Ignatius E. Shumate graduated in 1858 with distinction from Emory and Henry College, later received a master's degree from the same school, and then served on the faculty.
After the American Civil War began, he moved to Dalton, Georgia, where his wife had family. Dalton became an important post with an army supply depot, and Shumate became a "clerk and assistant in the subsistence department" under General Joseph E. Johnston.
After the end of the war, Shumate practiced law and was elected to the Georgia House in 1868 as a Democrat. His work in the House was respected enough that one writer called him "perhaps its most brilliant member". Cherokee Circuit Court adjourned early on the day of his memorial service, and the court accepted a report on the service.
- Allen Daniel Candler and Clement Anselm Evans, ed (1906). Georgia: Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons Arranged in Cyclopedic Form. III. Atlanta: State historical association. pp. 284–287. https://books.google.com/books?id=BJ0SAAAAYAAJ&q=ignatius+elgin+shumate&pg=PA284.
- Maddox, Sam P., R. J. McCamy, C. D. McCutcheon, W. C. Martin, and Geo. G. Glenn (April 9, 1908). "Memorial Services Well Attended: large crowd paid tribute to the late Col. I. E. Shumate". The Dalton Citizen. Dalton, Georgia. http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/ngnewspapers/id:ngc1908-0118.
- "Col. I. E. Shumate". 1908. p. 285. https://books.google.com/books?id=851HAQAAMAAJ&q=col.+i.e.+shumate&pg=PA285.
- Avery, Isaac Wheeler (1881). The History of the State of Georgia from 1850 to 1881: Embracing the Three Important Epochs: the Decade Before the War of 1861-5; the War; the Period of Reconstruction. Georgia: Brown & Derby. p. 397. https://archive.org/details/historyofstateof01aver.
- Knight, Lucian Lamar (1917). A Standard History of Georgia and Georgians. 2. Lewis publishing Company. p. 839. ISBN 9785876667304. https://books.google.com/books?id=CmETAAAAYAAJ&q=i.e.+shumate&pg=PA839.