John Auchincloss Inglis (1813-1878)

John Auchincloss Inglis, c.1860

John A. Inglis was born in Baltimore, Maryland on August 26, 1813, the son of well known Presbyterian minister James Inglis, then pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in the city. He entered Dickinson College and graduated with the class of 1829 and then taught school for a time in Carlisle, eventually studying law and relocating to South Carolina.

Inglis opened a law practice in Cheraw, Chesterfield County, South Carolina and took on Henry McIver, later a Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, as a partner. Their small wooden law office still stands in the town, having been preserved and moved to a new location as one of the few buildings in town to survive the Civil War. As devout as his father, he also served as principal of Cheraw Academy and as an elder in the local church. He became on of the four chancellors of the state courts of South Carolina. In 1860, Chesterfield County was a leading voice in the succession crisis and sent Inglis to the South Carolina Convention in December, 1860 as one of its three delegates. He was named as chair of the seven man Ordinance Committee and, therefore, was responsible for drawing up the Ordinance of Secession that the convention passed on a vote of 169-0 on Thursday, December 20, 1860. Though himself a committed secessionist, Inglis later denied being the sole author of the one page document as did fellow member Judge Francis Wardlaw.

During the War, Inglis served four years in Confederate government as a justice of the State Court of Appeals. He remained active in the church and was delegate to the Bible Convention of the Confederate States in Augusta, Georgia in March 1862. His denial of authorship of the Ordinance did not prevent Sherman's invading Union Army from allegedly putting a price on his head and carrying out the targeted burning of his summer home. Following the conflict, he attempted to restart his practice but in 1868 returned to Baltimore. Back in Maryland, he rebuilt his legal career and by 1870 had been appointed as a professor of commercial law at the University of Maryland and had been named as Chief Justice of the Orphans Court of Maryland serving till his death.

Inglis had married Charlotte Laura Price and the couple had five boys and a girl. John Auchincloss Inglis died on his sixty-fifth birthday, August 26, 1878, in Baltimore.

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Dickinson College Archives
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