The National Achievement Award is the highest honor presented by the National Rivers Hall of Fame to those people who are making significant contributions to America’s waterways. The National Rivers Hall of Fame with members in 36 states is the only national museum telling the stories of the people of America’s rivers.
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The Ingram Family began in the 19th century lumber trade and continues today as the largest domestic marine carrier in the country. Orrin Ingram, born in 1830 in New York, invented the gang edger, which allowed boards to be squared off at both ends at the same time. Soon every saw mill in the country ordered this revolutionary new invention. In 1857, Orrin began the Dole, Ingram and Kennedy Lumber Company in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, relying on huge log rafts floated down the Mississippi and Chippewa Rivers. The company became the Empire and Standard Lumber Company.
Orrin’s son, Erskine Ingram, diversified the family business, and grandson O. H. Ingram moved his family to Nashville, Tennessee, forming Ingram Spinning Company, Tennessee Tufting Company, Wood River Oil and Refining Company, and Ingram Barge Company. The family business continued under the inspired leadership of Bronson, his wife Martha, and Fritz, as well as the fifth generation including Orrin, John, David, and Robin. The Ingram Marine Group today operates more than 140 towboats and 4,000 barges and carries more tons than any other domestic marine carrier in the nation.