Ingersoll, Robert Green
- Mark A. Plummer
Ingersoll, Robert Green (11 August 1833–21 July 1899), orator and lawyer, was born in Dresden, New York, the son of the Reverend John Ingersoll, a fiery Congregational orator and abolitionist, and Mary Livingston. When Robert was two years old his mother died. His father then moved the family through a dozen or more pastorates in New York, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois. Robert came to reject his father’s gloomy Calvinism but embraced his oratorical style, abolitionism, and his assiduous reading habits. Although the itinerant status of the family limited his formal schooling, Ingersoll was well versed in the classics. He taught for two years at subscription schools in Mount Vernon and Metropolis, Illinois, and in Waverly, Tennessee. Both Robert and his brother Ebon Clark Ingersoll, a future congressman, were introduced to the law and politics when they read law for a few months in the office of Democratic congressman Willis Allen, in Marion, Illinois, where they were admitted to the bar in 1854. Robert served as a legal clerk in various federal, county, and circuit courts in southern Illinois. In late 1857 or early 1858 the brothers moved to Peoria, where they developed a thriving legal practice....