John H. Inman
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John Hamilton Inman (23 October 1844 - 5 November 1896) was an American capitalist who invested in cotton, coal, iron and steel, and railroads, especially in the impoverished American South during the Reconstruction Era. While he is remembered as a tycoon in the age of ''laissez-faire'', cut-throat capitalism, he nevertheless helped the economic development of his native state and the South in general.
John H. Inman was a member of one of the best-known families in Tennessee. His father was a merchant in the village of Dandridge, and owned a plantation nearby. The Inman children received a good common school education. John H. Inman supplemented his English education by reading extensively. He left school at fifteen years of age, and became a clerk in a Georgia bank of which his uncle was president. He proved so intelligent and efficient that within a year he was promoted to the position of assistant cashier. At the beginning of the Civil War he enlisted in the Confederate army although he was not yet eighteen years old. His father and relatives were impoverished by the war, and in September 1865, he went to New York City to seek his fortune. He obtained employment in a cotton house and was admitted to full partnership in the firm in 1868. In 1871 he founded the house of Inman, Swann and Co., in which he associated himself with his former partners. The business grew rapidly, and in a few years he amassed a fortune of several million dollars in the cotton trade, that came to be centered in New York City largely through his activity.
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