Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Tragedy In God's House by Angela L

Christ Episcopal Church
Holly Springs MS
Marshall Co.
The Christ Episcopal Church sits magestically on the corner for Randolph & Van Dorn in downtown Holly Springs, Ms. It was built in Gothic style, complete with a slave gallery, gorgeous stained glass windows and fine wood details.

But, the history of, the tragic death of a well known and respected Reverend, would forever linger in this beautiful and quaint  House of God.

The story begins with Joseph Holt Ingraham , formerly head of St Thomas Hall, a diocesan school for boys, and designer and builder of St John's Church in Aberdeen in the early 1850's. He was present as rector at the time of consecration of the Church on October 6, 1858.
Joseph Holt Ingraham was born in Portland, Maine, January 26, 1809, the son of James Milk Ingraham and his wife, Elizabeth Thurston. His grandfather, Joseph Holt, was a ship builder and trader, and the grandson shipped on board of one of his vessels as a sailor before he was seventeen and traveled to Buenos Ayres. While in South America he is said to have taken part in a native revolution.

After his return, according to his brother, the Rev. J. P. T. Ingraham, he entered and was graduated from Bowdoin College, but ,it is said that, a search of the Bowdoin College records by the registrar, failed to substantiate this. The Quarterly Church Review says he entered Yale College but was not graduated.
Around 1830, he went to New Orleans, and then to Natchez, Mississippi, where he tried the law, but abandoned it,to become a teacher in Jefferson College, Washington, Mississippi—hence the title "Professor" which was often affixed to his name in his publications. While in this school he began writing, and in 1835 published "The Southwest, by a Yankee." The next year "Lafitte, the Pirate of the Gulf," the first of his novels of the type that was to make his name well known to his contemporaries.

He married Mary Brooks, the daughter of a wealthy planter near Natchez, Ms, became a priest and spent the remainder of his life in parishes across Mississippi. He was the author of romance in his early writing career and later went on to write religious fiction.

On December 8, 1860, Ingraham took a loaded pistol from a drawer in the vestibule of his church while his young daughter waited for him on the porch. It's been said, that there had been some recent robberies in the area, which prompted the Reverend to carry a pistol. It slipped from his hand and in falling to the floor, it discharged. The bullet entered his thigh, passed up his side, and caused intense suffering for some ten days. Joseph H Ingraham died on Dec. 28, 1860. The suggestion of a suicide attempt was reputed by the family and the community believed and still does, that the shooting was an accident.


"Minister of Christ, Scholar, Author, and Rector of Christ Church Holly Springs" Born in Maine. Died in Holly Springs. Erected by J. T. Pickett D.D.

born Jan 28, 1809

died Dec 18, 1860
Reverend Joesph Holt Ingraham is buried on the western edge of the Hillcrest Cemetery in Holly Springs, Ms Marshall County. Today the twisting branches of a giant English Yew, rare in the state of Mississippi, enshrouds his grave and the tall monument is surmounted with a cross. The monument was erected by
 JT Pickett D. D. with donations given by his parish. He was survived by his wife Mary Brooks Ingraham , his son Prentiss, and three daughters.

Special Thanks to Michelle Woodham, volunteer headstone memorial and photo contributor at the find a grave website below. She has graciously volunteered her time to set up over 29,000 memorials and contributed over 57,000 headstone photos to the project. As well as contributing her headstone photos for Joseph Ingraham to this article.


Mississippi Home Places notes on Literature and History by Elmo Howell 1988 available for purchase at the Marshall County History Museum, Holly Springs, Ms. Joseph Ingraham Portrait photo. You can read more at this site.
Photo by Michelle Woodham FindAGrave contributor: Rev Joseph H Ingraham Memorial site:

No comments:

Post a Comment