John Willoughby: Greene Publishing, Inc.
After church on Sunday, April 28, at approximately 2 p.m., multiple Madison County residents gathered together in the old First Baptist Church sanctuary, built in the late 1800s, for a presentation by Dr. Josh Goodman on Madison County's own, John Livingston Inglis.
Dr. Goodman, local due to his upbringing in Taylor County, is a graduate of Florida State University and currently serves as a historian for the Florida State Library and Archives, whose parent company is the Florida Department of State. This is not Dr. Goodman's first rodeo in Madison County, as he has presented several other pieces of historical information in the past.
Brought to Madison County by Teenie Cave's Treasures of Madison County Museum, the life of Inglis was well represented. Inglis was a Civil War veteran who settled in Madison and built the world's largest Sea Island cotton processing plant, more commonly known as the Florida Manufacturing Company, in 1874. Sea Island cotton is a premium cotton, with long fibers that were quite strong. Sea Island cotton produced lightweight yarn known for being silky soft. The factory burned in 1891, but was rebuilt and operated until its final closure in 1918, due to the invasion of destruction caused by the Mexican Boll Weevil, which destroyed the local cotton industry.
The large cotton gin used by the plant was powered by a steam engine, which is now located on S Range Ave., in Madison.
Much of Dr. Goodman's research proved to be intriguing, as some information was paramount and unknown to most. Three takeaways from the program include:
• Inglis came to the United States in 1857. According to Dr. Goodman, Inglis sailed from Isle of Wight, in the English Channel, to Pennsylvania with his Aunt, Margaret Townsend, in 1857. There, he became an apprentice in a steel mill. He did not, however, stay in the northern state for long, as Townsend brought him to Madison County to meet his other Livingston relatives before 1860.
• Inglis was a Civil War soldier. Just weeks after Florida became apart of the Union, Inglis enlisted into the confederacy on May 17, 1861. During this time, Inglis joined the Wakulla Guard Unit, which was later absorbed by the 2nd Florida Infantry Regiment. Through the switching of commanders, Inglis ended up in the 3rd Florida Infantry Regiment, where he spent the rest of his military career. In August of 1861, Inglis was appointed Sergeant of Sappers and Miners, which is technically combat engineers. He was later promoted to Captain in February of 1863, allowing him to become commander of the 3rd Florida Infantry Regiment, Company D.
• The Florida Manufacturing Company was not John’s idea. Andrew Inglis, Inglis' father, gave birth to the idea of the Florida Manufacturing Company. Andrew Inglis settled in Madison County about the time John Livingston had settled in Wakulla County near the end of the Civil War. In August of 1866, Andrew Inglis signed an agreement with two Madison County merchants, Thomas and Archie Livingston, giving birth to the Florida Manufacturing Company. Relation between the three is not immediately clear.
Inglis passed away in 1917, at the age of 79. He is now resting at Oak Ridge Cemetery, in Madison. Inglis was married to Louisa Olive Thomas Inglis, who passed away in 1916. Inglis was the father of John L. Inglis, Andrew Brinson Inglis, Beattie Andrew Inglis, Louise Thomas Inglis Love and Allick Wylie Inglis.