Henry E. Ingram Jr. doesn't like 'em.
It appears that the Northern invasion of the South is complete -- at least it is on a patch of land known as Delta Plantation in Jasper County.
There, a diehard rebel named Henry E. Ingram Jr. made his last stand against the onslaught of Yankees, only to be thwarted by a man from Long Island, N.Y., and now -- gasp -- a French Canadian.
Ingram promised to keep Yankees out of Delta Plantation in Jasper County when he bought 1,700 acres there in 1998. His resolve to keep them out still is strong, but the covenants he put on the land don't seem to have any teeth.
Those covenants did, however, scare Canadian-raised Bluffton resident Louise Legare a bit as she was close to signing a contract to buy a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house on the land from Bluffton Home Builders.
The list of rules she got from the builders was missing the first pages, so she went to the Jasper County Courthouse to get the missing ones. There, she found the covenants, or rules, that Ingram demanded of buyers:
1. They could not be Yankees.
2. They could not have the last name Sherman (an obvious reference to Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman).
3. And the land could not be sold or leased to those whose last names could be rearranged to spell Sherman.
Clearly, Ingram doesn't like Northern folk.
Now, however, Legare and Bluffton Home Builders are working with Ingram's son, Ashley Ingram, to remove the covenants. The former Delta Plantation is on both sides of U.S. 17, just north of the Georgia state line.
"When (Legare) brought it to us, we all kind of had a good laugh," said Jim Hobbs, a partner in the home-building firm.
In fact, Legare is buying the land and home from Bill Cook, another partner in the company, who happens to be a native of Long Island, N.Y. No one at Bluffton Home Builders had seen the covenants before Legare found the missing pages, and no one has ever tried to enforce them, Hobbs said.
If Henry Ingram had his way, he still would keep Yankees off of the 1,700 acres he once owned. His holdings on the plantation have dwindled to 10 acres.
Ingram, now a resident of Corpus Christi, Texas, said his son and attorney, who are both local, should be looking out for his anti-northerner wishes now.
"Yankees destroy everything they have up North, then they come down here," Ingram said. "When they destroy everything (in the South), where are they going to move next? Another country?"
Legare, who grew up north of Montreal, figures her far-northern upbringing must be especially abhorrent to Ingram.
"I must be more of a Yankee," she said. "I'm the person he really doesn't want to live there."
Amazingly, Legare is a much better choice to own Southern land than a New Yorker, according to Ingram.
"French people are much better and more desirable than a Yankee," said Ingram, who once owned video-poker casinos in Jasper County. "They don't stick their noses in other people's business."
The same feature drew Legare and Ingram to the land -- nature. Ingram said he's seen Carolina panthers, bald eagles and fox squirrels on the land. It is that quiet beauty Legare is after.
"I was raised in a very nature-like environment," Legare said. "I think the nature is beautiful in South Carolina."
Ingram, who says he is leaving Texas for Costa Rica soon, cites the boorish manners of Yankees as one of his prime dislikes for them.
"They look down their little pointy noses at the people in the South because we are polite and nice to them," Ingram said. "They think people who are polite and nice are dumb."
While we were driving in the northern part of the county where my parents live, mom told me that my dad's family from waaaaaay back (think Civil War) had once had hundreds of acres of farmland there, but that after the War the carpetbaggers came along and hefted impossible taxes on them. They couldn't pay these exorbitant taxes as they were just regular folks getting by on what they could produce for themselves, so they lost their land. No-one on either side of my family came from any family wealthy enough to own slaves; most of them were probably about at the same socioeconomic strata as the freed slaves, themselves.