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Posted By: Jean Kramer (email)
Date: 3/12/2004 at 09:40:50

Biography reproduced from page 366 of the History of Kossuth and Humboldt Counties, Iowa published in 1884:

Capt. W. H. Ingham was born Nov. 27, 1827, in Herkimer Co., N. Y., and there he was reared, receiving a liberal education. In 1849 he started for the west, traveled extensively over the northwestern States, and located temporarily at Cedar Rapids. He came to Kossuth county Nov. 24, 1854, in company with Mr. Stine, who located land on section 16, 24, 29 and erected a log cabin. In 1857 he married Caroline A. Rice, of Herkimer Co., N. Y. Mr. and Mrs. Ingham have seven children, three sons and four daughters. In 1862 he raised a company to protect the frontier, and was commissioned captain by Gov. Kirkwood. After leaving the service, he returned to Algona, and embarked in the real estate business, forming a partnership with Lewis H. Smith afterwards in banking, which business he now follows. Mr. Ingham has been closely connected with the county for more than one-fourth of a century, and probably no man in the county deserves more credit than he, for its growth and development.

Biography reproduced from page 5 of Volume II of the History of Kossuth County written by Benjamin F. Reed and published in 1913:

William H. Ingham is the oldest living pioneer of Kossuth county and no history of this section of the state would be complete without extended mention of him and his connection with the development and progress of the region in which he lives. He has figured for many years in connection with banking interests here, having for nearly four decades been president of the Kossuth County Bank and is successor, the Kossuth County State Bank. He was born at Ingham’s Mills, Herkimer county, New York, November 27, 1827. His grandfather, Samuel Ingham, was killed by being thrown from a horse when in his twenty-fourth year. He left two sons, William and Harvey. The family were all devoted adherents of the Baptist church and gave to it substantial support. They came of English descent and were ever characterized by loyalty in citizenship and progressiveness in business. Harvey Ingham, the father of William H. Ingham, was born January 11, 1797, and on the 26th of February, 1818, married Sarah S. Schuyler. He ws a son of Samuel Ingham, one of five brothers who came from Connecticut and settled in Herkimer county. After learning the clothier’s business of wool carding and also finishing the cloth ready for garments, he built a factory at the town of Ingham’s Mills. Later he extended his business activities to include the ownership and operation of a sawmill and a flourmill. He there resided until his death, which occurred when he had reached the venerable age of eighty-seven years. He, too, was an active supporter of the Baptist church.

His son, William H. Ingham, attended the public schools until ten years of age, when he was sent to a private boarding school conducted by Elder Beach, a graduate of Yale College, there beginning the study of Greek and higher mathematics. Two years later he went to Little Falls Academy, where he prepared for a college course, but other interests came up turning his attention to business affairs so that his school days were ended when he was seventeen years of age. Soon afterward he joined his brother, Warren R. under the firm name of W. R. & W. H. Ingham for the purpose of burning lime and also manufacturing cheese boxes, the output of which soon reached from sixty to seventy thousand annually. Later an oil mill was added, that had a reputation throughout central New York for its pure quality of linseed oil. This was kept in operation until the spring of 1849, when Mr. Ingham felt a strong desire to see the great west and soon arranged his business affairs so that the early days of summer found him en route for the Mississippi valley. After looking over parts of Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota and enjoying in full measure the sports of field and stream he finally located at Cedar Rapids, in April, 1851. There he engaged in surveying and a land selecting and entering business, the latter in connection with the banking house of Greene & Weare. The government lands were taken up by 1854 so that it was necessary to seek other fields. After making a trip with a party to Nebraska, where he met Chief Logan Fontinelle, of the Omahas, who told him all about the condition of the lands in Nebraska, Kansas and up the Missouri river, he was ready to return. From Bellevue they passed over the town site of Omaha, which had just been platted, but not a person or an improvement could be seen nor had a nail then been driven. From Kanesville and the Mormon settlement on Mosquito creek they returned to Cedar Rapids by way of central and northern Iowa and Clear lake, seeing only one man on the way to the lake in Greene county on the Raccoon river who said that he was fitting up for trapping in the fall. Four families were found by the lake and one at Mason City. This was Mr. Card, whose son was then engaged in laying out a town site to be called Mason City. In passing through the central northern part of the state the party found immense quantities of game, including deer and elk and also saw signs of buffalo, while all kinds of feathered game was to be had in abundance. Mr. Ingham says that one can never forget the cotillions as danced by great groups of Sand Hill cranes. The waters of the Des Moines seemed to be the chosen field for the larger game animals, which indicated to Mr. Ingham and his associates that it would prove a desirable location for stock-raising. There were found groves of oak and black walnut timber and Mr. Ingham decided to return soon and look it over more carefully. In November, in company with D. E. Stine, he reached Fort Dodge but soon learned that the timber had all been entered, so that they started for Kossuth county, where they stopped with Asa C. Call. They were told of a fine grove, that had not been claimed and which would suit Mr. Stine, on the creek now known as Black Cat. After looking it over carefully Mr. Stine claimed the property by writing on a blazing: “This grove is claimed on this 25th day of November, 1854, by D. E. Stine of Cedar Rapids.” Arrangements were then made with Dick Parrott to look after the property until March 1. On returning home Mr. Stine found that his wife would not go to so new a country and was, therefore, obliged to abandon the claim. Mr. Ingham recognized that three hundred acres of large fine oak and black walnut timber was not easily found and when Mr. Stine gave up his claim he arranged with A. L. Seeley, to go with him and secure this claim. In March, 1855, these two were ready for callers at their cabin, which was the second in Kossuth county north of the present Chubb farm.

On the 2d of June, 1850, Horace Schenck with his family settled on the west side of the grove. A few months later Michael Riebhoff and William B. and Robert R. Moore came with their families. With them and Mr. Schenck Mr. Ingham divided up the grove and sold out the claim, so the county gained four excellent families, the first to locate above the present site of Algona. Later Mr. Ingham bought the claim of Lyman Craw on sections 17 and 20 and on this the little family of four prepared for the winter of 1857. The party was made up of Mr. Ingham, A. L. Seeley, Charles E. Putnam and Thomas C. Covel. The weather proved to be cold and stormy, with deep snows, so that all of the larger game was destroyed before spring and the finest hunting ground known came to its end. Only one elk was ever seen later, it straying into the county to be captured by John G. Smith and party, its antlers now ornamenting the county courtroom. They began the improvement of the land and a frame house was put up. This was the first in the county with green blinds and Mr. Ingham still feels just pride in the fact that this farm received the county prize for the best field of corn in 1859, the yield being one hundred and sixty-four bushels of ears to the acre from seventeen acres. The first threshing by machine in Kossuth county was done on this farm in 1859.

In 1865 Mr. Ingham sold the property to Daniel Rice and removed to the site of his present home in Algona. Settlers were coming in then so that he could find plenty to do in locating them on their homestead claims. Soon there was a growing demand for eastern exchange and as none could be secured nearer than Fort Dodge Mr. Ingham opened an account with Austin Corbin & Company of New York city and drew the first draft on January 11, 1867, for one hundred dollars, taken by James L. Paine. His exchange desk was located in a window in the old courthouse so that the light could always be seen whenever the shop was open for business. This plan was pursued until a small building was erected on State street and later Mr. Ingham was joined by Lewis H. Smith on the 1st of January, 1870, in introducing the first banking business in central northern Iowa under the firm name of Ingham & Smith. They soon afterward erected the present building now used by the Kossuth County State Bank. This was the fist financial institution in the county. The second bank in Algona was organized by E. C. Buffum and others in the latter part of 1872. They later joined with Ingham & Smith in the organization of the Kossuth County State Bank. Joseph W. Wadsworth came into the new organization, with which he has remained for nearly forty years. H. E. Rist soon became a part of the working force and still remains so that there has been no change since, with the management of the bank. Soon after the grasshopper raids of 1873 and 1874 arrangements were made with Austin Corbin & Company of New York for real-estate loans that were greatly needed to hold the settlements after the loss of two successive crops. The many small loans so placed in this and adjoining counties in a very short time carried the people over to better times and held the settlements from being entirely broken up. This proved to be the introduction of real-estate loans in the central and northern part of the state, leading soon after to the development of a great demand for this class of paper. Under the management of the officials this bank was become one of the strong, reliable, financial institutions of this part of the state.

Mr. Ingham was united in marriage to Miss Caroline A. Rice, a daughter of Thomas A. Rice, of Fairfield, New York. Her father was one of the founders and supporters of the Fairfield Academy, which was one of the leading schools of the Empire state. Her brother, Lieutenant A. Clark Rice, when prepared for college changed his plans by reason of the Civil war issues and enlisted in 1861, laying down his life on the altar of his country, September 19, 1863. Another brother, Charles E. Rice, now residing at Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, on the expiration of his present term on the bench will have served the state in a judicial capacity for over forty years and is now presiding judge of the superior court. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Ingham were born eight children. Harvey Ingham, born September 8, 1858, was married October 23, 1894, to Nellie E. Hepburn and resides in Des Moines, Iowa. Anna Caroline, born August 15, 1860, died in Chicago on Easter morning of 1895. Mary Harriet, born April 2, 1862, became the wife of Clarence M. Doxsee, August 24, 1887, and resides at Redwood City, California. Helen Vienna, born March 14, 1864, became the wife of Charles W. Russell, August 27, 1890, and is living in Omaha, Nebraska. Charles Sumner, born August 18, 1866, died September 4, 1867. George William, born March 1, 1868, was married April 17, 1895, to Emma Reed and makes his home in Olympia, Washington. Cornelia, born May 10, 1870, was married November 25, 1899, to William J. McChesney and is a resident of Iowa City, Iowa. Thomas Frederick, born August 28, 1872, died in Omaha, Nebraska, January 13, 1903. Mrs. Ingham, who was greatly beloved by all that knew her passed to her final rest on July 11, 1912, deeply mourned by a devoted husband and family.

Mr. Ingham’s military experience came to him as captain of Company A, Northern Border Brigade, with which he served from July 7, 1862, until December 30, 1863. This troop was organized for the defense of the northern border of the state against the Sioux Indians, following the New Ulm massacre. Mr. Ingham has never been an office seeker and has filled no salaried position, but for twenty-five years was a member of the school board and the cause of education found in him a faithful friend and progressive supporter. He originally voted with the whig party and upon its dissolution joined the ranks of the new republican party. He is a member of the Masonic lodge in Algona but is not affiliated with any other fraternal organization at the present time. He has given liberal support to nearly all of the different churches of his community and is a member of the Congregational society. He has traveled life’s journey for eighty-five years and has, therefore, been a witness of the most momentous events which have marked the history of the country following the Revolutionary war. Moreover, he has borne active and helpful part in the work of early progress and improvement in this section of Iowa, has seen its wild lands converted into fine farms, its cabin homes replaced by attractive residences, its tiny hamlets converted into enterprising towns and cities, while all of the evidences of pioneer life have been replaced by those of modern civilization. He relates many interesting incidents of the early days and has at all times commanded the respect and high regard of his fellow townsmen by reason of his loyalty in citizenship and his capability and progressiveness in business. Starting out in life in early manhood, he was ever actuated by high and honorable purpose and laudable ambition and gradually won a position among the most substantial residents of his adopted county, but the most envious cannot grudge him his success, so honorably has it been won and so worthily used.

(Photos of William H. Ingham and Caroline A. Ingham are included in the book)


Kossuth Biographies maintained by Linda Ziemann.
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