Samuel M. Inman

Samuel Martin Inman (February 19, 1843 – January 12, 1915) was a prominent cotton merchant and businessman in Atlanta, Georgia, who is best known for the neighborhood in Atlanta that bears his name. Inman is also commemorated in the name of the Samuel M. Inman Middle School in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood.

Early life

Inman was born in Dandridge, Tennessee, in Jefferson County.[1] He was the son of Shadrach W. Inman and Jane Martin Inman.[2] He went to college at Princeton College and at the age of 18 he joined Company K of the Confederate Army's First Tennessee Cavalry during the American Civil War.[1] During the war he served as a lieutenant of his company and was present at the surrender of the army.[1]

Atlanta and Inman Park

In 1886, Inman moved to Augusta, Georgia, and became a businessman.[1] He joined with Joel Hurt that year to form the East Atlanta Land Company with the purpose of developing Inman Park, a residential then-suburb of Atlanta.[3][4] They also formed Atlanta & Edgewood Street Railroad to provide adequate transportation to the area.[3]

He moved permanently to Atlanta in 1867 to establish the S. W. Inman & Son cotton house with his father.[1] The next year he married Jennie Dick of Rome, Georgia, with whom he had two sons and a daughter.

In 1869, they changed the title of the company to S. W. Inman & Co and by 1889, it was the largest cotton business in the city and it had a branch house in Houston, Texas.[1] Some estimated at that time that Inman was worth about $750,000 to $1,000,000, a sum that would have been much larger if not for his charitable donations.[1] By 1889, Inman was on the directory for what was known as the Inman System, a group of nearly all of the railroads covering from Richmond, Virginia, to Montgomery, Alabama, and from Bristol, [Virginia?], to Savannah, Georgia.[1]


Inman came from a very wealthy and successful family. His brother was John H. Inman, the head of the company Inman, Swann, & Co. of New York City and president of the West Point Terminal Company which controlled 11,000 miles of track and $4,000,000 in steamships.[1] His other brother, Hugh T. Inman, owned the Kimball House Hotel in Atlanta. Several other family members were also extremely successful including William H. Inman and Walker Inman who was a part of S. M. Inman & Co.

Georgia School of Technology

Inman was instrumental in the early days of the Georgia School of Technology, now known as the Georgia Institute of Technology. First, he secured funding for the school in the amount of $5,000 of his own money and $75,000 plus an annuity of $2,500 from the city.[1] He also helped secure the land for the school and was appointed to the board of commissioners to help oversee some of the construction.[1] Some stated that the school was better equipped than any other technical school at the time.[1]


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