Pioneering Families
... with Roots in Madison County

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Photo provided to the Peterboro Area Museum
by Eulalie Bliss St. Don.





   PETERBORO, NY -- Willis Arnold Ingalls was born at Peterboro on January 28, 1856, the son of Conrad and Lydia (Tucker) Ingalls. He received his education at Evans Academy, Cazenovia Seminary, and Cornell University, where he graduated in 1879.

    In 1881, while studying law in Chicago, Ingalls received an offer of the principalship of Evans Academy. He accepted and taught here for seven years. The salary was $800. He always received his pay in gold.

   This was a prosperous time for Evans Academy. The reputation of the school was very high. Pupils could prepare for college right here, and they came long distances to attend. Latin and Greek were taught. French was a popular subject. The students subscribed to a French newspaper and read every word of it. Voltaire and Moliere were read in the original. No abridged editions were used in those days.

    Following his employment at Peterboro, Willis Ingalls went on to Pompey Academy and schools in Fabius, Marathon, New Berlin, Cincinnatus, and Phelps, New York. In 1906 he became Superintendent of Schools in Ontario County, retiring in 1916.

   Willis Ingalls married Minnie Dorrance of Peterboro in 1881. They were the parents of four children: Hazel, John, Vera, and Robert. Minnie passed away in 1934, and Willis died on October 25, 1941. They are buried in the Peterboro Cemetery.

Donna Dorrance Burdick
Historian, Town of Smithfield 
July 2004 


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