Chester Inman enlisted at Clarksville, Butler Co.,
IA, 20 Aug. 1861 as a private in Co. I, 9th IA Infantry. He was promoted to 1st Lt., 14
June 1862. Chester participated in a number of Civil War battles, including Vicksburg and
Lookout Mountain, being severely wounded in the thigh during the former battle, 22 May
1863. He was mustered in as a captain 6 Oct. 1863 and was later promoted to major. In the
battle of Bentonville he commanded the advance picket line of his own and another
regiment under one of the most terrific fires of musketry of the war. Of his performance in this battle, Col. George A. Stone, commanding the Third Brigade, First Div., 15th Army Corps, stated in his 26 March 1865 report, "The other officers on the skirmish line - Captain Inman, Ninth IA; ... are all reported to me to have behaved well and set a good example to their men. The loss on the skirmish line was quite severe." After the war, Chester was always called "Major Inman".
Chester and his brother, Daniel, were among the very first settlers of O'Brien Co., IA, where he arrived in 1866. In the spring of 1869 he built the hotel in Old O'Brien that later became the Crego Hotel. Chester was the first postmaster at Old O'Brien and was superintendent of schools in 1869, county treasuer 1868-9, county recorder 1868-9, and county supervisor 1871-2. He was a partner in the publishing of the "O'Brien Weekly Pioneer" at Sanborn for a brief period. At one time he was living in the Primghar, IA area.
Chester's large three-story house on his 580-acre farm (later known as the Cedar Cliff Farm) in Sec. 26 in Grant Twsp. was started in 1869 and enlarged considerably several years later. Called 'The Old Major Inman House', it was built on one of the few picturesque sites in O'Brien Co., situated on a bluff near Waterman Creek. This house was considered in those times a mansion. The lower story was of stone while the remainder of the 3 story building was frame. In the construction of the original part of the house the lumber was hauled from Ft. Dodge. There was a large hall on the third floor, evidently built with the idea of large-scale entertainment and gatherings in mind. The house was destroyed by fire in March 1897.
Chester has been described as a good man of considerable breadth, having a kind heart and a sympathetic nature. It is said that the needy and unfortunate never left his door empty-handed when he was able to relieve them. Embroiled in politics and suffering from farming setbacks, he lost heavily, apparently including his farm.
That Chester was at one time a leader of his community is further demonstrated by the following amusing event, recorded in "History of O'Brien county, IA", D.A.W. Perkins, Sioux Falls, 1897. "In 1871, Mrs. Fenton, living in Grant Twsp...saw something which she believed to be a band of Indians but which finally turned out to be a drove of cattle...the alarm she started became general...there was a general exodus to the town of Old O'Brien...Major Inman was made commander-in-chief, but owing to the nervous condition of these new recruits, it was difficult to get them in a line of action."
"Primghar" was coined from the first letters of the surnames of a group of men interested in developing the town. The 'i' was for Inman (Chester William). According to family tradition, the men responsible for moving the county seat to that town were the ones whose names were used. At any rate, it is well established that the surnames were: Pumphrey, Roberts, Inman, McCormack, Green, Hayes, Albright and Rerick.
Chester was killed in IA by a neighbor in an altercation over a boundary line.
Info from "The Genealogy of the Daniel Inman Family", by Charles Inman.
Inman, Chester W. Born February 10, 1837; brother to Daniel W. last above. Married Kate Baker. Enlisted August 20, 1861, at Clarksville, in Company I, Ninth Iowa Infantry, Third Brigade, First Division, Fifteenth Corps; participated in battles of Vicksburg, Lookout Mountain, and others; wounded severely in thigh May 22, 1863 at Vicksburg; promoted First Lieutenant June 14, 1862; resigned February 15, 1865, at Louisville, Ky. Settled in O’Brien County September, 1866, section 26, Grant Township. Was superintendent of Schools, 1869; County Recorder, 1868 and 1869; County Treasurer, 1868 and 1869; County Supervisor, 1871 and 1872.
From Old Soldiers Who Have Lived In O'Brien County, IA - Compiled by Geo W. Schee and O.H. Montzheimer 1909, Primghar, IA