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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1240~


Walter B. Ingersoll

& John H. Ingersoll


Iowa has always been distinguished for the high rank of her bench and bar. Perhaps none of the newer states can justly boast of abler attorneys and there is scarcely a town or city in the state but can boast of one or more lawyers capable of crossing swords in forensic combat with many of the distinguished legal lights of the country. While the growth and development of the state in the last half century has been most marvelous, viewed from any standpoint, yet of no one class of her citizenship has she greater reason for just pride than her attorneys. In Mr. Ingersoll are found many of the rare qualities which go to make up the successful attorney. Years of conscientious work have brought with them not only increase of practice and reputation, but also that growth in legal knowledge and that wide and accurate judgment the possession of which constitutes excellence in the profession.

Walter B. Ingersoll was born in Oswego county, New York, in 1856, the paternal homestead having been on a farm near the town of Pulaski. He is the son of John H. and Margaret J. (Bowker) Ingersoll. The Ingersoll family first came from England, and John Ingersoll, the subject's great grandfather, was a soldier in the war of the Revolution. He was an officer under General Washington at Valley Forge and his sword is still preserved as a family heirloom. It is stated that when this John Ingersoll moved from near Troy, New York, to Oswego county, that state, he was so far in advance of civilization that he traveled over forty miles without seeing any sign of habitation. His son Benjamin was the first white child born in Oswego county. This branch of the family is from the same ancestry as was Col. Robert G. Ingersoll. The Bowker branch of the family is descended from one of three brothers who came from Scotland to America in 1630, settling New England, descendants of whom were also soldiers in the American war for independence. One house has been occupied by members of this family for over one hundred and fifty years.

In 1858 John H. Ingersoll brought his family to Iowa and bought land in Delaware county but their stay was brief, as in the following year the father went to California and the other members of the family returned to their former home in New York. In 1863 however, he again brought the family to this state and made permanent settlement. The subject of this sketch was reared on the farm and received his elementary training in the public schools of the neighborhood, this being supplemented by two years study in the Upper Iowa University. He next engaged in teaching school in Delaware county, but, having decided to take up the practice of law, he entered the law department of the University of Iowa, where he was graduated in 1878. He engaged in the active practice of his profession at Greeley, this state, where he remained two years, going then to Huron, South Dakota. After five years practice there, Mr. Ingersoll located at Bird City, Kansas, where he practiced his profession during the following decade. In 1895 he returned to Iowa and in the spring of the following year he opened an office at Oelwein, where he has since remained. As a lawyer Mr. Ingersoll has evinced a familiarity with legal principles and a ready perception of facts, together with the ability to apply one to the other, which. has won him the reputation of a sound and safe practitioner. In discussions of the principles of law he is noted for clearness of statement and candor, and his zeal for a client never leads him to urge in argument which in his judgment is not in harmony with the law, and in all the important litigation with which he has been connected no one has ever charged him with anything calculated to bring discredit upon himself or cast a reflection upon his profession. Personally affable and approachable, he enjoys a large circle of acquaintances, among whom are many warm and loyal friends.

In 1877 Mr. Ingersoll married Iona M. Peet, of Clayton county, Iowa, and their union has been blessed in the birth of two children, Lee L. and Regina C. The family are members of the Presbyterian church. In politics Mr. Ingersoll is a stanch Republican, but he is not in any sense a politician, preferring to devote his entire attention to the practice of the law. Mrs. Ingersoll also is descended from old Revolutionary stock, her paternal grandmother having been a member of the noted Carpenter family, of whom another member was Lieutenant Carpenter, of New York an officer in the Revolutionary army. The family chain can he traced back in an unbroken line to the year 1066, in the time of William the Conqueror, when a member of the family was clerk of the city of London. The Carpenters came from England to America in very early colonial days, and first made settlement in New England, though members of the family later went westward and settled in New York.

~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Cheryl Walker



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