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.
DEATH OF JUDGE JOHN A. INGLIS.
THE AUTHOR OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA ORDINANCE OF SECESSION DIES AT HIS HOME IN BALTIMORE.
Special Dispatch to the New-York Times.
BALTIMORE, Aug. 26. – Judge John A. Inglis, Chief Judge of the Orphans’ Court of Baltimore, died this morning at his residence in this city. He had been in failing health for some time, and a few days ago was attached with diptheria, which was the immediate cause of his death. He was a son of Rev. James Inglis, D. D., Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Baltimore, and was born in the year 1813. His father, when a young man, was a law student in the office of Alexander Hamilton. The son received his early education at a school in Cecil County, Md., and was subsequently graduated, at the age of 18, at Dickenson College, Pennsylvania. Subsequently, he removed to Columbia, S.C., and engaged in the profession of the law. He became Judge of the Court of Common Pleas and General Sessions and Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals of that State. At the breaking out of the civil war he held the position of Chancellor of the State. He was President of the State convention which met at Columbia on Dec. 17, 1860, and adopted the ordinance severing the relations between the State and the Federal Government. He presented the resolution “that it is the opinion of the convention that the State of South Carolina should forthwith secede from the Federal Union, known as the United States of America,” and was the author of the famous “Ordinance of Secession.” When Gen. Sherman’s troops entered Columba, Judge Inglis’ house was ordered to be saved, bit it is related that a Federal officer who entered the house saw the ordinance framed and hanging on the wall, and that the order was given to burn the residence. It was, therefore, totally destroyed, together with a valuable library. In 1870 Judge Inglis removed to Baltimore, and was appointed to a Professorship in the Law School of the University of Maryland. In 1874 Gov. Whyte appointed him to the position of Chief Judge of the Orphans’ Court, and at the general election of 1875 he was re-elected by the people without opposition. He had the reputation of being a learned and impartial Judge. He was for many years a ruling elder of the Presbyterian Church.
2. Rev. James Inglis, D. D., of Baltimore, a son of the above marriage, and Judge Inglis's father, was educated at Columbia College, N. Y., where he graduated May 4, 1795, when in his eighteenth year. In the following June he began reading law in the office of Alexander Hamilton, and in 1798 was admitted and began practice at the New York bar. He soon, however, abandoned law for theology, and on the 25th of April, 1802, was ordained second pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Baltimore. He died August 15, 1819.
3. Judge John Auchincloss Inglis, LL.D., was born in Baltimore, Maryland, August 26, 1813, and was the fourth and youngest son of the Rev. James Inglis, D. D., the second pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Baltimore and one of the most accomplished pulpit orators of his day.
Judge Inglis's mother was Miss Janet Swan Johnston, a daughter of Mr. Christopher Johnston, of Baltimore, a merchant in the East India trade and an elder in Doctor Inglis's church.
Judge Inglis, by the death of his father and mother, became, in his sixth year, the ward of Mr. Alexander Fridge, of Baltimore, and was by his guardian sent to begin his education under the tuition of Rev. Dr. James Magraw, principal of the West Nottingham Academy, Cecil County, Maryland. Here he remained for seven years.
In 1826 he matriculated at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where, at the expiration of three years, he graduated with high honors at the age of sixteen. During the next two years he was tutor of Latin and Greek at Carlisle, and thenremoved to South Carolina to become principal of the Cheraw Academy.
On the 8th of November, 1832, he married Miss Charlotte Laura Prince, a daughter of Mr. Lawrence Prince, of Cheraw, and soon after, at the suggestion of his wife, began the study of law. He was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1840, at the age of twenty-seven.
In 1855 he was elected to the South Carolina Legislature, and upon the expiration of his first term was reflected for a second term of two years. In 1857 the Governor of the State appointed him one of the trustees of the University of South Carolina. In 1859 he was elected a judge of the Circuit Court, but at the same session of the Legislature he was transferred to the Court of Equity and became one of the four chancellors of the State. In 1860 he was a member of the secession convention, and at the session in Columbia drew and presented the famous resolution that the State secede at once, and which was unanimously adopted the same evening. He was, at the session in Charleston, made chairman of the committee which drafted the ordinance of secession,
The United States army in 1865, while on its march through South Carolina, burned Judge Inglis's house and destroyed everything
Judge Inglis was the same year (1865) elected junior Associate r Justice of the Court of Appeals of South Carolina, but was soon
Judge Inglis became a member of the Presbyterian Church in his seventeenth year, was for many years a ruling elder in the church at Cheraw, and at the time of his death was a ruling elder in the Franklin Street Presbyterian Church, Baltimore.
He died at his residence, No. 124 Cathedral street, Baltimore, Maryland, August 26, 1878, and is buried in Loudon Park Cemetery, Baltimore.