Tingley was incorporated in 1883, however it's roots go back much further to 1856 when the town's namesake, William Tingley Cornwall, arrived with his family as an 11 year old boy in the rolling hills of southern Iowa. In 1867, a post office in the home of Tingley Cornwall was established in southern Union County, just north of the Ringgold County line (this was the current location of the Cornwall Cemetery and the Haight farm). The outpost was first named Silver Street but the name was rejected by the Post Office Department because there was another office in Iowa that had already claimed that name. A fellow pioneer, Edgar Sheldon, suggested Mr. Cornwall use his own name, "Tingley." That name was accepted and Tingley Cornwall was appointed postmaster. A year later in 1868 a stage line was established from Afton to Mount Ayr, making Edgar Sheldon's home (approximate present day location of 2599 Ringgold-Union Street) a halfway point and thus the post office was moved there in Ringgold County.