Biography of Thomas Inch

Thomas Inch, born in County Derry, Ireland, on August 12, 1888, emigrated to the United States, first settling in Connecticut before moving to Yankton County, South Dakota, in 1868. Initially securing 160 acres of government land, Inch expanded his holdings to 720 acres, developing a prosperous farm known for its modern equipment and well-tended fields. He specialized in general farming and livestock raising, including Durham cattle and Poland-China hogs. Although never married, he lived with his brother Major Inch and his family. Thomas served as a county commissioner from 1891 to 1897 and was active in school work and the Episcopal church.

Thomas Inch.—A splendid farm with its well-tilled fields, good buildings, fine improvements, modern machinery, and splendid equipment is the property of Thomas Inch, one of Ireland’s native sons, now a valued resident of Yankton County. His birth occurred in County Derry, on the Emerald Isle, August 12, 1888, and his parents, John and Katherine Inch, spent their entire lives in that country. In the family were twelve children, six of whom came to the United States, namely: Thomas; Joseph, now deceased; Katherine; Sarah; William, who has also passed away; and Major. The subject was the first to leave his native land and seek a home in the new world and was followed by his brother Joseph. Later, the two sisters came, then William, and lastly Major. Those who still survive are all residents of South Dakota. Katherine is the wife of Joseph West, a resident farmer of Volin, South Dakota, and they have four children. Sarah is the wife of William Fuller, a government employee at the Crow Creek Agency. He is a boss carpenter and has held the position for twenty-five years. Unto him and his wife have been born three children. Major Inch married Anna Erickson and has two hundred and forty acres of land adjoining the farm of Thomas Inch, and he and his family live with the subject. There are five children: Thomas, Mary Ann, John, Merrill, and William.

Thomas Inch spent his youth in the land of his birth, but when a young man was attracted by the possibilities and business opportunities of the new world, he came to America to try his fortune. He resided for twelve years in Connecticut, where he engaged in farming and gardening, and the year 1868 witnessed his arrival in South Dakota. He met a minister from this state who interested him in the new country, and by rail, Mr. Inch made his way to Sioux City and thence by stage to Yankton. This was all open country, the greater part of which was unclaimed, and few indeed were the settlers scattered over the prairies. Mr. Inch secured one hundred and sixty acres of government land on section 9, township 93, range 54. All was uncultivated, and he built a frame house, fourteen by twenty feet. He then began to improve his farm, and in course of time developed a splendid property. In 1885, he replaced his first home with a more commodious and modern farm residence, and in 1899, he built a large and substantial barn. He has added to his place until he now owns altogether seven hundred and twenty acres. Not long after his arrival, he planted small trees, and some of these are now four feet in diameter and form a most attractive feature in the landscape. They cast a grateful shade over the home and lawn and make the farm a very pleasing one.

In 1877, Mr. Inch’s brother, Major Inch, came to South Dakota and bought a tract of land adjoining that which our subject owns. Mr. Inch has never married, and his brother and his family live with him. The subject carries on general farming, and in addition to the tilling of the soil, has engaged in the raising of Durham cattle, draft horses, and Poland-China hogs. What he undertakes, he carries forward to successful completion and is most persevering and determined in his labors. To these admirable qualities may be attributed his success, for while he came to America empty-handed, he is now one of the prosperous citizens of his community, having risen to the plane of affluence within a comparatively few years. His political allegiance is given to the Democracy and from 1891 until 1897, he served as county commissioner, discharging the duties of the office in a most acceptable manner. He has also taken a helpful part in school work, as does his brother, Major, and both gentlemen attend the Episcopal church. The hope that led Mr. Inch to the new world has been more than realized, for he found here the business opportunities he sought and gained the satisfactory reward of labor which is ever accorded in this country.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

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