Inglis, John Auchincloss

Life Span
Dickinson Connection
Class of 1829
    Full name
    John Auchincloss Inglis
    Place of Birth
    Burial Place
    Birth Date Certainty
    Death Date Certainty
    Sectional choice
    Slave State
    No. of Siblings
    No. of Spouses
    No. of Children
    James Inglis (father), Janet Swan Johnson Inglis (mother), Charlotte Laura Price (wife)
    Dickinson (Carlisle College)
    Attorney or Judge
    Farmer or Planter
    Household Size in 1860
    Children in 1860
    Occupation in 1860
    Wealth in 1860
    Marital status in 1860

    John Inglis (Dickinson Chronicles)

    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.
    John Osborne and James W. Gerencser, eds., “John Auchincloss Inglis,” Dickinson Chronicles,

    John Inglis (Appleton’s)

    [INGLIS], John Auchincloss, jurist, b. in Baltimore, Md., 26 Aug., 1813; d. there, 26 Aug., 1878, was graduated at Dickinson in 1831, studied law, and began to practise in Cheraw, S. C. He became judge of the court of common pleas and general sessions, and of the supreme court of appeals, and was also appointed one of the four chancellors of the state. He was president of the State convention that adopted the ordinance of secession, and drafted that document. His house and library were destroyed by Sherman's army in the burning of Columbia in 1864. In 1868 he removed to Baltimore, where he entered into practice, and in 1870 he accepted a professorship in the law department of the University of Maryland. In 1874 he was appointed judge of the orphan's court, and he was re-elected in 1875. Shortly before his death he was appointed by the board of trade a judge of the new court of arbitration. Judge Inglis was active in religious matters, and for several years before his death served as a ruling elder in a Presbyterian church in Baltimore.
    James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, eds., “Inglis, John Auchincloss,” Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1888), 3: 350.

    John Inglis (Notable Americans)

    INGLIS, John Auchincloss, jurist, was born in Baltimore, Md., Aug. 26, 1813; son of the Rev. James Inglis. He was graduated at Dickinson in 1829, studied law and practiced in Cheraw, S.C., and subsequently in the state capital. He became judge of the court of common pleas and general sessions; was raised to the bench of the supreme court of appeals and became one of the four chancellors of the state. He presided over the secession convention of South Carolina in 1860 and drafted the ordinance adopted, Dec. 20, 1860. His house and library were burned in the destruction of Columbia by Sherman's army, Feb. 17, 1865. He practiced law in Baltimore, Md., 1868- 74; was professor in the law department of the University of Maryland, and in 1874 was appointed judge of the orphans' court and elected to the office in 1875. The board of trade of Baltimore made him a judge of the new court of arbitration in 1878. He was a ruling elder in the church of which his father had been pastor, 1802- 20. He died in Baltimore, Md., Aug. 26, 1878.
    Rossiter Johnson, ed., The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, vol. 5 (Boston: The Biographical Society, 1904).

    John Inglis (Cordell, 1907)

    John Auchinloss Inglis was born in Baltimore, Maryland, August 26, 1813, being the son of Rev. James Inglis, a Presbyterian clergyman. He graduated at Dickinson College in 1829, studied law and practiced that profession first in Chernaw, South Carolina, and later in Columbia. He became judge of the Court of Common Pleas and General Sessions, was raised to the bench of the Supreme Court of Appeals and became one of the four Chancellors of South Carolina. He presided on the occasion of the convention of South Carolina in 1860, and drafted the ordinance adopted December 20, 1860. In the destruction of Columbia by Sherman's army, February 17, 1865, his house and library were burned. He removed to Baltimore in 1868 and practiced his profession there until 1874, holding a chair in the Law School of the University of Maryland. In 1874 he was appointed Judge of the Orphans' Court and in the following year was elected to the same office. The Board of Trade of Baltimore made him a judge of the new Court of Arbitration in 1878. He was a ruling elder in the Presbyterian church. His death occurred in Baltimore, August 26, 1878.
    Eugene Fauntleroy Cordell et al., University of Maryland 1807-1907: Its History, Influence, Equipment and Characteristics.... (New York: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1907), 2: 9.

    John Inglis (New York Times)




    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.

    "Death of Judge John A. Inglis," New York Times, August 27, 1878, p. 1: 2.

    John Inglis (South Carolina Bench and Bar)

    1. James Inglis, of Paisley, Scotland, Judge Inglis's grandfather, came to America, June, 1759, and settled in New York city as a merchant. In January, 1767, he married Marie Janvier, who was born in Ireland in 1744, a daughter of Pierre Janvier, a French Huguenot, who, at the time of his daughter's birth, was refugeeing with his family in that country. In 1810, James Inglis, with his wife and two daughters, removed to Baltimore, where, after a long life of honor, enterprise and usefulness, he died, February 8, 1846, in the eighty-eighth year of his age. 

    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, 
    which he presented December 20, 1860. 

    The United States army in 1865, while on its march through South Carolina, burned Judge Inglis's house and destroyed everything 
    of value on his plantation. The library contained over three thousand volumes and was worth something more than ten thousand dollars, the law library alone costing about five thousand dollars.

    Judge Inglis was the same year (1865) elected junior Associate r Justice of the Court of Appeals of South Carolina, but was soon 
    after, by the Federal Government's reconstruction measures, retired to private life. In August, 1868, he returned to Baltimore and resumed the practice of his profession. In February, 1870, he was elected professor of commercial and testamentary law and equity in the law department of the University of Maryland. In 1872 he was elected president of Oglethorpe University, Georgia, but felt himself compelled to decline the honor. The university in 1873 conferred upon him the degree of LL.D. In March, 1874, he was appointed by Governor Whyte chief judge of the Orphan's Court of Baltimore city, and at the general election in 1875 he was unanimously elected to fill the same position, having received the support of all parties in consequence of his high character and eminent qualifications. The Baltimore board of trade, in June, 1878, elected him judge of the Court of Arbitration, 
    then being organized under an act of Assembly drawn by him at the request of the board. 

    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.
    Ulysses Robert Brooks, South Carolina Bench and Bar, vol. 1 (Columbia, SC: The State Company, 1908): 114-116.
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