Melville Ezra Ingalls


Hon. Melville Ezra Ingalls

President of the Indianapolis, Cincinnati & Lafayette Railroad Company, was born in Harrison, Maine, September 6th, 1842. Like the majority of the boys of New England, and especially of Maine, his education was commenced in the common schools, which he attended during the long cold winters, while in the summer time he learned to work on a farm. This most excellent training for boys gave him in early life a remarkably vigorous constitution both physically and mentally. When a mere youth he presented himself to the superintending School Committee of his town, and on an examination received a certificate as teacher. He at once assumed the arduous and important, though rarely appreciated, duties of the schoolmaster, which he continued to discharge faithfully each winter for about six years. In the meantime he fitted for college by graduating from Bridgeton Academy. He entered Bowdoin College, but, preferring to commence his professional studies, did not remain to graduate, but became a student in the Harvard Law School, from which he graduated in 1863. Early in 1864 he returned to the State of Maine and opened his law office in the town of Gray, having been admitted to practise at the bar of Cumberland county. At a later period of the same year he removed to Boston, Massachusetts, and resumed the practice of his profession in that city. In 1867 he was elected a Senator of the Sixth Massachusetts Senatorial District, and served one year, declining a re-election which was urged upon him. With his popularity in the Senate his professional work increased so rapidly that he enjoyed a very large and profitable business until 1871, when he left the law and politics and removed to Cincinnati, Ohio, to accept the receivership, and subsequent presidency, of the Indianapolis, Cincinnati & Lafayette Railroad. It was an empty honor, however, as the company had failed and was soon forced into bankruptcy. Mr. Ingalls obtained money of the stockholders by voluntary subscriptions and paid off the debts, and procured the release of the railroad from litigation and the hands of the court in July, 1873, and immediately upon the reorganization of the company was elected President, which office he continues to hold to the entire satisfaction of the stockholders. He has devoted his undivided time to acquiring a thorough knowledge of railroading in all its details; and the Indianapolis, Cincinnati & Lafayette Railroad under his management has been entirely reorganized and its works placed in first-class condition. He has shown remarkable executive capacity and foresight. He is characterized by quick perception, acute, penetrative and great intellectual powers. With a sanguine and enthusiastic temperament and a willingness to take his full share of labor, he has infused his own spirit into the entire working force of the road until it has become one of the best managed railroads in the West. He is always accessible to the humblest employee of the road, and promptly investigates every grievance presented to him. His remarkable energy, power of organization and ceaseless activity, have been of invaluable service to the Indianapolis, Cincinnati & Lafayette Railroad, and have placed him in the first rank of the leading railroad men of this country. He was married to Abbie M. Stimson, of Gray, Maine, on January 19th, 1867.

Source: The Biographical Encyclopedia of Ohio of the Nineteenth Century. Columbus, OH, USA: Galaxy Publishing Co., 1876.