Brief Biographies from the Jackson/Van Buren Era (I):


Ibrahima, Abd al-Rahman ("Prince") (1762 - 1829):

An educated Islamic negro prince of the Fulbe people. He was captured in battle, sold into slavery, shipped to America, and sold to Thomas Foster in 1789. Foster owned a moderate sized plantation near Natchez, Mississippi.

A remarkable coincidence brought him in contact with an Irish-American doctor who knew him from Africa. This led eventually to African Colonizationists (Henry Clay was even involved) purchasing his freedom, under the condition that he should emigrate to Africa. After a fundraising tour of the East, he finally was put aboard a ship to Africa - one of the few Africans who had a home there to go to. He died shortly after landing in Liberia, of a fever, as did many of the "colonizers".

Thomas Foster was an early settler in the Mississippi Valley. Though the future state of Mississippi was actually Spanish Territory in 1789, there were a number of emmigrants from the American South to this promising cotton-growing area.

Ibrahima ran away during the first years of his enslavement, but returned, and eventually was made an overseer on the plantation.

In 1781, an Irish doctor, John Cox, was serving as a ships surgeon off the coast of Africa. He lost his way in the countryside when he and some others went ashore to hunt. In 1807, the Irish doctor, John Cox, having immigrated to Mississippi, was amazed to discover that his neighbor's slave was the son of King Sori, who had preserved his life and sent him back to civilization.

Cox tried to purchase Ibrahima in order to free him, but Thomas refused. Cox went as high as a thousand dollars, twice the normal price for a slave like Ibrahima. Two more decades passed in slavery. Cox died in 1816, but his son, William Rousseau Cox, continued to interest himself in Ibrahima.

Eventually, as an old man, retired from hard labor, Ibrahima gained his freedom through the efforts of a small time printer, Andrew Marschalk, editor of the Mississippi State Gazette. Marschalk enlisted the aid of Thomas B. Reed, Senator from Mississippi, and of Henry Clay, who was then secretary of state under John Quincy Adams.


Inchbald, Elizabeth Simpson 1753 - 1821

English Playwright, novelist, actress. Wrote plays such as "Such Things Are", and "Every One has His Fault" (See 9/2/29 - NY performance) (Source: Century Cyclopedia of Names).


INGERSOLL, Ralph Isaacs, 1789-1872

Representative from Connecticut; born in New Haven, Conn., February 8, 1789; pursued classical studies, and was graduated from Yale College in 1808; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1810 and commenced practice in New Haven; member of the State house of representatives 1820-1825 and served as speaker during the last two years; elected to the Nineteenth and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1825-March 3, 1833); was not a candidate for renomination in 1832; resumed the practice of law; appointed State’s attorney for New Haven County in 1833; declined the appointment as United States Senator tendered by Governor Edwards upon the death of Senator Nathan Smith in 1835; Minister to Russia from August 8, 1846, until July 1, 1848, when he resigned; again engaged in the practice of law; mayor of New Haven in 1851; died in New Haven, Conn., August 26, 1872; interment in Grove Street Cemetery.

Source: Biog. Dir. of Am. Congress.


Ingham, Samuel Delucenna 1779 - 1860

b.9/16,d.6/5
A businessman and politician, a Congressman for Bucks County, PA from 1813-1818 and from 1822-1829, then for two years, secretary of the Treasury in Jackson's ill-fated first cabinet. He then retired from politics and busied himself at New Hope, and after 1849 in Trenton, NJ, with coal, railroads, and projects involving inland waterways.

Born near New Hope, PA to a physician and farmer; got some schooling in early years, but was orphanned at 14, and apprenticed to a paper maker. This apparently served him well as he spent his early adult life building and running paper mills. His first mill was in Bloomfield, NJ. He married Rebecca Dodd in Bloomfield in 1800, and returned to the area of his birth to build and run a paper mill in New Hope, PA. He resigned his third term in Congress on July 6, 1818 to attend to his ailing first wife, who died in 1819. He remaried to Deborah Kay Hall of Salem, NJ in 1822 and returned the same year to Congress to serve another 6 years.

Source: DAB (which relied on a pamphlet by Ingham's son, the Biog Directory of the American Congress, JQ Adams' diary and, apparently, his obituary).


Irving, Washington 1783 - 1859

A prolific writer; first American to become well received in Europe. Born and raised in New York. Wrote the tongue in cheek Knickerbocker History of New York, mostly relating the adventures of comical Dutchmen. Wrote much in a whimsical "ghost story" style, often set in the Dutch villages of the Hudson River area, such as "Rip Van Winkel" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (in which a New England school teacher falls for a Dutch girl in one such village, and is fooled and terrified into fleeing down by her Dutch suitor). He wrote a good bit of travel literature, some history that was not so tongue in cheek (though written for popular consumption), including a biography of his namesake, George Washington.