The First Colored Jury in Pittsylvania County

The Richmond Whig, Richmond, Virginia, November 10, 1871.


The Chatham Tribune of 8th inst., says:

The people of this county had an opportunity last Monday to witness a novel sight in court. Judge Tredway had previously directed the sheriff to summon a colored venire for the trial of Ishmael Lipford, colored, charged with the murder of his stepson, an infant child of his wife by a former husband. Of course this new sight attracted a considerable crowd of both colors to witness the result of the experiment. The sheriff, as directed, summoned the most intelligent looking negroes in the county, and by consent of counsel the first twelve were sworn to try the case. It was somewhat remarkable that not one of the jury had ever heard of the case before, notwithstanding the killing was done last December, and some of the jury lived within ten miles of the place at which it was committed. The evidence was brief but very strong; the case was fully argued and the jury were not absent after retiring longer than fifteen minutes. It was a case, from the evidence, which admitted of but one issue, if guilty at all the prisoner was necessarily guilty of murder in the first degree. The jury, however, rendered a verdict of murder in the second degree, and ascertained the term of imprisonment in the penitentiary at five years. The prisoner was perfectly rejoiced and evidently dumbfounded at the verdict.


This website is sponsored by Mitchells Publications, Chatham, Virginia.