Samuel Delucenna Ingham

September 16, 1779 – June 5, 1860

Based on Wikipedia and other sources



Born near New Hope, Pennsylvania, after a pursuit of classical studies, he engaged in the political activities, becoming a U. S. Congressman and U. S. Treasury Secretary under President Andrew Jackson. His interests then turned to the manufacture of paper and the development of Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal fields.


He was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1806 to 1808, and a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1813 to 1818 and again from 1822 to 1829.


During the 13th Congress he was chair of the House Committee on Pensions and Revolutionary War Claims, during the 14th, 15th, 19th and 20th Congresses, he was chair of the House Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads and was also chair of the House Committee on Expenditures in the Post Office Department during the 15th Congress.


He served as Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from 1819 to 1820, and as the ninth Secretary of the U.S. Treasury from March 6, 1829, to June 21, 1831.


During the 1820's, Ingham was a member of the prestigious society, Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences, who counted among their members former presidents Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams and many prominent men of the day, including well-known representatives of the military, government service, medical and other professions.


The Second Bank of the United States, viewed by Jackson and much of the nation as an unconstitutional and dangerous monopoly, was Ingham's primary concern as Secretary of the Treasury—Jackson not only mistrusted the Second Bank of the United States, but all banks.


Jackson thought that there should be no paper currency in circulation, but only coins, and that the U.S. Constitution was designed to expel paper currency as part of the monetary system. Ingham believed in the Second Bank and labored to resolve conflicts between Jackson, who wanted it destroyed, and the Bank's president, Nicholas Biddle.


Ingham was unable to reach any resolution between Jackson and Biddle but he left office over an incident unrelated to the Bank. Unwilling to comply with Jackson's demand that Peggy Eaton, the socially unacceptable wife of Secretary of War John H. Eaton, be invited to Washington social functions, Ingham and several other members of Jackson's cabinet resigned, a scandal known as the Petticoat affair.


After resigning as Secretary of the Treasury, Ingham cultivated his business interests. He helped found the Beaver Meadow Railroad Company and was President for a time. He assisted in forming the Hazelton Coal Company and at the same time became interested in the Lehigh Navigation and Delaware Division canals. He spent much time at the state capitol in advocating the improvement of inland waterways.


Ingham died in Trenton, New Jersey and is interred in the Solebury Presbyterian Churchyard, Solebury, Pennsylvania. Ingham County, Michigan, one of several Cabinet counties named for members of Jackson's administration, is named in Ingham's honor.


Biographical dictionary of the United States secretaries of the Treasury

By Bernard S. Katz, C. Daniel Vencill


SAMUEL D. INGHAM (September 16, 1779 - June 5, 1860). Samuel Delucenna Ingham was a prominent politician and successful entrepreneur from the state of Pennsylvania. His youngest son, William A. Ingham, described Samuel as a man of medium height, with broad shoulders and light blue eyes. His disposition was sober and distant, even toward his children (W. Ingham, 1917, 30).


Samuel Deluccnna Ingham was born in the village of Great Springs near the town of New Hope in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on September 16,1779. He was the only son and the oldest of four children born into the family of Dr. Jonathan and Ann (Welding) Ingham, which had resided in Bucks County for four generations. Although the Inghams were Quakers, Jonathan had early on broken his ties with the "broad brim" sect. Jonathan was devoted to classical studies and presided over Samuel's early education, tutoring him in the classical tradition. The doctor, however, was a very busy man, and at the age of ten, Samuel was sent to a private school that taught in the classical tradition.


Before Samuel reached his fourteenth birthday, his father died from yellow fever, ending Samuel's formal education. Due to ensuing financial difficulty, his mother indentured Samuel to a paper maker on Pennypacker Creek, fifteen miles from Philadelphia. He remained in the service of the paper maker for five years. After fulfilling his contractual obligations, he returned home to aid his mother in running the family farm.


In 1798 Samuel accepted the manager's position at a paper mill located near Bloomfield in eastern New Jersey. During his employment at the mill Samuel met his future wife, Rebecca Dodd, whom he married in 1800 after attaining his twenty-first birthday. The couple returned home, and Samuel built a paper mill on the family property and settled down to raising a family and running the mill and family farm.


Samuel became involved in local politics and was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1806. He declined reelection in 1808 due to pressing business affairs. In the same year, Governor Thomas McKean appointed Samuel as justice of the Peace in Bucks County. In 1812, he was elected to the U.S.


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to withdraw public funds if the administration deemed it necessary (Parton, 266-67). This implied threat was not carried out during Ingham's watch, but the relationship between the Treasury and the bank remained strained. The public debt issue would also remain unresolved at the end of Inghar’s tenure as Secretary.


During this period in history, administration of U.S. commercial policy was the responsibility of the Treasury. During his tenure as Secretary, Ingham advocated in his annual reports to Congress for a reduction in import tariffs and in taxes, in general. He viewed all taxes as a necessary evil to pay off a greater economic evil, the public debt. He believed that the public debt and high taxes needed to pay off that debt led to a misallocation of resources and lessened American manufacturers' ability to compete with foreign producers. Ingham was also concerned with smuggling and recommended changes in custom house regulations and duty application procedures. He pointed to the amount of smuggling occurring under the present system as proof of the system's inefficiency and need for reform.


Ingham's son, William, wrote that his father was an ardent protectionist and had made numerous public statements in favor of tariffs (W. Ingham, 1917, 29). There is no written evidence of Ingham expounding this view during his tenure as Secretary. To the contrary, Ingham argued for reductions in the tariff as Secretary of the Treasury: “Whatever the objects may, in the wisdom of the Government, be found, for the application of surplus revenue, after the public debt be paid, there will probably remain a considerable amount, which may be dispensed with, by a reduction of the import duties, without prejudice to any branch of domestic industry" (S. Ingham, "1829," 17). It is clear from his official statement to Congress that Ingham believed U.S tariff rates were excessive.


Ingham's favored place in the Jackson Cabinet was abruptly terminated by his actions toward John Eaton and the role of Ingham’s wife Deborah in what has become known as the Margaret Eaton scandal. Margaret Eaton was the wife of John Eaton, Jackson's Secretary of War, fellow Tennessean, and lifelong friend. Jackson was also a friend of Mrs. Eaton's family. It was the second marriage for both parties. Washington's social elite, which included Cabinet family members, refused to recognize Mrs. Eaton socially. The snubbing of Mrs. Eaton infuriated President Jackson. It reminded Jackson of the pain and humiliation false rumors had inflicted upon his own dearly loved departed wife, Elizabeth, during his term in Congress. Jackson went so far as to have his personal aide, Major William Lewis, investigate all of the rumors. Major Lewis found no proof to verify any of the scandalous gossip (Parton, 184-205). Jackson then demanded that his Cabinet members and their families welcome Mrs. Eaton into their social circle. The Cabinet members refused, except Secretary of State Martin Van Buren.


Jackson came to believe that the ringleaders of the social boycott of Mrs. Eaton were Mrs. Ingham and Mrs. Calhoun. Jackson concluded that their husbands' refusal to put an end to snubbing was motivated by a political scheme, with the sole purpose of driving Major Eaton from the Cabinet (Munroe, 295). Events surrounding the scandal left the Cabinet paralyzed, forcing Jackson to dissolve the Cabinet in the Spring of 1831. Ingham left office on June 20, 1831. The correspondence between Jackson and Ingham reveals that they parted on good terms. However, Ingham refuted Jackson's version of the Cabinet dissolution publicly in May and hinted that it was due solely to his family's refusal to accept Mrs. Eaton socially. In June, a story appeared in the United States Telegraph, blaming the dissolution of the Cabinet on Mrs. Eaton and Jackson's desire to regulate the private lives of his Cabinet officers (McCrary, 232-34). These events enraged Major Eaton and drove the final nail in lngham’s political coffin. Eaton challenged Ingham to a duel over the article; Ingham refused. Ingham packed up his family and left Washington for Baltimore on June 22, 1831, thus ending his political career (Parton, 364-68).


The Ingham family returned to New Hope, Pennsylvania, and Ingham re-devoted himself to business. He helped develop the anthracite coal fields in Pennsylvania and was one of the founding members and for a time President of the Beaver Meadow Railroad Company. Later, he helped organize the Hazelton Coal Co. and through his coal interests became involved in the political issues sur, rounding the construction of the Lehigh Navigation and Delaware Division canals.


As a private citizen, Ingham spent considerable energy lobbying the state legislature for improvement of Pennsylvania's inland waterways to benefit Pennsylvania's coal industry. In 1849 Samuel Ingham moved the family to Trenton, New Jersey, and became involved in the Trenton Mechanics Bank. On June 5, 1860, Ingham died at his home in Trenton. He Was buried in the cemetery of the Thompson Memorial Church located at Great Springs, Pennsylvania. He was survived by his wife Deborah and five of his eight children.


Samuel D. Ingham lived during a turbulent period in American history. His contributions to the new nation and the state of Pennsylvania were significant. Yet because he lived in the age of Monroe, Jackson, and Adams, Ingham's shadow pales. His involvement in scandalous events adds no luster to his legacy. Concerned with his reputation, Ingham burned his entire collection of correspondence in 1849 in the fear that those letters would tarnish his reputation if published after his death (W. Ingham, 1917, 29). The destruction of Ingham's confidential correspondence is regrettable from a historical point of view and leaves several questions about his character unanswered.



Catterall, R. C. The Second Bank of the United States. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1903.

Hammond, B. Banks and Politics in America. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957.

Ingham, S. D. "Report on Finances, December, 1829." In Reports of the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. Washington, D.C.: Blair & Rives Publisher, 1837a.

______, "Report on Finances. December, 1830." In Reports of the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. Washington, D.C.: Blair & Rives Publisher, 1837b.

"Samuel D. Ingham." In Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography. Vol. 3. New York: D. Appleton and Co.,1888.

Ingham, W. A. "Samuel D. Ingham, Secretary of the United States Treasury." In The Bucks County Historical Society. Doylestown, PA: Published by the Society, 1917.

McCrary, R. C. " 'The Long Agony Is Nearly Over:Samuel D. Ingham Reports on the Dissolution of Andrew Jackson's First Cabinet." Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 100, no. 2 (1976): 231-42.

McGrane, R. C. The Correspondence of Nicholas Biddle Dealing with National Affairs 1807 - 1844. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Publishing Co., 1919.

Munroe, J. Louis McLane: Federalist and Jacksonian. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1973.

Parton J. Life of Andrew Jackson. Vol. 3. New York: Mason Brothers, 1861.




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