I keep finding these ancestors, or rather, re-finding them. I've known of Edward Inman for quite a while and even have his supposed family back for a few generations, but hadn't researched him at all. As is turns out, he is another person that I would like to meet at a party or reception, because there is so much I'd like to ask him.
One of the things that is interesting about Edward is the lack of information about his parents. Many people say he was christened on March 5,1619/1620 in St. Margaret's, London, England, and that his father's name was John. Most of these same sources say that his wife was Elizabeth Hopkins, or perhaps Elizabeth Marsden. There seems to be no good documentation for either marriage as far as I have been able to learn. So Edward's background, his immigration to the Colonies, and his marriage, whether in England or here, are still mysteries. Even his early years in the Colonies are not well documented.
It's puzzling that so little has been found about him prior to his arrival in Rhode Island, because he was apparently a man of some wealth from the get-go. He was a successful glover (some say fox glover) and hatter, so a merchant, probably a fur trader, and also a planter. With his money, he was also able to become a part owner in a silver mine, the second silver mine in the Colony. Apparently it was not expected to be a huge strike because the Crown had no interest in the mine. As far as I've been able to find so far, the silver mine was not a commercial success.
Edward is believed to have arrived, possibly in Virginia, sometime before 1645. It's thought that he and his family were Quakers, and if this is so, his arrival in Warwick, Rhode Island in or before 1648 may have been because the Virginians were already hostile to the Quaker faith. It's also possible that he was never in Virginia, and that he came through Massachusetts because the birth of his first son is recorded in Braintree, Massachusetts. If he had been in Massachusetts, and if he was a Quaker, then it certainly makes sense that the family would end up in Rhode Island. "The family" included three children, Joanna, John, and Edward, and possibly a fourth, Francis.
He seems to have been in Warwick, Providence, and what is now Smithfield, Rhode Island at different times, acquiring land (in one purchase, at least 2500 acres) and also serving in the government. He was made a freeman in 1655, and was a Commissioner or Deputy at the General Court several times, as well as a frequent juryman. His first wife died and he married Barbara, widow Phillips, in 1676, in Newport, where Edward may have gone during King Philip's War. She had children from her earlier marriage, but it seems that all the children, his and hers, were adults by the time of this marriage. Edward seems to disappear from politics about 1686, and lived quietly with his family and running his businesses, until he died in 1706.
It's hard to stop with just this much information about this ancestor. Was he part of the Virginia Inman family, or was he of a different family? When did he come here? Why was his first son's birth reported in Braintree? Was the family Quaker, or was that true for later generations in the family? What was his net worth at the time of his death? And what really became of the silver mine? Did that add to or detract from his wealth? Oh, the questions!
The line of descent is:
Joanna Inman-Nathaniel Mowry
Joanna Mowry-Walter Phetteplace
Sarah Phetteplace-Elisha Eddy
Enos Eddy-Deborah Paine
Joseph Eddy-Susan Lamphire
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen