That would be Robert Green Ingersoll, "The Great Agnostic"
A Genealogy of the Ingersoll Family in America 1629-1925
320. Robert Green3 Ingersoll (John,7 Ebenezer,6 Richard,5 Richard,4 Richard,3 John,2 Richard1), born Aug. 11, 1833 at Dresden, N. Y.; died July 21, 1899 at Dobbs Ferry, N. Y.; m. Feb. 13, 1862 at Groveland, Ill., Eva Amelia Parker, born May 4, 1841 at Groveland, Ill., daughter of Benjamin Wild and Harriett E. (Lyon) Parker of that place. Mrs. Ingersoll died, 1923, at New York City.
The most illustrious of all those who bear the name of Ingersoll is Robert Green Ingersoll and it is futile in a work of this character to try to give more than the barest outline of his famous career. A large volume would be necessary to do justice to his character and works.
In his boyhood his father's family moved west, first going to Ashtabula, O. Here the father in 1841 succeeded the Rev. R. Conklin as pastor of the Presb. Church. After leaving Ashtabula the family went to Wisconsin and then to Illinois.
After studying law Robert opened an office in Shawneetown, Ill., with his brother, Eben. Both engaged in politics, but the surroundings were uncongenial and in 1857 they moved to Peoria, Ill. In 1860 Robert was a candidate for Representative, but was defeated. In 1862 he became Colonel of the Eleventh Ill. Cavalry and one and a half years later united with the Republican party. In 1866 he was appointed Attorney General for Illinois.
At the National Republican Convention of 1876 Robert Ingersoll proposed the name of James G. Blaine for the Presidential nomination in a speech that attracted much attention. From that time his services as a campaign orator were in demand throughout the country. In 1877 he refused the post of Minister to Germany.
He took part in numerous noted lawsuits in all parts of the country and was counsel for the so-called Star Route conspirator whose trial ended in acquittal in 1883. Another noted case which involved the largest fee ever awarded a lawyer was the celebrated will case of A. J. Davis of Montana. The death of Mr. Ingersoll occurred before the fee of $100,000 had been paid and Mrs. Eva Ingersoll brought suit for this amount, which was finally settled by the Supreme Court in her favor.
Robert Ingersoll was most widely known by his lectures, books, and pamphlets directed against the Christian religion. His friends declare that Ingersoll's idea was not to destroy it, but to purify it. To destroy the worthless orthodox weeds which choke the golden grain of true religion. Ingersoll removed the theological thorns, but the roses of religion he did not disturb. He believed in all that was just, all that was true, and all that was kind, all that was loving, and all that was merciful.
On Saturday afternoon of Oct. 28, 1912, in Glen Oak Park, Peoria, Ill.,
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in the presence of a gathering of many thousands of people the statue of Robert G. Ingersoll was unveiled. The Peoria Star in speaking of the statue says: "The figure is of heroic size, seven and one-half feet in height and stands in an easeful characteristic pose, the broad shoulders swung back and one hand thrust into the pocket holding back the familiar frock coat which for many years was as much a part of Ingersoll's personality as his hearty hand grip and frank unaffected boyish charm of manner.
"The figure is a striking one, full of vitality and force, and one of which the artist Fritz Trichel may well be proud."
The same year the house at Dresden in which Robert G. Ingersoll was born was purchased by Harvey Huested of White Plains, N. Y., for the purpose of preserving it as an Ingersoll museum. The house was in an excellent state of preservation and everything apparently kept as nearly as possible as it was on the day when a great genius was born. In Dec., 1924, the house at Gramercy Park, his home in New York for many years, was razed to make way for a sixteen-story hotel. The living-room and library with their contents will be transplanted to the new hotel. The rooms will constitute an Ingersoll shrine.
The words spoken by him at his brother's funeral can aptly be applied to him:
"This brave and tender man in every storm of life was oak and rock, but in the sunshine he was vine and flowers. He was the friend of all heroic souls. He climbed the heights and left all superstition far below while on his forehead fell the golden dawning of a grander day.
"He loved the beautiful and was with color, form, and music touched to tears. He sided with the weak and with a willing hand gave alms; with loyal heart and with purest hand he faithfully discharged all public trusts. He was a worshiper of liberty and a friend of the oppressed.
"He added to the sum of human joy and were every one for whom he did some loving service to bring a blossom to his grave he would sleep beneath a wilderness of flowers."
However much one differed from him in religious views, there could be only admiration for his eloquence, his ability, and his irreproachable home life.
431iEva Robert, b. Sept. 22, 1863, Groveland, Ill.
432ii Maud Robert, b. Nov. 4, 1864 Peoria, Ill.; m. Dec. 30, 1912,
Rev. Wallace M. Probasco, b. in Ohio, publisher, son of Wallace M.
and Arabella (McLean) Probasco.
The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume V
INGERSOLL, Robert Green, lawyer and lecturer, was born in Dresden. N.Y., Aug. 11, 1833; son of John and Mary (Livingston) Ingersoll, and grandson of Eben and Margaret (Whitcomb) Ingersoll, and of Robert and Agnes Oceanica (Adams) Livingston. His father was a Congregational minister with liberal views, and the son was educated in his native town, and after 1843 in Wisconsin and Illinois. He taughtschool for a time in Tennessee; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1854, and with his elder brother, Ebon Clark Ingersoll, opened an office in Shawneetown, Ill. In 1857 they removed to Peoria, and in 1860 Robert was the Democratic candidate for representative in the 37th congress, but was defeated. He was married in 1862 to Eva A., daughter of Benjamin Parker, and they had two daughters. He was elected colonel of the 11th Illinois volunteer cavalry in 1862, and served in the 1stbrigade, Gen. N. B. Buford, 3d division, Gen. C. S. Hamilton, Army of the Mississippi, and was present at the battle of Corinth, Oct. 3 and 4, 1862. He was at Lexington when that place was captured by Forrest, Dec. 16, 1862, and with Major Kerr, of his regiment, he was captured and afterward paroled, but he did not resume military service, returning to the practice of law. In the fall of 1863 he changed his political faith and joined the Republican party. In 1866 he was appointed byGovernor Oglesby attorney-general for Illinois, and in 1868 he was prominently spoken of for governor of the state. He declined an appointment as U.S. minister to Germany offered by President Hayes in 1877. In the Republican national convention of 1876 he presented the name of James G. Blaine as a candidate for President of the United States, in an eloquent speech that attracted wide attention. [p.472] He removed to Washington, D.C., in 1878, and in 1882 he was counsel for Senator Dorsey, accused of complicity in the Star-Route frauds. Lie removed to New York city in 1885. Colonel Ingersoll was especially well known as a lecturer, and for many years before his death his income from this source alone is estimated to have been about $100,000 annually, from which be spent generous sums in charity. He was an avowed agnostic, and his lectures, while brilliant, were strongly iconoclastic. His last years were devoted almost entirely to speaking against popular religious beliefs, his lecture subjects including: The Bible, Voltaire, Superstition, The Devil, Liberty, and What Shall We Do to be Saved ? His published works include: The Gods (1878); Ghosts (1879); Some Mistakes of Moses (1879); Lectures Complete(1883); Prose Poems and Selections (1884), and numerous pamphlets and tracts. He died at the home of his son-in-law, at Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., July 21, 1899.
Ingersoll, Robert Greenb. August 11, 1833. d. July 21, 1899.
Politician / Orator - 'The Great Agnostic.'
Nothing in grander than to break chains from the bodies of men -
Nothing nobler than to destroy the phantoms of the soul.
Arlington National Cemetery , Arlington, Virginia, USA.