Guide to the William A. Inman Papers 1864-1943
Cage 605

Summary Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Inman, William A. Papers
William A. Inman Papers
Cage 605
Date [inclusive]
1.0 container.
General Physical Description note
1.5 linear feet of shelf space.
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.

Preferred Citation note

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

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Biographical/Historical note

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.

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Scope and Contents note

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.

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Arrangement note

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.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © 1994
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open for research use.

Custodial History note

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.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

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

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • 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

Personal Name(s)

  • Ackerman, Robert. waps
  • Bodley, John. waps
  • Inman, William, 1843-1924 --Archives


  • Friendly societies--Washington (State)--Colfax
  • Government and Politics
  • Reconstruction --Arkansas
  • Washington (State)

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Collection Inventory

Series 1. Personal Papers of W. A. Inman 

container Folder

Special Orders No. 235, Extract, Headquarters, Department of Arkansas, etc., Discharge of Captain William A. Inman 27 Sept 1864 

1 1

President's Proclamation of May 29th 1865 [Andrew Johnson's Amnesty Proclamation] [copy made by Inman with his own comments] 2 June 1865 

1 2

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 3

"Barbacue [sic] and Railroad" Meeting, Jonesboro, Arkansas, recollections by Inman 4 July 1866 

1 4

Appointment, War Department, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, appointing Inman as an agent 4 March 1867 

1 5

License to Practice Law, Arkansas 4 June 1867 

1 6

Autobiography, William A. Inman, finished 16 January 1869, and Letters to Hannah Inman, 22 January 1867, 1868, 1869 1867-1869 

1 7

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 8

License to Practice Law, Washington Terr. August 1875 

1 9

Commission as Notary Public, Washington Territory 19 December 1877 

1 10

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 

1 11

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

container Folder

Abstract of Title, Lot 3, Block 10, Colfax, W.T. 1886 

1 12

First Mortgage Real Estate Bond, Colfax Lodge, No. 14, I.O.O.F., and Abbot Low Mills 5 November 1889 

1 13

Washington Water Power Co. statements for electricity and electrical fixtures for lodge 1913 

1 14

Financial Reports 1922-23 

1 15

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 16

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 1925 

1 17

Lease Agreement, Colfax Lodge, No. 14, of the I.O.O.F. and Adolph Kroll 1 October 1926 

1 18

Letter, R. M. Hanna to Reuben Green, re: Title Abstracts, I.O.O.F., Colfax Lodge, No. 14 17 February 1927 

1 19

I.O.O.F. Newsletters, eastern Washington 1913-34 

1 20

I.O.O.F. Cemetery Legal Description and Map 1907 and 1943 

1 21

Miscellaneous Receipts, Papers, Notices 

1 22

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Series 3. Certificates and Broadsides [oversize] 

container Folder

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 

Oversize 23

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