Register of the Orrin H. Ingram Papers, 1857-1904

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Summary Information

Title: Register of the Orrin H. Ingram Papers

Inclusive Dates: 1857-1904

Creator: Ingram, Orrin H. (Orrin Henry), 1830-1918

Call Number: Eau Claire Mss R

Quantity: 21.6 c.f. (63 archives boxes and 4 volumes)

Repository: Housed at the Area Research Center, William D. McIntyre Library, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society, Library-Archives Division

Archival Locations: UW-Eau Claire McIntyre Library / Eau Claire Area Research Ctr. 

Abstract: Business papers of Ingram, a leading Wisconsin lumberman, relating to operations in the Chippewa Valley, with headquarters at Eau Claire, and the sale of manufactured lumber through subsidiary wholesale companies located along the Mississippi River. Correspondence emphasizes the selling end of the business, consisting of letters of report from branch managers, agents, and salesmen, and between members of the company and pertains to business plans, policies, and practices. A group of letters, 1893-1901, relates to Ripon College, its finances, endowment, the building of Ingram Hall, and the resignation of President Rufus C. Flagg. Other letters have to do with events in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, including the economic effect of the Civil War, the coming of railroads, the depression of 1893, and relief of the cyclone victims at New Richmond in 1899.  

 Language: English

Search Terms/Subject Terms

  • Dole, A.M.
  • Flagg, Rufus C.
  • Griffin, Michael , 1842-1899 o Kennedy, Donald, 1828-1920
  • Merrell, Edward H. (Edward Huntington), 1835-1910
  • Moody, Dwight Lyman, 1837-1899
  • Pedrick, Samuel M., 1868-1963
  • Sawyer, Philetus, 1816-1900
  • Chippewa Express Company
  • Chippewa River Packet Line
  • Empire Lumber Company
  • Half Moon Lake Canal Company
  • Ingram, Kennedy, & Company
  • Pacific Empire Lumber Company (South Bend, Wash.)
  • Ripon College
  • Businessmen—Wisconsin
  • Depression—1893—United States
  • Lumber trade—United States
  • Lumbering—Wisconsin
  • Philanthropists—Wisconsin
  • Timber—Rafting
  • Water utilities—Wisconsin—Eau Claire
  • Chippewa River (Wis.
  • Eau Claire (Wis.)
  • New Richmond (Wis.)

Scope and Content Note

Business papers relating to lumbering operations in the Chippewa valley and the sale of the manufactured lumber through subsidiary wholesale companies bearing various names and located at St. Louis and Hannibal, Missouri; Fort Scott, Kansas; Dubuque, Iowa; Winona, Wabasha, and Minneiska, Minnesota, and other cities, chiefly along the Mississippi River. The papers date from the time of Ingram's association with A. M. Dole of Ottawa, Canada, and Donald Kennedy in the firm of Dole, Ingram & Kennedy, which began lumbering at Eau Claire in 1857. Dole retired from the firm in 1862, and from that time until 1881 when the company was reorganized as the Empire Lumber Company, it was known as Ingram, Kennedy & Company.

The correspondence, 1857-1904, emphasizes the selling end of the business and consists very largely of letters of report from branch managers, agents, and salesmen, and correspondence between members of the company. The correspondence as a whole pertains to business plans, policies, and practices; filling of orders for lumber and millwork; market prospects; prices, types, and qualities of lumber; credit and collection matters; complaints, rafting of the lumber on the Chippewa and Mississippi rivers; personnel and employees; claims for compensation for injuries sustained by employees; earnings of the company, acquisition of timber lands in Wisconsin and several other states; organization of the Pacific Empire Lumber Company at South Bend, Washington in the 1890's; and investments in anthracite coal mines in Alberta, Canada. Among names of letter writers most prominent at various times are those of E. H. Playter, D. M. Dulaney, W. H. Day, and C. A. Chamberlin.

Also in the correspondence are various scattered financial and statistical records, such as balance sheets, trial balances, profit and loss statements, income tax reports for 1895, tax receipts, statements of logs scaled, inventories, distribution statements, summaries of lumber sales, stump age contracts, and log driving contracts.

A group of letters, 1893-1901, relates to Ripon College--finances, endowment, and particularly the building of Ingram Hall and circumstances surrounding the resignation of the president of the college. Among these letters are a number from President Rufus C. Flagg, Edward H. Merrell, and S. M. Pedrick.

Miscellaneous letters have to do with the effect of severance of economic relations with the South in 1861; the Dells of the Chippewa improvement; internal improvements by the federal government on the Chippewa River in regard to which there are several letters of Philetus Sawyer and M. C. Griffin; philanthropic work of Ingram, including assistance to the work of the Rev. D. L. Moody, several of whose letters are here; labor troubles in the lumber industry; sale of Cornell University lands in Wisconsin; the building and operation of the Eau Claire Water Works; the depression of 1893; and relief of the cyclone victims at New Richmond, Wisconsin in 1899.

The letter books, 1873-1904, several of which are illegible, contain copies of letters of Ingram and C. A. Chamberlin, long assistant secretary of the Empire Lumber Company. The subjects of the letters here are about the same as those of the unbound correspondence.

Other bound material includes scattered financial records relating to the Ingram lumbering operations--a journal, two ledgers, and other records; and a journal, ledger, and time book of the Half Moon Lake Canal Company.

Administrative/Restriction Information

Acquisition Information: Presented in 1916 through the agency of W. W. Bartlett; additional material presented by Charles H. Ingram, Tacoma, Washington, June 22, 1966.

Contents List

Box 1-52 Correspondence, 1857-1904 Box 53-62
Volume 1- 30Letter books, 1873-1904 Box 62
Volume 31 Ledger, 1857-1859, Dole, Ingram & Kennedy Volume 32Journal, 1866-1867, Ingram & KennedyBox 62
Volume 33Ledger, 1867-1871, Ingram & Kennedy  Box 62
Volume 34- 35Day books, 1868-1870, 1873, Ingram & Kennedy Box 63
Volume 36Account book of lumber rafted, 1874-1876, Ingram & Kennedy Box 63
Volume 37- 40Log scale books, 1874-1879, Ingram & KennedyBox 63
Volume 41Inventory, 1875-1880, Ingram & Kennedy Box 63
Volume 42Supplies drawn by employees on account, 1867-1868, Ingram & Kennedy Box 63
Volume 43Order and inventory book, 1881(?)-1884, Empire Lumber Company Box 63
Volume 44Time book, 1880-1881, Empire Lumber CompanyBox 63
Volume 45Day book, 1882-1883, Empire Lumber Company, Eddy MillBox 63
Volume 46Inventory, 1892-1900, Empire Lumber Company Box 63
Volume 47Inventory, 1892-1900, Empire Lumber Company Volume 48Journal, 1872-1878, Half Moon Lake Canal Co. (HMLC)Volume 49Ledger, 1872-1879, Half Moon Lake Canal Co. Volume 50Time book, 1872-1880, Half Moon Lake Canal Co.