Caswell County Genealogy
 

Ingram, James Mack

Ingram, James Mack

Male 1910 - 1977  (67 years)

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  • Name Ingram, James Mack  [1
    Born 6 Jun 1910  Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Name Matt 
    Reference Number 9954 
    Died 12 Jun 1977  [2
    Buried Sassafras Grove Baptist Church, Caswell County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I9774  Caswell County
    Last Modified 28 Jul 2022 

    Father Ingram, Isam,   b. Jan 1863, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Jan 1948  (Age ~ 85 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Living 
    Relationship Stepchild 
    Family ID F5072  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Jones, Rosa Mae,   b. 10 Aug 1924,   d. 14 May 1973, Danville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 48 years) 
    Last Modified 28 Jul 2022 
    Family ID F53140  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Jeffress, Linwood,   b. 4 Jul 1910, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Aug 2003  (Age 93 years) 
    Married 21 Oct 1933  Danville, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Reference Number 71122 
    Notes 
    • Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940
      Name: Matt Ingram
      Gender: Male
      Marital Status: Single
      Race: Black
      Age: 23
      Birth Date: 1910
      Birth Place: Yanceyville, NC
      Marriage Date: 21 Oct 1933
      Marriage Place: Danville, Virginia
      Father: Isam Ingram
      Mother: Alice Mccadden
      Spouse: Linward Jefferson
      FHL Film Number: 2048487
      Reference ID: 1508 p41
    Children 
     1. Living
     2. Living
     3. Ingram, Hattie B.,   b. 12 Dec 1930,   d. 4 Jan 2003  (Age 72 years)  [natural]
     4. Ingram, Haywood Nathaniel,   b. 2 Aug 1934,   d. 2 Oct 1991  (Age 57 years)  [natural]
     5. Living
    +6. Ingram, Willie Huston,   b. 20 Jan 1938,   d. Jun 1973, Washington, District of Columbia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 35 years)  [natural]
     7. Ingram, James Earl,   b. 12 Jul 1947,   d. 14 Jan 1994  (Age 46 years)  [natural]
     8. Ingram, Larry Junius,   b. 3 Aug 1950,   d. 4 Jul 1993  (Age 42 years)  [natural]
    Last Modified 28 Jul 2022 
    Family ID F5071  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 6 Jun 1910 - Caswell County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 21 Oct 1933 - Danville, Virginia Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Sassafras Grove Baptist Church, Caswell County, North Carolina Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Matt Ingram at Yanceyville, NC
    James Matt Ingram 953

    Documents
    Willie Houston Ingram Marriage Record
    Willie Houston Ingram Marriage Record
    James Mack Ingram Death Certificate
    James Mack Ingram Death Certificate
    James Mack Ingram World War II Draft Registration Card
    James Mack Ingram World War II Draft Registration Card

  • Notes 
    • James Mack/Matt Ingram (c.1913 -1973)

      mattingramatconfederatememorialgsrt

      Trial of Matt Ingram1951

      mattinframandernestfupchurchtcvlgrt (Large)

      Case Overruled

      Matt Ingram_Battle Creek_Enquirer (Battle Creek, Michigan) 14 Nov 1952

      Willie Houston Ingram Marriage Record

      Leering Case 1951

      Ingram Leering Case 1951

      (for larger image, click on photograph)
      _______________

      The above photograph of Mack [Matt] Ingram is courtesy of Ebony magazine (September 1953).

      Leering Case: The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina) · 11 Nov 1959, Wed · Page 7
      _______________

      Mack Ingram Talking to His Attorney

      Sharecropper Mack Ingram (right), talks to his attorney, Robert H. Carter (left), during his trial on a charge of assaulting Miss Willie Jean Boswell with the intent to rape. At the trial, both defense and prosecution agreed that the 44-year-old Ingram came no closer than 75 feet from the young girl. A mistrial was declared, Nov.16th, when the jury was deadlocked ten to two for conviction, with two of the four black members holding out for acquittal. Ingram's several attorneys were provided by The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

      Image: Copyright Bettmann/CORBIS
      Collection: Bettmann
      Standard RM
      Date Photographed: November 17, 1951
      Location Information: Yanceyville, North Carolina, USA
      _______________

      Assault by Leer Ruling Made Today

      Raleigh, N.C. -- (U.P.) -- The state Supreme Court overruled the "assault by leer" case of Negro sharecropper Mack Ingram today by deciding he could not be convicted of a criminal offense "solely for what may have been in his mind."

      The state high court thus in effect ruled the old statute under which Ingram was convicted of assault by frightening a teenaged white girl is too vague to be valid.

      "The facts in evidence in the case at bar are insufficient to make out a case of assault," the unanimous decision said. "It cannot be said that a pedestrian may be assaulted by a look, however frightening, from a person riding in an automobile some distance away."

      Ingram, 44-year-old father of nine, was given a six-months suspended sentence and placed on five years probation for simple assault at this third trial at Yanceyville, N.C., last November.

      The Supreme Court ruled today the trial judge should have allowed a defense motion for nonsuit dismissal of the case.

      In 1951 Ingram was sentenced to two years on the roads in Recorder's Court at Yanceyville on the assault charge although the defense proved Ingram did not approach nearer than 60 feet of the plaintiff [actually the accuser].

      Linton Daily Citizen (Linton, Indiana), 25 February 1953, Wednesday, Page 8.
      _______________

      Name also seen as James Mack Ingram on his death certificate and his grave marker:

      Find A Grave Memorial: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/100375927
      _______________

      Caswell County History

      So how did the criminal legal proceedings against black James Mack Ingram for "leering" at white Willa Jean Boswell turn out?

      1. At his first 1951 trial in Caswell County Recorder's Court (Judge Ralph Ogborne Vernon, a farmer with no legal training) Ingram was found guilty of assault on a female and Vernon sentenced Ingram the maximum: two years in prison. No jury was involved at this level.
      Ingram appealed the Recorder's Court judgment to Superior Court, which essentially meant the proceedings would begin anew. He was released on bond pending action at the Superior Court level.

      2. Before the Superior Court, Solicitor (prosecutor) William Banks Horton sought and obtained from a grand jury an indictment. In November 1951, a jury of eight white and four black, all men, ended up 10-2 in favor of conviction (assault on a female). The court declared a hung jury and a mistrial, thus allowing the state to try Ingram again, which it did.

      3. The next trial in 1952 before an all-white all-male jury resulted in conviction. The court imposed a suspended six-month jail term and five years probation. Ingram appealed.

      4. Finally, in 1953 the North Carolina Supreme Court held for Ingram. In resoundingly reversing the lower court conviction, the North Carolina Supreme Court held:

      "Even if Ingram had leered (which he denied), there had been no overt act, no threat of violence. We cannot convict him solely for what may have been on his mind. Human law does not reach that far."
      _______________

      Ingram Family

      While James Mack/Matt Ingram (1910-1977), who was tried in Caswell County for "leering" at young Willa Jean Boswell (1934-2012), is buried at Sassafras Grove Baptist Church (Caswell County, North Carolina), his wife Linwood Jeffress (1910-2003) and several children rest at Hamer Missionary Baptist Church:

      Hattie B. Ingram (1930-2003)
      Haywood Nathaniel Ingram (1934-1991)
      Willie Huston Ingram (1938-1973)
      James Earl Ingram (1947-1994)
      Larry Junius Ingram (1950-1993)

      Mack/Matt Ingram apparently was married twice: to Linwood Jeffress referenced above; and to Rosa Mae Jones (1924-1973), who is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Danville, Virginia.

      _______________

      According to the September 1953 issue of Ebony magazine Matt [Mack] and Linward Ingram had four children. A July 23, 1951, issue of Time magazine stated that he had raised nine children. However, only six children have been identified.

      Following are excerpts from Time magazine:

      Mack Ingram Trials

      Around Caswell County, N.C., Mack Ingram, 44, was known as a "good" Negro. He had raised nine children, saved enough to buy his own mule and tools, and even a ramshackle jalopy. He was proud that he rented his land instead of sharecropping. One day last month Ingram stopped at the farm of Aubrey Boswell, a white neighbor. He wanted to borrow a trailer to haul his hay. Ingram saw one of the Boswell children walking toward the tobacco barn carrying a hoe. He walked across the road, he said, and through a field knee-high in corn, looking for Boswell. When he got closer and saw only "three boys," he turned back. He went on down the road and borrowed a trailer from someone else. Later that afternoon, two deputy sheriffs arrested him. One of the "boys," they said, was 17-year-old Willa Jean Boswell, dressed in dungarees and terrapin shell hat. Farmer Ingram was charged with "assault . . . with intent to commit rape" against her.

      Last week in the county courthouse, Recorder (roughly comparable to justice of the peace) Ralph Vernon heard Willa Jean's story. "As I got off the road, he came up the highway and he kept watching me," said Willa Jean. "And I ran through those woods because I was afraid . . . and I kept going, walking fast, and he kept coming on, and I got a pretty good ways ahead of him and he stopped and stood and watched me." Then, said Willa Jean, "I looked back and didn't see him any more and I stopped there and was hoeing the ground, and as I was hoeing I asked my two brothers who that was and they told me, and I told them what happened and they went running to tell Daddy." Willa Jean said she burst into tears.

      The defense had only one point to make: What did he do? Said Willa Jean: "He kept watching me." Just how close did Ingram get to her? Willa Jean wasn't sure; "within 25 to 50 feet," she thought.

      Prosecutor W. Banks Horton argued that Ingram must have been trying to head her off, that young womanhood must be protected from "niggers." But Recorder Vernon, who is a farmer with no formal legal training, could plainly see that there was no ground for a charge of intended rape. If there were, the case would have to go before a superior court-and a jury. Instead, he found Ingram guilty of "assault on a female," and sentenced him to the maximum: two years of hard labor on the roads.

      The verdict didn't even make the local papers. But outsiders got wind of it; Caswell County was deluged with inquiries, one even from the U.S. State Department. The Daily Worker seized on it. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, after first making sure that the Communists' legal beagles didn't get in on the case, decided to help Ingram in his appeal.

      For the third time in 17 months, Mack Ingram, North Carolina Negro farmer, went on trial last week, charged with assaulting a 17-year-old tobacco grower's daughter, although he had not been within 50 feet of her at the time. In the first trial in recorder's court, Ingram explained that he had mistaken blue-jeaned Willa Jean Boswell for one of her brothers, had started to follow her across a cornfield to ask if he could borrow the family trailer. When she took fright and ran, he turned back to his car. The judge, acting on the basis of a North Carolina law that says assault can be committed even without physical contact, sentenced Ingram to two years in jail (TIME. July 23, 1951). Last November, Ingram's appeal went before a mixed jury (four Negroes, eight whites) in a state superior court; when two of the Negro jurors held out for acquittal, the court ordered a mistrial.

      Last week an all-white jury in Yanceyville reviewed the evidence again. The tobacco grower's daughter, now married and the mother of a six-month-old child, insisted that Ingram had "leered" at her. The jury's verdict: guilty. The court's sentence: a suspended six-month jail term and five years' probation.

      "If, by ... looking at a person in a leering manner, or watching and then following, one causes another to become frightened and run, then he is guilty of assault," said the judge to the jury in the superior court in Yanceyville, N.C. last November. The all-white jury promptly found Mack Ingram, a Negro farmer, guilty of "assault" against Willa Jean Boswell, daughter of a neighboring white farmer-even though everybody agreed that Willa Jean had safely run off across a cornfield, and Ingram was never closer than 50 feet to her (TIME, July 23, 1951).

      Last week, on appeal the North Carolina state supreme court resoundingly reversed the lower-court conviction. Said the supreme court: even if Ingram had leered (which he denied), there had been "no overt act, no threat of violence ... We cannot convict him . . . solely for what may have been on his mind. Human law does not reach that far."

      The above excerpts are courtesy of Time Magazine.
      _______________

      In the Hamer Missionary Baptist Church cemetery is the grave of "Son Haywood Nathaniel Ingram" (2 August 1934 - 2 October 1991). Unknown is whether this person is related to Matt Ingram or whether the word "Son" designates a family relationship of is part of the name -- see the "Son" reference above).
      _______________

      Berry, Mary Frances, "'Reckless Eyeballing' -- The Matt [Mack] Ingram Case and the Denial of African American Sexual Freedom," The Journal of African American History, V. P. Franklin, Editor (Volume 93, No.2, Spring 2008) at 223-234. To read this article go to Matt Ingram Article (JAAH 2008).

      For information on the "Mack" Ingram trial go to: Matt Ingram Trial. One report claims that Matt Ingram was too afraid to tell the white people that they had his name wrong -- Mack not Matt.
      _______________

      The third trial of Matt [Mark] Ingram where he was convicted by an all-white jury was reversed by the NC Supreme Court. Because the court was able to overturn the conviction on other grounds it did not reach the issue raised by Ingram with respect to the method used in Caswell County to select juries. However, the court was critical:

      "But we deem it proper to call attention to the testimony tending to show that the Board of County Commissioners of Caswell County had not observed the statute in making up the jury lists of the County."
      _______________

      1920 United States Federal Census
      Name: Mat Ingram
      Home in 1920: Dan River, Caswell, North Carolina
      Age: 7 years
      Estimated birth year: abt 1913
      Birthplace: North Carolina
      Relation to Head of House: Son
      Father's name: Isam
      Father's Birth Place: North Carolina
      Mother's name: Ailsey
      Mother's Birth Place: North Carolina
      Marital Status: Single
      Race: Black
      Sex: Male
      Able to read: No
      Able to Write: No
      Image: 1025
      Household Members: Name Age
      Isam Ingram 60
      Ailsey Ingram 44
      Allice Ingram 22
      George Ingram 13
      Granderson Ingram 12
      Fannie Ingram Ingram 8
      Mat Ingram 7
      Lillie Ingram 4 5/12
      Emma T Yellock 19
      James Yellock 5
      Burl Yellock 11/12

      The 1920 US Census record may provide some confirmation of the other census records shown above. The Ebony magazine article cited above contained the following:

      "Before all this came up," says Linward, "we had a good team of mules. Now we don't have any mules a-tall, not to call our own, anyhow." Matt lets his brother, Son Ingram, keep them because he cannot afford to feed the animals. When he wants to plow, he has to borrow them back.

      Thus, Matt [Mack] Ingram had a brother called "Son." The 1920 US Census record shown above shows a Ganderson (could be Granderson) as a brother of "Mat" Ingram. Based upon these findings the census records shown above are being given conditional validity for purposes of this database.
      _______________

      This Mack/Matt naming issue has been around for a while. Mack/Matt Ingram was born June 6, 1910. Thus, he was counted in three US censuses (1920, 1930, and 1940). On all three he was enumerated as Mat or Matt. However, this was the census taker ascribing the name.

      The name Mack first shows up in his World War II Draft Registration Card (October 1940), and he signed this card as "Mack."

      His Virginia death certificate shows: "James Mack Ingram" and this name is on his grave marker at the Sassafras Grove Baptist Church. The informant on the death certificate is his daughter Mattie.

      Several who have researched this matter have arrived at different conclusions:

      "Ebony" magazine published extensively on the case, including spending considerable time with the family. That magazine used: "Matt"

      However, "Time" magazine called him "Mack"

      Mary Frances Berry in her article published in "The Journal of African American History" referred to him as Matt.

      The African American Intellectual History Society uses "Mack"

      Of course it is possible that he went by both names, with one being a nickname.
      _______________

      1930 US Census
      Name: Mat Ingram
      Home in 1930: Yanceyville, Caswell, North Carolina
      Age: 16
      Estimated Birth Year: abt 1914
      Relation to Head of House: Son
      Father's Name: Isam
      Mother's Name: Elsie
      Household Members: Name Age
      Isam Ingram 60
      Elsie Ingram 44
      George Ingram 23
      Mat Ingram 16
      Fannie Ingram 17
      Lillie Ingram 14

      Note that the estimated birth year of 1914 would have made the person in this census entry around 37 years old in 1951 when a Matt Ingram was tried in Caswell County, North Carolina, for leering at a white girl.

      1940 United States Federal Census
      about Matt Ingram Name: Mott Ingram
      Age: 29
      Estimated Birth Year: abt 1911
      Gender: Male
      Race: Negro (Black)
      Birthplace: North Carolina
      Marital Status: Married
      Relation to Head of House: Head
      Home in 1940: Yanceyville, Caswell, North Carolina
      Map of Home in 1940: View Map
      Street: Foster Road
      Farm: Yes
      Inferred Residence in 1935: Rural, Caswell, North Carolina
      Residence in 1935: Rural, Caswell, North Carolina
      Resident on farm in 1935: Yes
      Sheet Number: 20A
      Number of Household in Order of Visitation: 338
      Father's Birthplace: North Carolina
      Mother's Birthplace: North Carolina
      Occupation: Ffarming
      House Owned or Rented: Rented
      Value of Home or Monthly Rental if Rented: 3
      Attended School or College: No
      Highest Grade Completed: Elementary school, 4th grade
      Hours Worked Week Prior to Census: 70
      Class of Worker: Working on own account
      Weeks Worked in 1939: 52
      Income: 0
      Income Other Sources: Yes
      Native Language: English
      Veteran Father Dead: No
      Social Security Number: No
      Usual Occupation: Farming
      Usual Industry: Farm
      Usual Class of Worker: Working on own account
      Neighbors: View others on page
      Household Members: Name Age
      Mott Ingram 29
      Linwood Ingram 29
      Hattie B Ingram 9
      Hawood No Ingram 5
      Dorothy M Ingram 3
      Willie H Ingram 1
      _______________

  • Sources 
    1. Details: Obituary of Granison "Sharp" Ingram (c.1908-1974).

    2. Details: Berry, Mary Frances, "'Reckless Eyeballying -- The Matt Ingram Case and the Denial of African American Sexual Freedom," The Journal of African American History, V. P. Franklin, Editor (Volume 93, No.2, Spring 2008) at 223-234.