for the office of probate judge, and his faithful and able performance of his duties as such officer abundantly justified their choice. During the years 1889 and 1890, also, he held the same office fifteen months under special appointment. The Judge has also served as city clerk of Colfax, director and clerk of the district school and in numerous other capacities. In 1898 he was elected prosecuting attorney of the county, and he brought to the discharge of his duties as such a degree of experience and skill certainly not exceeded in the history of the office of this county. In politics he is a Republican.
Judge Inman is quite an active man in fraternal circles, being identified with the local organizations of the I.O.O.F., United Artisan, A. O. U. W., in which he is a past grand master worksman, and the G. A. R.
In April, 1865, in Arkansas, the marriage of our subject and Miss Hanna A. Crosson, of Illinois, was duly solemnized. They became parents of eight children namely: Maggie, wife of Pro. Blair of Spokane; William C., Roy and Frank, living; Edwin M., Laclede, Sadie B. and Gracie deceased. Mrs. Inman died January 16, 1900. The judge was married again March 20, 1901, at Colfax, to Mrs. M. M. Donnelly, of Colfax.