Thomas E. Inman Was Captain at Fort Abercrombie - Henning Once Pease Prairie
In 1871 two covered wagons drawn by ox teams, passed for a few hours at Pease's Prairie which is now called Henning. The wagons contained two pioneer families, looking for homesteads in the frontier country. They were the families of Thomas Eddy Inman, a Baptist minister, and his son John B. Inman and his wife and little family. After eating their camp dinner, they slowly proceeded to their homestead sites about eight miles further on, in what is now known as Inman township, named after them, the first white settlers in that part of the county.
Before coming to Inman township, Mr. Thomas E. Inman was captain of Fort Abercrombie, which is in Abercrombie, N.D. His son, John B. Inman was drummer boy in Company I, Fourth Minnesota Infantry, and served throughout the Civil War. In later life, during 1926, John B. Inman was Commander-in-Chief of the G.A.R.
These two pioneer families had a huge task before them. They built two log cabins on adjoining homesteads, and started in clearing the land. One year after their arrival, Everett Inman was born, the son of Mr. and Mrs. John B. Inman, the first white child in that section. The Indians called him the white papoose.
The Indians were steadily being pushed farther west, and in consequence were none to friendly to the whites. Mr. Thomas E. Inman, preaching in Parkers Prarie, twelve miles from his home, nver failed to shoulder his trusty old gun while walking the twelve long miles. Many were the bear he tracked and the deer he shot.
Shortly after they arrived, other white settlers began to homestead near them. They always stopped at the two little log cabins and remained overnight with the Inmans. Bunks were put down for them to sleep on, and after everyone was inside the cabin, the last bunk was pushed against the door for protection.
One day a group of about ten Indians filed down to the Inman homestead and peered in at the small window. The two women were alone in the house whith the white papoose. In they came, one at a time, and silently seated themselves on the floor. Mrs. Inman was a a loss as to how to get rid of them. There was not enough in the house to feed them all. Suddenly, one of the Indians spied her switch of hair, which had been washed and hung near the fire to dry. He stared at it a long time, and then grunted "heap good squaw" That saved the day, as the Indians filed out as silently as they came in.
Everett Inman still resides in the township which bears his name, although not on the original homestead.
Written by: Mrs. Hattie M. Palzer, Grand-daughter of John B. Inman
(Source: Fergus Falls (Minn.) Daily Journal; reproduced from the biographical file in the Otter Tail County Historical Society Archives, Fergus Falls, Minnesota)
Submitted by Gregory A. Inman