Standing in an eminent position among the industrial representatives of
Marion county is the subject of this sketch, who is recognized as one of
Kinmundy's leading citizens, having for many years been interested in the
local flouring mill the reputation of which has spread all over this
locality as a result of his able management. In this regard he is
controlling an extensive and important industry, for the product of his mill
is large and the annual shipment of flour made to the city markets bring in
return a very desirable income to the stock-holders of the company. His
success has been won entirely along old and time tried maxims, such as
"honesty is the best policy" and "there is no excellence without labor."
William C. Ingram was born in Indiana in 1848, the son of Samuel and Minerva A. (Powers) Ingram. Grandfather Ingram is supposed to have been born in Kentucky and moved to Warrick county, Indiana, where he engaged in farming and where he spent the balance of his days in honest and useful toil; there raising his family and passing from his labors into the great beyond, after reaching a very advanced age. His faithful life companion also lived to an advanced age. They reared a large family, all but one of whom lived to be men and women and reared families of their own. A number of their sons were gallant infantrymen in the Union ranks during the War Between the States. The Ingram lineage is from England, and were early settlers in Kentucky, having come there in the brave days of Daniel Boone when the principal tasks of the pioneers were the clearing of the primeval forests and the banishment of the wary red men.
Samuel Ingram, the father of the subject, was reared in Indiana, and was almost wholly without educational advantages. His date of birth is recorded as 1824 consequently his boyhood was during a time when schools had scarcely been established in the Hoosier state. He devoted his life to agricultural pursuits of which he made a success being a hard worker. He left Indiana in 1854 and moved to Edwards county, Illinois, but came on to Marion county, landing here April 6, 1857, and bought a farm on which he remained and greatly improved, living there in comfort until 1866, when he moved to Kinmundy, still working his farm; continuing this for ten years when he sold out and retired from active work. He is still hale and active at this writing (1908), having attained the ripe age of eighty-four. As a result of his well spent life his old age is happy, for it is free from want and worry and pervaded with no unpleasant memories or regrets and compunctions over a misspent past, for his life has been one of honor and industry, most worthily lived. There were eight children in his family, six of whom are now living and have families of their own. The mother of the subject, a woman of beautiful Christian character, passed to her rest at the age of seventy-eight years. This fine old couple were always devout Methodists.
The great-grandfather Powers of the subject spent most of his life in Indiana, living to an old age. He was a Democrat and a Baptist. Grandmother Powers died in middle age. One of Mrs. Ingram's brothers, John Powers, was a soldier in the Civil war.
William C. Ingram, our subject, was brought to Illinois by his parents when six years old and to Marion county three years later, having been placed at once in the public schools here where he received his education, and in other similar schools of this state. He worked on his father's farm and for others as a farm hand until he was twenty-one years old, when he rented a farm and worked it on his own account for two years, making a good start in this way. He then purchased a farm of one hundred and fifty acres in this county on which he remained for a few years when he went to carpentry and farming, later purchasing a sawmill which he successfully operated for twenty-five years, which he recently sold. He has also owned two other saw mills, and has been known as one of the leading mill men of this locality for many years. Some time ago he came to Kinmundy and purchased an interest in the Songer flouring mill which has been in operation for forty years, the subject now owning forty shares in this mill and is a director in the same, which has a wide reputation for the excellency of its products, customers not only coming in person from all parts of the county, but many orders are constantly pouring in from adjoining counties and distant cities. The subject's son is also a part owner in the mill. He also owns and controls thirty shares of the capital stock.
Our subject has also been a merchant, and owing to his honesty in business, his natural ability and his discriminating foresight, he has always made a success at whatever he undertook, so that today he is regarded as one of the financially substantial men of the county, every dollar in his possession having been honestly earned by hard work.
Mr. Ingram was united in marriage in 1869 to Mary R. Gray, a native of this county, daughter of James H. and Susanna Jane (Hannah) Gray. They were from Tennessee and lived on a farm. Her father was president of the Farmers & Merchants Bank of Kinmundy at the time of his death, which occurred at the age of seventy-seven years. In their family were ten children, seven of whom lived to maturity, but were short lived people.
Six children were born to the subject and wife as follows: Jane who was born in 1871, died when two and one-half years old; Charles H., who was born in 1874, is now living in Oklahoma and is the father of six children; Nellie A., who was born in 1876, is the wife of M. E. Huston, who lives at Maroa, Illinois, and is the mother of one child; Isaac D. was born in 1879 and is now associated with his father in the mill, is married and has three children; Robert L., who was born in 1880, is living in the state of Washington, is married and has one child; William G., born in 1882, died at the age of twenty-one years.
The subject's first wife passed away in 1883. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, South. Mr. Ingram was married a second time, the date of his last wedding occurring in 1888. Nancy I. Gray (nee Booth), who was then the mother of two children, was his second choice. W. H. Gray, a sketch of whose life appears in this work, is her son. Her other child is dead. There has been no issue by the subject's last union. Mr. Ingram is a member of the Masonic Fraternity and he attends the Methodist church, of which his wife is a faithful member. In politics he supports the Republican ticket and he takes a keen interest in public affairs, though he has no ambition for the honors or emoluments of public office, preferring to give his attention to his own business affairs.
Extracted 09 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 131-134.