CHARLES E. INGRAHAM. In the early growth of a young city the development of its civic life usenally rests with a small coterie of far sighted men, who are willing to sacrifice personal advantage for the sake of the good of their city. To such a group belongs Charles E. Ingraham. Always standing for progress and the betterment of social conditions, he first had an opportunity to set forth his principles in the general field as editor of a newspaper, later in the political field as mayor of his city and lastly in the industrial field as manager of the Interurban Electric Company. Many of the mile stones of progress were set by this enterprising man during his twelve years of citizenship in Herrin, and his influence is now always strongly felt in any forward movement. Mr. Ingraham bas been reared from infancy in Illinois, but this state may not claim him save as an adopted son, since he was born in Parke county, Indiana. Soon after his birth, on the 3rd of January, 1865, his father, Henry R. Ingraham, moved to Tuscola, Illinois, where he soon became an influential citizen. Mr. Ingraham was a native of the state in which his son was born, his father, Andrew W. Ingraham, having left the friendly fields of his birthplace in the "Old Dominion" to settle in Tippecanoe county when the land was young and the life that of a pioneer. A. W. Ingraham was a farmer who dug stumps, split rails and fought both the Indians and disease that ravaged the uncleared country. His mother was a member of the well known Warwick family, and his wife was Martha Rerick. He died in Vermilion county, Indiana, many years before the civil war which was to bring much suffering to the two sons whom he left.
Of these two, Washington Ingraham was a captain in one of the Illinois regiments during the war, and he was killed in action during the Atlanta campaign. The other son, father of the present head of the family, enlisted in Parke county, Indiana, and was honored by the first
lieutenancy of his company. His regiment became a part of the famous corps of "Pap Thomas" and saw much hard service in the Army of the Cumberland. Unfortunately the whole regiment was captured by the Confederates and Lieutenant Ingraham, with the rest of his command, was sent to "Old Libby" at Richmond. Here, weakened by the disease and hunger that the Confederates, at the end of their resources, had no way to alleviate, he patiently endured the rigidity of the strict military discipline and the foulness of his surroundings. Before succumbing to the fate of so many of his fellow prisoners he was exchanged and again joined the ranks of the Blue, serving till the end of the war. Soon after its termination he moved to Illinois, becoming a neighbor of that interesting study in political psychology, Joe Cannon, who then lived at Tuscola. As a veteran who had made a brave record during the war and as a sturdy supporter of the Republican party, his popularity was soon universal, as was shown by his election, with scarcely no opposition, to the office of county treasurer. The upright honesty with which for years he fulfilled the duties of this office caused the greatest satisfaction to be expressed by his fellow citizens when, upon the election of Mr. Cannon to Congress, he appointed his old neighbor postmaster of Tuscola, a post filled by him for a number of years.
About the beginning of the Civil war, Henry R. Ingraham married Emily Isham, and they became the parents of five children: William, of Clifford, Williamson county, Indiana; Andrew W., of Indianapolis, Indiana; Charles E., of Herrin, Illinois; Laura, the wife of Frank Wheaton, of Seattle, Washington. The father died at the age of fifty-six, and the mother still resides in Tuscola, Illinois.
The education of Charles E. Ingraham was received in the public schools of his home town of Tuscola, and when he started out in life for himself he turned to the soil for a living, his farm being near his old home. At the age of twenty, on the 19th of November, 1883, he was married in Tuscola to May Armstrong, the daughter of John W. Armstrong. Six years later he moved to Southern Illinois, locating in Makanda, where he engaged in the mercantile business. Seeing a chance for launching his real ambition and for the expression of those principles through which he was later to become a force for good, Mr. Ingraham gave up his mercantile business and entered journalism in a modest way, establishing the Makanda News. With the birth of the new town of Herrin he decided to transfer his interests to that town and moved his paper and office, establishing the first paper of the town. The name of the paper remained The News but the name of Herrin took the place of Makanda. With the paper as a medium no opportunity was lost to advertise the merits of Herrin, so that with the growth of the town came the prosperity of the paper. In 1900 Mr. Ingraham, feeling that in spite of the population of the town consisting of only a thousand people the building of a light plant was not only feasible but would add greatly to the advantages of the town, joined the movement in a financial way and gave his time to carrying the work through to its successful consummation in 1900. The paper which he had conducted as an independent weekly he sold to its present owner, Mr. Trovilian, and since the sale has devoted himself to the management of the electric business.
While the absorbing interests and problems of a fast growing town held the attention of Mr. Ingraham, he clung to his father's politics and fought many battles under the standard of Republicanism, becoming known as a daring leader of that party in Williamson county. With greater leisure to study economic conditions and a closer contact, through his industrial work, with the men who work with their hands,
he espoused the cause of Socialism and is now as eager for the success of its policies as he once was for that of Republicanism. His altruistic tendencies were early shown during the formative period of Herrin, when he urged radical measures along the line of public improvements, especially in matters of education. He insisted upon a county high school and upon the building of modern school houses with well equipped laboratories and gymnasiums. But he was in advance of his time and it was not until Herrin was incorporated that he was able to make his voice heard. As the first mayor of the new town, he started at once on his campaign for better facilities for education and for other much needed aids toward the health and comfort of the public. The battle was not won at once, but by slow degrees first his co-workers and then the citizens of the community saw the wisdom of his ideas, and now some of the things he desired have become a fact.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Ingraham are: Nellie, the wife of Allen Kilbreth, of Clifford, Williamson county; Nettie, now Mrs. John Kemp, of Herrin; Edna, who is Mrs. Thomas Bowie, of Centralia, Illinois; and Emily, the wife of Adolphus Bradshaw, of Herrin. Two children, William and Ruth, remain at home.
A busy and successful business career, a happy family life, the respect of his acquaintances, the affection of his friends, what more could a man ask, but Mr. Ingraham, carrying the principles of the brotherhood of man in his heart, is still pressing forward in his search for more chances to help his fellow men. Truly the town is fortunate that counts him her citizen.