Letters to

Buis T. Inman


Allan L. Poe
1978 - 79

This is part 2 of a series of background notes on the Inman Family provided by Buis T. Inman and his family. These are the two letters, from Allan L. Poe, that were cited by Buis T. Inman in his history of the Inman family. I reproduce these letters to offer you more insight into our family's heritage. They are reproduced as closely to the originals as possible. I hope they will be of use to you in your research.

Jim Williams
504 N. 7th
Temple, TX 76501
(817) 771-2577


Dear Mr. Inman:

I must apologize for the delay in answering your letter, but I have been swamped with work - not to mention the delays occasioned by the Holiday season - and have not had a free moment to consider your request.

I regret that at present I have far more work on hand than I can do for months to come; but in any event I am doubtful that there is anything much that I could do for you that would be particularly helpful. Due to personal responsibilities I am not free to travel, nor am I likely to be at any foreseeable time.

Your request was not very specific, so I am uncertain just what it is you want to know. I can tell you very briefly what little I can recall offhand about these Inmans; perhaps this may at least enable you to narrow the field of your search.

As far as I know, this family never lived in the present Catawba county; their location was in what is now the extreme western edge of the present Burke county, and the adjacent area in eastern McDowell county (which was formed from Burke in 1843). They appear to have come to this section sometime in the late 1760's, probably from Virginia. Ezekial and Hezekiah are the first to appear in local records, in 1771.

Like you, I have guessed that Ezekial was probably the father of most or all of the others, though I have seen no clear proof of this; however, he soon disappears from the records here, which may mean that he died early. I am unsure whether Hezekiah was his brother or son. Besides the three you mention - Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - there was also a Benjamin Inman in the same section at the time of the Revolution. Hezekiah and Abednego (and perhaps Ezekial) settled on Linville River, in what is still Burke county, and apparently Meshach also lived on that stream. Shadrach settled a little westward, in the present McDowell county, on a stream which has ever since been called Shadrick's Creek; this creek and Linville River both empty into the north side of the Catawba River. Benjamin Inman settled on the north side of the Catawba below the mouth of Shadrick's Creek and above the mouth of Linville River.

All of these disappeared from this area either during or shortly after the Revolution, except for Samuel (son of Meshach), who sold out on Linville River in 1795; a younger Hezekiah, also on Linville, who was still there as late as 1800, but subsequently left; and one Henry Inman (probably born in the late 1760's), who continued indefinitely in the Shadrick's Creek area, raised a large family and may have died there, after 1820. Abednego appears to have gone to Tennessee during the early part of the Revolution, or before; Shadrach went there after the war (he switched sides during the war and became a Tory briefly, but later took the oath of allegiance to the state). ***Burke was formed in 1777 from Rowan county; you would need to look in the Rowan records for any early mention of these Inmans here.

I might be able to do a limited amount of work for you at a future date, but am afraid that at the present that would be impossible. Good luck in continuing your search.


                      s/ Allan L. Poe




Dear Mr. Inman:

Thank you so much for your kind letter and the check, which was wholly unexpected and therefore all the more welcome. In return, I'm afraid all I can do is give you a few odds and ends of Inman data, much of which you probably already have; but with luck you may be able to find an item or two that will be of some use to you. We do seem to be in somewhat similar situations, working with handicaps of various kinds, but I fear that much of my correspondence goes unanswered, not just for months, but for years. I do attempt to answer, eventually, any inquiries that include return postage.

I expect it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to prove by conclusive documentary evidence the parentage of your Lazarus Inman, short of discovering a family Bible that contains the desired information -and that kind of luck is rare. Meshach Inman was presumably a fairly young man when he was killed, and it is unlikely that he left a will; in that case if he died prior to 1784 (and I imagine he must have), his real estate would have descended, under the laws of inheritance then in force in North Carolina, to his eldest son alone, to the exclusion of any younger sons and any daughters, but subject to his widow's dower (a life estate in 1/3 of the land). I assume that Samuel was the eldest son, which no doubt accounts for his possession of the land, two tracts on Linville River, consisting of 160 acres and 200 acres respectively, which Samuel Inman sold in 1795 to Benjamin Moore, after which Samuel disappears from the Burke county records. I am familiar with this land, which is a well-known place, part of it is still in the possession of some of Benjamin Moore's descendants; it was a rather valuable plantation, afterwards known by the name of Fonta Flora, but much of it now lies beneath the waters of Lake James. The Moores were a family of considerable consequence in the county for several generations. Benjamin Moore had a sort of indirect connection with the Inmans; his wife, nee Elizabeth Wakefield, had an older sister, Margaret Wakefield, who married Abraham Collet, a rich Burke county planter, and left three children, of whom the second, Rachel Collet (born ca 1770) married and Inman -unfortunately we don't know which Inman (could it have been Samuel? Rachel's age seems about right for Samuel's wife). You did not mention whether you had any information as to the identity of the wives of Meshach Inman and his son Lazarus, nor whether Meshach's widow married again (as seems likely, unless she too died early). If you do have clues as to either, they might provide help in trying to trace the movements of Lazarus Inman, which I judge is something you need to do.

As to the identity of Capt. Shadrach Inman, killed at Musgrove's Mill, I have seen it asserted that he was a nephew of Shadrach (the Tory) of Burke County, but personally I doubt this. Capt. Shadrach was a resident of South Carolina and I would hazard a guess that he was a son or brother of John Inman, who settled in what became Newberry county SC as early as 1767, and was still there in 1790. Capt. Shadrach's widow (given name not stated in my note) received a bounty land grant in Washington county, Georgia, in 1784, at the same time that one Capt. Joshua Inman received a similar grant in the same county, suggesting a relationship between the two captains.

Though I know of no positive proof, I feel reasonably certain that your Meshach and his brothers were sons of Ezekial Inman; no record has been found of any early John Inman in Burke. I have no knowledge of Ezekial's wife, but if you have reason to believe that she was either a Hardin or a Hardee, I would say Hardin is more likely. I know of no early family in Burke named Hardee (though in the 19th century there was a Hardy family in the portion that became McDowell county), but John Hardin was an early Revolutionary leader in Burke - a militia captain in 1775 (while that section was still a part of Rowan county), and one of the three commissioners appointed to survey the line between Rowan and Burke in 1777. I believe he lived at that time on Hunting Creek, near the site of Morganton, but later moved to the North Cove (present McDowell county), a location not far from the Inmans. In the adjacent county of Rutherford there was also a prominent Hardin (sometimes Harden) family, of whom Benjamin Hardin and Capt. Joseph Hardin were early Revolutionary leaders (when Rutherford was a part of Tryon county); Joseph later removed to Tennessee, where he had large land grants, and I have seen it asserted that Hardin county, Tenn., is named for him.

The Inmans who were in Burke before the Revolution (when it was western Rowan county) seem to have been Ezekial, Hezekiah (Sr), Benjamin, and the three brothers - presumed sons of Ezekial - named Shadrach,Meshach and Abednego; all lived in the same neighborhood. They must have been there as early as 1767, when Shadrach (1747 - 1831) married a McPheeters (often McPeters and other spellings), a family who lived just above the mouth of Linville River, near or adjoining some of the Inmans (I think Benjamin Inman's lands, at least, joined the McPheeters place). I don't know what became of most of these early Inmans, except for Abednego (1752 - 1831), who seems to have moved to Tennessee during the Revolution, and eventually settled in Jefferson county; and Shadrach, who went to Tennessee after the close of the war, between 1782 and 1787 (one of these was the ancestor - Shadrach, I think - of the Atlanta millionaire philanthropist Samuel Martin Inman).

In the late 18th century, a younger and smaller crop of Inmans show up in the section of Burke -Samuel (son of Meshach); Hezekiah Jr (not necessarily a son of Hezekiah Sr); Hyatt Inman and Henry Inman, of whom only Henry remained in the county for any length of time. All of these were young men in the 1790's, so were presumably born in the 1760's and 1770's. There was a Hyatt family in the same vicinity (among them men named Edward, Hezekiah, Seth and Simon), and the name of Hyatt Inman makes it virtually certain that one of the earlier Inmans here had married into this Hyatt family. Shadrach Inman was indicted for Toryism in 1782 along with two of his neighbors - Charles McPheeters (his brother-in-law) and Thomas Young, who married Naomi Hyatt.

I think I had already mentioned to you that I had noticed some Inmans in Pittsylvania county, Virginia, whose names suggest a relationship to those in Burke county, NC. A Henry Inman (married 1803) and Shadrach Inman (married 1805) were probably sons of William Inman & wife Susannah, of Pittsylvania county. Miscellaneous Inmans appear in some other Virginia counties.

The name is fairly rare in North Carolina. There were some Inmans in Buncombe and Haywood counties who came from South Carolina (probably either Newberry or Greenville counties); a rural community and post office called Inman is located in Haywood county, and derives its name, I think, from Joshua Inman, born ca 1800 in South Carolina, who became a county justice in Haywood. There is nothing that particularly suggests these people were closely related to the Inmans of Burke, though as I recall the name Benjamin does appear among them.

I happen to have a copy of the published marriage bonds of Williamson county, Tenn. (given to me by Mrs. Gardiner, one of the compilers, for whom I had done some work in North Carolina), and see that a number of other Inmans married there besides your Benjamin, including several earlier marriages of a man or men named Ezekial Inman. I was struck by the name of the bondsman for one of these marriages of an Ezekial -viz., Hamilton Montgomery. A man of this name was a near neighbor of the Inmans in Burke during the 1780's, but left the county about 1790, and I do not know his further history - as this is a comparatively uncommon name (or combination of names), its occurrence in Williamson county in connection with an Ezekial Inman looks like more than mere coincidence. Could Hamilton Montgomery have married the widow of Meshach Inman?

I also noted with interest the name of your Benjamin Inman's bondsman in 1825 - Thomas Hulme. I know something of this man's origins, as he was born here on the Yadkin River, in Wilkes (now Caldwell) county, about 10 miles from Lenoir, on a farm with which I am well acquainted because it belonged for generations to my mother's family. Do you know whether he was in any way related to, or connected with, your Benjamin Inman or his bride Jane Alexander? (Incidentally, there were plenty of Alexanders in Burke - but this is a common surname as it is, comparatively).

That about concludes the miscellanea that I have on the subject of the Inmans of Burke; I hope you may find something useful in it.

Best wishes for your success in continuing your search.


                      s/ Allan L. Poe