October 23, 2008
Letters to the Editor
How he really died:
“The True Story of the Death of the Rev. Joseph Holt Ingraham”
For the third time in two years, the untrue story of the circumstances surrounding the death of my late predecessor, Dr. Joseph Holt Ingram, has been published in this newspaper. It is not the responsibility of the editorial staff to “fact check” every article submitted to them, but I would like to say today that while marriage seems to have given Lois Swanee Shipp a new bounce in her step, it has done nothing to improve the accuracy of her historical scholarship.
The untruth published in Mrs. Shipp’s article last week was, “He was found shot to death in the vestry room of the church on Christmas Eve 1866.”
In the May/June 2008 issue of Mississippi Magazine, Forrest Lamar Cooper, a careful, trained historian, wrote an article entitled, “Joseph Holt Ingraham: The Inspired Writer.” In that article, he published Dr. Ingraham’s own son’s written account of his father’s death which, by the way, occurred on December 18, 1860 – not Christmas Eve 1866.
I now share it with you. This account is also corroborated in an article written by the late John Mickle, a member of Christ Church and a reporter for The South Reporter. It was further corroborated by the late Charles Dean, a local historian of note, also a member of Christ Church.
These accountings are recorded in the parish records from December 1860 and since. We know our church’s history at Christ Church. Here is how my predecessor really and truly died from the pen of his own son;
“The country was on the verge of a civil war and lawlessness had begun to prevail…Ingraham…as a matter of precaution; left a revolver at a gunsmith’s to be repaired; the key to the vestry room of his church had also been left there to be mended. When he called for it, the revolver was wrapped up and handed to him. Driving to the church to try the key, he opened the door, and as he did so, some papers were blown to the floor; as he stooped to gather them up, the package containing the revolver slipped from his grasp, (the weapon had been loaded by the gunsmith, who failed to mention the fact) as the package struck the floor, a chamber exploded, a bullet penetrating the leg above the knee, and ranging upward in the body. Not realizing he had been seriously injured, Dr. Ingraham picked up the revolver, left the church and hurried to his carriage. Then, the dangerous nature of his wound became evident; for nine days he lingered in intense agony, and died as he hoped to die, conscious to the last, and with his family and friends around him.”
There you have it, my friends. The simple truth. Dr. Ingraham was neither murdered in the church or found dead there; two falsehoods that have lamentably been published more than once. He died December 18, 1860 and a marble plaque has been affixed to the chancel wall of Christ Church ever since to honor the life and witness of an extraordinary man of God.
The Very Rev. Bruce D. McMillan
There has never in history been a successful community, township, city, county, state or a country on planet Earth without placing health care and education at the top of the list of priorities.
As a member of the board of trustees at Alliance HealthCare System, I would like to offer these comments about the proposed $151 million Methodist Hospital expansion in Olive Branch.
As badly as Marshall County needs a hospital; as hard as Dr. Williams has worked, we don’t need Methodist again. We’ve had them one time and they’ll leave us high and dry again.
Dr. Williams just keeps on fighting for health care in Marshall County. I’ve never seen a man fight so hard for something.
Now, we need help from the Marshall County board of supervisors and the Holly Springs aldermen. So far, the “right” step forward has not been made by city or county officials. However, one exception is that Don Hollingsworth has worked tirelessly to contribute to every cause under his jurisdiction which we are very apppreciated of him.
According to the Memphis Business Journal, the Mississippi Division of Health Planning and Resource Development said plans for the 100-bed hospital were not in substantial compliance with the state’s health plan to merit construction of a hospital in Olive Branch.
The report says “...DeSoto County alone has 102 beds too many.” The reviewers also said that Methodist charges for services appear to be high, as the hospital projects it would make $250 million in its first operating year.
Methodist Hospital’s certificate of need (CON) was rejected in late August, but Methodist CEO Gary Shorb has stated they will go on to the next step.
Alliance HealthCare and Dr. Williams have a CON in hand to build a $31 million, 40-bed hospital in Holly Springs. According to Dr. Williams, an Olive Branch hospital would certainly hurt the Holly Springs hospital and would influence his decision to build the 40-acre medical campus.
The elected officials of Holly Springs and Marshall County need to step up and support Dr. Williams and the local hospital. If we lose our hospital, we can plan on losing industry, schools and our tax base will rapidly decline.
Holly Springs and Marshall County need this hospital very badly if we are to continue to grow and flourish.
Please, help support our hospital and our community. And let your supervisors and aldermen know how you feel.
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