Transcribed by Pamela Wagler from: Biographical Review of Des Moines County, Iowa: Containing Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of Many of the Prominent Citizens of To-day and Also of the Past, Hobart Publishing Company, Chicago, 1905.


For a score of years William Delashmuth Inghram occupied a prominent place in the life and thought of Des Moines county as a leader in civic and educational activities, in both of which fields of endeavor he was widely known and influential, being recognized as a natural leader and the possessor of exceptional gifts and powers. A native son of Iowa, he was born in the year 1840 on his father's farm, one mile west of the present site of the village of West Burlington, a son of John and Sarah Ann (Delashmuth) Inghram. John Inghram, who was of Scotch-Irish descent, came to the West from Virginia in 1836, as did also, at about the same time the family of his wife, and they were married a few years afterward. They are survived by four daughters, sisters of our subject, as follows: Mrs. Catherine Parks, of near West Burlington; Mrs. Mary Graham, of Rock Island, Ill.; Mrs. Elizabeth Johnson, of West Burlington; and Mrs. Agnes Chapman, a widow, also of West Burlington. The Inghram and Delashmuth families were among the early settlers of Des Moines county and became very extensive landowners.

The boyhood and youth of Mr. Inghram were passed upon his father's farm, he securing the foundation of his education in the public schools of the neighborhood. Later he entered Denmark Academy, where for several years he pursued further studies, and on leaving that institution, he took up the study of law, reading in the office of Starr & Phillips. He decided, however, to devote himself to the teaching profession, and for several years taught school in the "Cockayne" district, after which he was called to fill a vacancy in the teaching force of the public schools of Burlington. Here he spent the remaining years of his professional career, but soon after coming to the city he gave such proof of exceptional talents, and the high quality of his work attracted such attention, that he received rapid promotion. For the long period of twenty-two years he was principal of the Germania and North Oak schools, and throughout this time, by the energy, fairness, and efficiency of his methods, he enjoyed the increasing respect and admiration of the people and of leading educators throughout Iowa and of neighboring States.

Mr. Inghram was a life-long Democrat, ever zealous in the service of his party, in whose main tenets he was a firm believer and for whose triumphs he labored with constant and conscientious zeal and single-hearted devotion. As a reward for his services, and in recognition of his ability and worth, he received in 1886 the nomination for the office of clerk of the district court, to which he was elected by a handsome majority; and as evidence of his great popularity and of the esteem in which he was generally held, he was three times re-elected. His reputation as a capable and honorable official was always very high, and he was his party's candidate for a fifth term when his bright and useful career was cut short by the hand of death, for he died in the full enjoyment and prime of his peers, on the fourteenth day of October, 1894.

In 1867 the subject of this review was united in marriage to Miss Susan M. Coalter, daughter of Thomas J. and Melvina (Gardner) Coalter, who were married in their native State of Virginia, and came in 1841 to Iowa, where Mrs. Inghram was born in 1842. Her parents first settled at Mount Pleasant, residing there for six years, and then came to Burlington, where they remained. The father, who was by trade a carpenter, died in September, 1879, his own demise having been preceded by that of his wife in 1875, and they were buried in Aspen Grove cemetery. The father was a member of the Masonic order, and both were faithful adherents of the Methodist Episcopal church, and greatly respected for their Christian virtues and kindly traits of character. To them were born three daughters and two sons, as follows: Susan M., Mrs. Inghram; Laura O., wife of William Drury, of Los Angeles, Cal.; Emma J., deceased wife of Thomas Wagg, died in Burlington in 1877; William N., of Landes, Wyo.; and Thomas J., who is postmaster of Flagstaff, Ariz.

Mrs. Inghram was educated in private schools and in the Baptist College at Burlington, and for ten years after leaving college was a teacher in the Germania, South Hill, and South Boundary schools of Burlington. It was while acting as assistant principal of the Germania school, during Mr. Inghram's principalship, that they became acquainted and were married, Mrs. Inghram continuing to teach for one year after her marriage. It is an interesting fact, and one well deserving of remark, that she was the first woman to hold the position of principal in the Burlington schools.

To Mr. and Mrs. Inghram were born ten children, of whom seven still survive: John T., editor of the Dubuque Enterprise, married Miss Rosamond Simmons, and has two sons, John and Thomas; Carrie, who resides with Mrs. Inghram, has for twelve years been employed in the office of the county clerk; Laura, wife of Mr. Bragg, sheep ranchman of Wyoming, has three children, William, Robert, and Fred; William, who was unmarried, was accidently killed while at work in Santa Fé Railroad yards at Marceline, Mo., April 7, 1904, and is buried in Aspen Grove cemetery; Emily, who resides in Burlington, is the wife of Royal Andrew, traveling salesman for the firm of John Blaul & Sons; Zodic, familiarly known as "Ted," is a sheep ranchman of Wyoming; and Harry, who is still at home, is employed in a grocery store.

Mrs. Inghram has built a beautiful home at 1225 North Seventh Street, which is the center of a refined and cultured social circle. She is a lady of much ability and many social graces, and is an active worker in the First Methodist Episcopal church, as was also her husband. Fraternally, Mr. Inghram was a member of the Masonic order, with which he was affiliated for twenty-five years, and in which he was elevated to distinguished honors, having taken the thirty-third degree, and becoming very prominent in the order. He was a man whose character combined many high and admirable qualities; he was universally respected, and had many friends. His record of useful activity was long, and on every page was written in indelible characters the word "success;" but best of all he left to his children the heritage of an honorable fame.

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