William A. Inman Papers, 1864-1943  PDF  XML

Overview of the Collection

Inman, William A. Papers
William A. Inman Papers
1864-1943 (inclusive)
1 container., (1.5 linear feet of shelf space.)
Collection Number
Cage 605
Orders and certificates concerning military government in Arkansas, recollections of reconstruction experiences, autobiography to 1869, documents certifying Inman as an attorney, and various records of the IOOF lodge at Colfax, Wash.
Washington State University Libraries, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections.
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Terrell Library Suite 12
Pullman WA
Telephone: 509-335-6691
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

William A. Inman was born in Limestone County, Alabama, on 22 January 1843. By the time he was five years old, Inman's family moved to Indiana. Within the next few years both parents died leaving Inman homeless. During the next few years, Inman worked as a hired hand for farmers. Relatives from Greene County, Missouri, sent for him and he lived with them until he became an adult. He received an education and also apprenticed in a printer's shop.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Inman and his Missouri family sided with the Union. In December 1861, he enlisted in Company H, Phelp's six-month infantry regiment, of the Missouri volunteers. He left this unit the following May and resumed his work in the printing business. In July 1862, Inman again enlisted. This time he became a member of the Eighth Missouri Volunteer Cavalry's Company K. Inman rapidly moved up the officer ranks as he participated in the Battle of Pea Ridge, which cleared Confederate forces from Missouri and achieved Union control of Arkansas, and the Battle of Prairie Grove, which kept northwest Arkansas under Union control. Finally, he participated in the Union siege of Little Rock, Arkansas. Inman resigned in October 1864, in Arkansas, as a captain.

From 1866 through 1868, Inman was a superintendent and agent for the Freedmen's Bureau in Craighead, Green, and Poinsett counties of Arkansas. In his spare time, he read law. In June 1867, Inman was admitted to the bar in Jonesboro, Arkansas. In 1868, he was appointed prosecuting attorney of the 3rd Judicial Circuit, at Batesville. Six years later, Inman moved to Seattle, Washington Territory. Inman practiced law in Washington. He moved from Seattle to Port Townsend in 1877 and then to Colfax two years later. He lived in Colfax for the next forty-five years, making a long and eventful career as a member of the legal profession. By 1880, Inman was elected probate judge and served until the position was abolished in 1890. He also served as city clerk for Colfax and director and clerk of the district school. He was elected prosecuting attorney for Whitman County in 1898.

Judge Inman was a member of several fraternal organizations: the Order of United Artisans, the Grand Army of the Republic, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Of these, he attained the ranks of grand master of the United Workmen; vice commander of the department of Washington, G.A.R.; and all the offices in the I.O.O.F. In other activities, Inman served as an officer in the Colfax Congregational Church and as president of the Whitman County Bar Association. In politics, he was a Republican. Judge Inman married twice: to Hannah Crosson, in April 1865 (she died in 1900); to Mrs. Margaret M. Donnelly, in March 1901. He had five children by his first wife. Inman died on 11 August 1924, eight months after he suffered a stroke. His second wife and three of his children, Maggie Jane Inman Blair, William C. Inman, and Frank Inman, survived him.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The William A. Inman Papers contains both items of a personal nature and documents associated with the Colfax Lodge, No. 14, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[Item Description]. Cage 605, William A. Inman Papers. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The papers are arranged into three series. The first contains documents pertaining to Inman's careers as an agent with the Freedmen's Bureau in Arkansas and his law career in Arkansas and Washington Territory. It also includes certificates documenting Inman's membership in the I.O.O.F. The second series contains several records of the Colfax Lodge, No. 14, of the I.O.O.F. Many of them are simply newsletters or invitations about social functions with nearby lodges. Other items include legal documents pertaining to the lodge's meeting hall and its furnishings. The third series contains oversize documents. Most are licenses allowing Inman to practice law or serve as a notary public.

Custodial History

Robert Ackerman and John Bodley, WSU anthropology professors, acquired the papers from an unknown source who retrieved it from the ruins of the Colfax Lodge, No. 14, of the Independent Order of Odd Fellow, which was extensively damaged in a fire in 1993.

Acquisition Information

Washington State University Libraries acquired the papers of William Inman from Ackerman and Bodley in January 1994. It was accessioned as MS 94-03.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series 1. Personal Papers of W. A. Inman Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
container Folder
1 1
Special Orders No. 235, Extract, Headquarters, Department of Arkansas, etc., Discharge of Captain William A. Inman
27 Sept 1864
1 2
President's Proclamation of May 29th 1865 [Andrew Johnson's Amnesty Proclamation] [copy made by Inman with his own comments]
2 June 1865
1 3
Special Order No. 22, J. W. Sprague to W. A. Johnson, Appointment of Inman as Superintendent of Refugees, Freedman, and Abandoned Lands for Craighead, Green, and Poinsett counties, Arkansas
1 March 1866
1 4
"Barbacue [sic] and Railroad" Meeting, Jonesboro, Arkansas, recollections by Inman
4 July 1866
1 5
Appointment, War Department, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, appointing Inman as an agent
4 March 1867
1 6
License to Practice Law, Arkansas
4 June 1867
1 7
Autobiography, William A. Inman, finished 16 January 1869, and Letters to Hannah Inman, 22 January 1867, 1868, 1869
1 8
Letter of Reference for W. A. Inman by W. Byers, Pres. of Office of the Secretary of the Bar Assoc. of the 3rd Judicial Circuit of Arkansas
1 February 1875
1 9
License to Practice Law, Washington Terr.
August 1875
1 10
Commission as Notary Public, Washington Territory
19 December 1877
1 11
I.O.O.F. Membership Documents, W. A. Inman, withdrawal from Independent Lodge, No. 4, Batesville, Ark., 8 June 1877 and visiting membership certificate, Mount Baker Lodge, No. 9, Port Townsend, W.T., 8 November 1879
1877; 1879

Series 2. Papers of Colfax Lodge, No. 14, I.O.O.F. Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
container Folder
1 12
Abstract of Title, Lot 3, Block 10, Colfax, W.T.
1 13
First Mortgage Real Estate Bond, Colfax Lodge, No. 14, I.O.O.F., and Abbot Low Mills
5 November 1889
1 14
Washington Water Power Co. statements for electricity and electrical fixtures for lodge
1 15
Financial Reports
1 16
Letter, Board of Trustees, I.O.O.F. No. 14 to Members, re: purchasing 1/2 of Knights of Pythias, No. 4, meeting hall in Colfax
20 February 1923
1 17
Abstract of Title, Lots 2 and 3, Block 10, Colfax, Wash., Colfax Lodge, No. 4, Knights of Pythias, and Colfax Lodge, No. 14, I.O.O.F. meeting hall
1 18
Lease Agreement, Colfax Lodge, No. 14, of the I.O.O.F. and Adolph Kroll
1 October 1926
1 19
Letter, R. M. Hanna to Reuben Green, re: Title Abstracts, I.O.O.F., Colfax Lodge, No. 14
17 February 1927
1 20
I.O.O.F. Newsletters, eastern Washington
1 21
I.O.O.F. Cemetery Legal Description and Map
1907 and 1943
1 22
Miscellaneous Receipts, Papers, Notices

Series 3. Certificates and Broadsides [oversize] Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
container Folder
Oversize 23
Certificate, State of Arkansas, Justice of Peace
15 December 1865
Oversize 23
Broadside, Roster of Officers and Civilians on Duty in the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned lands, for Arkansas
1 September 1867
Oversize 23
Certificate, State of Arkansas, Prosecuting Attorney, 3rd Judicial Circuit
8 December 1868
Oversize 23
Certificate, State of Arkansas, Prosecuting Attorney, 3rd Judicial Circuit
25 April 1873
Oversize 23
Certificate, Territory of Washington, Notary Public
22 February 1877
Oversize 23
Certificate, Grand Army of the Republic, Spokane Falls, Washington Territory, Aid on Staff of Department Commander
28 August 1887
Oversize 23
Certificate, State of Washington, Notary Public
11 February 1895

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Friendly societies--Washington (State)--Colfax
  • Reconstruction --Arkansas

Personal Names

  • Inman, William, 1843-1924 --Archives (creator)
  • Ackerman, Robert. waps (donor)
  • Bodley, John. waps (donor)

Corporate Names

  • Independent Order of Odd fellows of Washington. Colfax Lodge No. 14
  • United states. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands


  • Lawyers--Arkansas -- 19th century--Archives
  • Lawyers--Washington (State)--19th century--Archives
  • Notaries--Washington (State)--19th century--Archives