The Dictionary of American Biography by Scribner had the following comments:
    "...merchant and philanthropist, was born in Jefferson County, Tenn.; he was the son of Shadrach W. and Jane Martin (Hamilton) Inman, and the brother of John Hamilton Inman. His father was a properous lerchant and planter, while his mother seems to have been a woman of unusual strength of character. Young Inman's early life was spent upon his father's plantation until he entered Maryville College. In the autumn of 1860 he entered the sophomore class at Princeton, but left the following April to join the Confederate Army, enlisting as a private in the lst TN Cavalry, and ending as a Lieutenant on staff duty. In 1886 he received the honorary degree of A. M. from Princeton. After the close of the war he worked in Augusta, GA, for a year or more, and, in 1867, with his father, opened a cotton office in Atlanta, which was to be his home until his death. The father returned to Tennessee in 1870, but the business was continued as S. M. Inman & Co. The firm prospered and became one of the largest dealers in cotton in the world, with several branch offices in different parts of the South. In 1896 Inman retired from active direction of the business, but continued to give some
attention to various financial and industrial enterprises. He was one of the organizers and was also a directory of the Southern Railway, the yards of which in Atlanta are named for him. He was directory of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, of the Atlanta Constitution, and of several banks.
He was a close friend and trusted advisor of President Samuel Spencer of the Southern Railway, and of Henry W. Grady, the gifted editor of the Constitution. Earlier he had been financially interested in some of the enterprises of his brother, John Hamilton Inman, to whom sound judgement
had been valuable.
    "While still engaged in active business, he found time to work fir the welfare of his city and section. He was treasurer of the International Cotton Exposition held in Atlanta in 1881, and backed it up when failure seemed certain. He also made possible the opening of the Cotton States and
International Exposition in Atlanta in 1895. After his retirement he gave more and more of his time to civic duties, and, though from choice he never held any public office, he was universally acclaimed the "first citizen of Atlanta." He was influential in founding the Georgia School of Technology, to which he contributed largely in money and time, serving as president of the board of trustees; he gave liberally to Agnes Scott Institute (now Agnes Scott College) and through his example interested others. He made donations to Oglethorpe and Emory universities, and was a member of the committee to choose Rhodes scholars for Georgia. He was prominent in the agitation which led to increased appropriations for public schools and the establishment of agricultural high schools. In fact, he allowed hardly an appeal for any educational, religious, or benevolent object to go unheeded. He is known to have given away more than a million dollars in his lifetime, and the total of his benefactions was probably much greater. He was for many years an elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. The Samuel M. Inman School in that city, erected in 1893-94, was named in his honor. On the day of his funeral courts and schools were closed and business was almost suspended. His sister, Jane W. Inman, left her property, amounting to about $150,000, to Agnes Scott College as a memorial to her brother. Inman was twice married: first, Feb. 19, 1868, to Jennie Dick of Rome, Ga., who died in 1890; and, second, Dec. 12, 1892, to Mildred McPheeters, daughter of Alexander M. McPheeters of Raliegh, N. C., who, with three children of the first marriage, survived him."