Lee County Biography

Charles Hawkins Ingalls
Lee Center & Sublette Twps.

Hon. Charles H. Ingalls, Major of the Sixth Regiment IL National Guards, is one of Lee County's most distinguished sons, who is pre-eminent in her public life and is prominently connected with her most leading interests as one of the successful farmers and stock-raisers within her borders. His home is in his handsome, elegantly appointed, farm residence on section 10, Sublette Township, and here he has improved one of the finest equipped and choicest farms in this section.

Maj. Ingalls was born in Lee Center Twp. March 11, 1846 and is a son of Charles F. ingalls, now of Chicago, one of the earliest settlers of that township, one of the leading pioneers of the county and one of its prominent citizens until within a few years. The Ingalls family now in the US originated in Lincolnshire, England, but came to America in early Colonial days. Four generations of the ancestors of our subject lived on the same pleasant New England farm in the town of Abington, Windham County, Conn., his great-great-grandfahter, James Ingalls, locating there long before the independence of the US. His son Ephraim, the next in line of descent, inherited the farm and passed it on in due time to the son who bore his name, and was the grandfather of our subject and thus it came to pass that the old homestead was the birthplace of Charles F. ingalls, January 18, 1817. He was the seventh of the nine children born to his parents, and of the others it is recorded that Henry L., who was an early settler of Cass County, in this State, died in Minnesota; Edmund, who located in cass County in the early days of its settlement, died there one year later; Lydia became the wife of Jonathan Colby and died in Menard County; Deborah, who married Dr. Richard F. Adams, died in Lee Center; Addison came West in 1832 and died at Oak Park, this State; Ephraim came to Illinois in 1837 and is now a physician and surgeon on the West Side of Chicago.

The father of our subject went to Windsor County, Vt., when he was 12 years old, and there completed his education and afterwards taught school. He had not attained manhood when he exchanged the hiills of Vermont for the prairies of Illinois in 1834, but was an intelligent youth of 17 years, whose services as a teacher were welcomed by the pioneers of Cass County, where he engaged in teaching the ensuing two years. In 1836, accompanied by his brother George A., he came to Lee County and took a claim in Lee Centre Twp. and in 1844, when the land came into the market, he purchased a half seciton. He soon became one of the most thrifty and well to do pioneer farmers of that place, and besides attending to his farming interests, dealt to soem extent in real estate, and finally obtained possession of over 500 acres of valuable land. His homestead contained 270 acres of land which he placed uner a high state of cultivation, and adorned with the improvements in the vicinity, In March, 1885 having previously sold his homestead, he left Lee County and though his residence has been nominally in Chicago, he and his wife have passed much of the time in traveling, spending the winter seasons either in California or Florida. He paid his first visit to the Golden State in 1850, going thither in a wagon train. He followed mining there 3 years, dealt in live stock 1 year and then returned home in 1854 with the money thus made, making the journey by the Isthmus and New York City.

Mr. Ingalls is a Republican and while a resident of Lee County took an important part in the administration of public affairs as a member of the Board of Supervisors. He was married April 6, 1838, to Miss Sarah Hawkins and they have lived together in a congenial marriage for more than half a century. Mrs. Ingalls is a woman of an earnest Christian character, and is a member of the Baptist Church. She was born in Reading, Windsor Co. VT March 15, 1819, a daughter of John S. and mary (Morrison) Hawkins, and lived in her native county until the date of her marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Ingalls have reared five children, namely; Charles H. our subject; Ephraim F. a resident of Chicago; Sarah D. wife of J.H. pierce, Superintendent of the National Tube Works at McKeesport PA; Ara M, wife of W.H. Morgan of Chicago; Mary S wife of Charles C. Jacobs of Amboy. The parents of our subject gave their children good educational advantages, not only in the common branches of study but in the arts and their parlors are adorned with oil paintings and other artistic works from the hands of their daughters.

The original subject of this sketch was reared on the old homestead in Lee Centre Twp. that was his birthplace, and not only had he an opportunity to be well grounded in all that pertains to agriculture, but was given exceptional chances to obtain a liberal education in the academy at Lee Centre and at the State Normal University at Normal. He was but a boy when the war broke out, but watched its course with a deep interest and in August 1862 inspired with as lofty a patriotism as that which nimated his elders, he offered his services to the Union, but to his bitter disappointment, he was rejected on account of his youth and size. In December, 1863 he again volunteered and this time was accepted, and was mustered in as a private in Co E, 75th IL Inf. He accompanied his regiment to chattanooga and thence with Sherman to Atlanta, and was present at the capture of that city, besides taking part in the battles of Kenesaw Mountain and Peach Tree Creek. He then returned to TN with Gen. Thomas and fought int he engagements at Franklin, Spring Hill and Nashville. In the latter city he was detailed by the medical directory to the First Division of the 4th Army Corps an din June 1865 was transferred to Co K 21st IL Inf. In July he went to New Orleans, and in August to San Antonio TX where he remained until orders were received for mustering his regiment out of the service, December 25, 1865. From January until June 10 of that year, he had been in the office of the Medical Director and was subsequently in the Provost-Guard's headquarters and in the Provost-Marshal-General's office at San Antonio, holding a position in the latter until his discharge. In May 1865 he had been promoted to be Sergeant, an honor richly deserved, as he had shown himself in every way worthy of preferment by his loyalty to his country, by his excellent soldiership on the battlefield and by his prompt and intelligent service wherever he was placed. his military record was won when he was scarcely more than a boy, for he was not yet out of his teens when the war closed.

Returning to his native county after he left the army, Maj. Ingalls resumed work on the farm, and gave his attention to farming until 1868. He then engaged in the hardware business in Sterling one year, and at the expiration of that time located on the farm which he still owns and occupies on Section 10, Sublette Township. He has here 200 acres of very fertile, highly cultivated land, supplied with the finest modern improvements which have been made by the Major himself, and his farm is well stocked with cattle, horses and hogs of the best breeds.

Maj. Ingalls was married march 1, 1871 to Mary I. Morse, daughter of Walter and Susan Morse, and she presides over their beautiful home with true grace, uniting with her husband in cordial welcome to all who cross its threshold to share its bounteous hospitalities. Five children complete their family - Herbert F, Grace M, Neva M, Walter F and Fred.

Our subject's title as Major is due to his connection with one of the leading military organization of Il. September 20, 1878 he organized a company of 100 men, which was enrolled as Company F, 4th IL National Guards and for 10 years he was Captain of the company and was then promoted to the position of Lieutenant-Colonel. The regiment was subsequently disbanded and Col. Ingalls received the compliment of being commissioned Major of the 6th Reg. of IL Natl Guards, and still holds that rank. Socially he is connected with the Knights Templar and the grand Army of Republic. His services as a public official in various responsible capacities have often been in demand, the calibre of his mind, his high-toned character and his native ability, marking him as a man eminetnly fitted to fill important places. He was a member of the County Board of Supervisors for Sublette Twp one term, and represented his district in the 34th General Assembly, which elected Gen. John A. Logan to the US Senate in 1885. The Major's political relations are with the Republican party of which he is an ardent advocate.

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