Sunday, March 5, 2017

Looking for Robinett Cemetery, Yazoo County, Mississippi

Last weekend, while searching for the Martin Cemetery, I enlisted the help of a postal carrier. He said he knew of a really old cemetery and he passed it on his route. Come to find out, it was the Cessna Cemetery. I noticed there were members of the Robinett family buried there, but didn't think any more about it since it wasn't the cemetery I was looking for.

This past week I was looking for another cemetery in Yazoo County, and I came across the Robinett Cemetery. That name rang a bell so I looked at the requests and one of them happens to be Nathan Robinett. That was really interesting because on of the people buried in the Cessna Cemetery is Nathan Robinett. I thought there may have been a mistake made until I compared the dates of birth and death. Nathan Robinett in the Robinett Cemetery is a good bit older than the one in Cessna Cemetery. Another person the two cemeteries have in common is a Woodruff. In the Cessna Cemetery, she's listed as Molly. In the Robinett Cemetery she's listed as Mary E. Martin Woodruff. Very interesting!

When I looked at the cemetery page for Robinett Cemetery, it says the location is Township 11N Range 2W Section 6. I pulled up my plat map for Yazoo County and found that section.

If you look at the section of the map, you can see section 6, and in the bottom right corner of it, a cross, which is the symbol for a cemetery. What's curious about that is that Cessna Cemetery is before you get to that cross, and is on the left side of the road, and there's no cross for it.

I drove to Cessna Road and toward the end closest to Stevens Road. I pulled over where I thought I should look. For the most part, there is nothing but deep gullies. There are only a couple of places fairly close to the road that are flat enough, in my opinion, to have a cemetery. Last weekend when I looked at the plat map before and after I found Martin Cemetery, I could see the cemetery was in the section I expected it to be in. I may have been too insistent that Robinett Cemetery would be the cross on the map in the section where I thought it was supposed to be. I guess not all maps are 100% accurate.

I decided to go on the Stevens Road, and see if I could find somebody out and about to ask. I turned right on Stevens. A part of Stevens is still within section 6. As I drove along slowly, I noticed an elderly woman up in a yard picking up stuff in the yard, so I pulled into the driveway to speak with her. When I got out of my car I introduced myself and told her what I was looking for. I noticed that she was of Asian descent. When she spoke, she had an accent, but her English was good. I would find out later that her name is Mrs. Purvis, and she lives right up the road from where I met her. She is a very sweet woman, and the reason she looks and sounds asian is because she is from Osaka Japan. She married a serviceman there in WWII and moved with him back to Yazoo County. She gave me a couple of suggestions. I thanked her and headed back to Cessna Road, convinced I had just missed the cemetery. After looking around for just a few minutes, I decided once again to head back on Stevens Road, but this time turning onto Providence Road off of Stevens. The area was still within section 6, and I figured the cross on the map could have been a mistake. As I turned onto Stevens and started driving, I noticed Mrs. Purvis up ahead walking. I pulled up next to and said, "Still no luck." She said to pull over in the next driveway. That's her house and she'd talk with me some more.

When I pulled up, I noticed she has all kinds of stone containers. There were 5 to the left of the driveway. One had pretty pink flowers, but the others were just the greenery. She walked up behind me and said the deer like her flowers, too. But she figures it's a small sacrifice for the peace and beauty of where she lives. As we talked more about Robinett Cemetery, she mentioned there is a Robinett Road. I had no idea. She said it was only a mile or so from her house. That was just a guess, but she honestly couldn't recall there every being a cemetery where one appeared to exist on the map. We visited for a few more minutes, and I told her I needed to run on and see what I could find before it was time to head back. I thanked her again and got in the car. I was looking at the plat map to see if I could find Robinett Road on it. While I was looking at the map, she leaned her head in on the passenger side and propped her arms on the door, and asked me if I like rocks. I told her I did. She handed me a small one and asked if I knew what it was. When I told her no, she said to turn it over. I did and it sparkled in the sun. She said, "It's an agate." She gets out once a month for the rock hunt put on by the Gem and Mineral Society of Jackson. She invited me to join the group and thought my wife and I would enjoy it. I thought that was the coolest and sweetest thing. I have the little agate next to my laptop. It'll always make for a pleasant memory. As I've mentioned before, it seems everyone I've met in Yazoo County is just as nice and helpful as they can be. That's certainly worth a thank you note.

As I drove off from Mrs. Purvis', I started looking for Providence on the left side of Stevens. It only took a few minutes to get there. Again, I was hoping to find somebody I could talk to. I spotted three men next to a trailer. It looked like maybe a father and his sons. I asked the older of the men if they were familiar with the cemetery. They weren't, but they knew where Robinett Road was. As a matter of fact, the gentleman I was speaking with works with a woman who lives on the corner of Robinett Road and Old Highway 49. He pulled out his phone and gave her a call. That was so wild! She said, yes, there is an old, old, cemetery on Robinett. She doesn't know where it is, but her husband does. It's hard to get to. The problem is that he was at work, and wouldn't get off until 4:00 that afternoon. As much as I like the area, it was only about noon or so. I thanked the gentleman for all of his help, and headed off to Robinett Road. It was supposed to be about a mile up Old Highway 49 on the left. The woman who knows where the cemetery is goes by the name Tazz. Tazz lives in a white house on the corner of Robinett. It was easy enough to find. She was not outside that I could tell, so I just drove up and down Robinett to see if I could see any more signs of life or the cemetery itself. It's funny, but when I got home and looked at the plat map zooming in at 125%, I spotted Robinett Road. Not only that, but there is also a cross there. You can see that on the map above in the upper right.

After driving around a bit, I decided I just wasn't going to find the cemetery, at least not yesterday. I was hoping to make it back home by about 2:00, so it was time to leave. I have another place to start next time, and I'm confident Robinett Cemetery will be found. What kind of shape it may be in, who knows? It'll still be fun looking for it, and maybe even meeting some more fine folks along the way.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Martin Cemetery, Yazoo County, Mississippi

I was looking through the cemeteries in Yazoo County last week, and as I scrolled through the list, I came upon Martin Cemetery. There were three requests and no map. There are 15 people interred there but no photographs. It looked like it was right up my alley.

When I searched for it online, I couldn't find any coordinates for it anywhere. I did find the township, range and section for it, which is 10N, 2W, 17. Great. Now all I needed to do was find a plat map. That ended up being easier said than done. I finally found one that was put out by the Department of Transportation. I was able to download the pdf, and see about where I needed to go.

It looked like I needed to get to Highway 433 heading toward Highway 3 and away from Bentonia. I would come to a right which is Anding-Oil City Road, and then turn left off of it on Cessna Road just past Oil City. I've been down Anding-Oil City Road before, but from the opposite direction. There was a neat little general store there where I could pick up a Coke and a pack of Nabs. The last time through, it was closed. I was in for a surprise this time.

It's now the Oil Field Cafe. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be open for lunch on Saturdays, or I would have checked it out when I headed back home.

I kept driving through Oil City until I came to Cessna Road. Cessna Road is a narrow dirt road. I really don't know how far it goes, but it appeared that at one point it runs parallel to the train tracks, and I was thinking that was around where I wanted to be. According to the map, that looks like it's about center of section 17. Cessna Road is really cool. At one point it's like you're driving in a canyon with bluffs on either side of the road.

I don't know how tall the bluffs were at this point, but they were a good bit taller than me. I found out later on that at this point the cemetery was actually to my left and just a little behind me in the woods. That's par for the course. Anyway, I kept on driving until the road came to the railroad tracks. I stayed to the left on Cessna and drove parallel to the tracks. The last person I spoke with about Martin Cemetery understood it to be overgrown and in a pasture. That was my recollection anyway. So, I slowed down and looked for either some sign of it, or some sign of life that I could ask about it.

I hadn't driven that far when I decided to turn around and go back the way I came. As I was driving along, I spotted the mail carrier coming my way. How fortuitous! I stopped and got out of the car and walked to where he was putting mail in a box. I asked him about the cemetery, and he said he drives right by an old cemetery on his route, and to just follow him. Cool! I turned around again and headed back toward where Cessna goes over the railroad tracks. Of course we were stopped by a train. Natch. After it passed we drove for what may have been a mile or two. He slowed down and pulled over. He pointed out a small cemetery in a clearing right off the road. I wouldn't know if it was the Martin Cemetery or not until I got out and checked it out. I thanked the mail carrier for his help, and he went on his way. I pulled over and walked across the street. Looking at the first headstone I came to, I realized this wasn't the cemetery I was looking for. As it turned out, it was the Cessna Cemetery. One thing about it that's interesting is that there are a couple of Civil War veterans buried there, one being Mr. F. M. Cessna.

After taking all the pictures I could at Cessna, I headed back the way I came. This time I was hoping to see someone out and about. The only drawback to going graving early on a Saturday morning is the folks usually like to sleep in. I had passed three or four houses that were quiet other than a dog in front of one that was barking but didn't seem to be too serious about it. He or she never stood up. Getting close to where I started on Cessna Road, I spotted a couple of SUVs and a pickup with a trailer parked on a road. They were tearing down a house. I was pretty sure I'd find somebody there.

As I started walking up the road, a young many came walking toward me. I can still kick myself for not writing down his name or the gentleman he would introduce me to. I introduced myself and told him what I was looking for. He said he knew of two old cemeteries in the area. The first one he described was Cessna, where I had just been. The other one was just a short drive up the road, but he didn't know where. He mentioned that he's buying the property the demolished house is on belongs to "Mr. Benny", who lives in the house right across the street. Mr. Benny came out and I introduced myself to him as well. He seemed a little wary at first. The first thing he wanted to know if is I were a grave robber. I assured him I wasn't. I just wanted to take pictures. As he found our more of what I was about, he seemed to loosen up and was downright friendly when we parted ways. Yep, he knew exactly where it was and gave me directions to it. He did mention that it's on private property and advised I might want to check with the landowner, but he really didn't know how to contact him. Anyway, I thanked him and headed out while the two men visited a bit. As I mentioned by picture above with the bluffs, I was right there earlier but Martin Cemetery is not something you can see from the road.

Mr. Benny told me I should look for the third gate on the left, and it would be just a short distance from there on a bluff in the woods. I came to the gate and parked. I probably shouldn't mention how I got past the locked gate, but I didn't carry any of my stuff with me at first. I just wanted to find it. After walking for a few minutes, I spotted an obelisk shaped monument in the distance. That had to be it. As I got closer, I could see the other headstones.

How about that? I walked back to my car and got my camera, loppers, clippers, and such and headed back. For a cemetery as old as it is, I think the headstones were, for the most part, in excellent shape. Several could stand a good cleaning, but I didn't bring water with me, other than to drink. I clipped back the vegetation where I needed to in order to get decent pictures. After I had taken all I could find, I spent some time just enjoying the peace and solitude. I don't think I heard anything, not even the first bird. I did see a vulture flying overhead pretty low. I'm sure he probably wanted to know what the living was doing there.

If had brought a lounge chair, I could sit there for some time, but I didn't and I was through, so it was time to head back. I was hoping to catch up to Mr. Benny and the young man who introduced me to him. I didn't see anything going on with the house demolition, and it was right about lunch time, so I figured I wouldn't worry with it. I do want to say that every time I have been in Yazoo County and dealt with anybody, they have always been pleasant. It really helps make for a great experience. The trip home was uneventful, fortunately. I got home, fixed a cup of coffee, and enjoyed adding the pictures I took to Martin Cemetery. Now to find another... Too many cemeteries but not enough time.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Back to Bradshaw Cemetery

Last weekend, I received an email from Southern Heritage Genealogy. The message concerned the Bradshaw Cemetery in Yazoo County. A couple of years back I was fortunate enough to meet the owners of the property that Bradshaw Cemetery can be found on, and who took me there to see it.

I was reluctant to give out the owners' email address, so I emailed them to let them know I was forwarding an email to them, and basically what the email was about. The two parties got together and scheduled a trip to the cemetery for this past Thursday.

The person who is Southern Heritage Genealogy is Ms. Kim Richardson and the owners of the property are Mr. Charles and Mrs. Cecille Hintson. Ms. Richardson let me know when they were supposed to meet and was gracious enough to say I was welcome to come along. Well, I wasn't going to pass on that opportunity. So, Monday when I went into work, I asked my boss if there would be a problem taking off on such short notice. Fortunately he said that would be fine. I'm not sure what I would have done if he said no.

We were scheduled to meet up at 12:30 Thursday afternoon. Since I took the day off, I thought I'd see if there were any requests for Wesley Chapel Cemetery, which is just right up the road. As it turned out, there were 11 requests. I decided to leave here around 9:00 or so, and that would give me a couple of hours at Wesley Chapel before meeting the Hintsons and Ms. Richardson.

I finished up at Wesley Chapel about 12:15 or so. I had found 8 of the requested headstones. 2 of them were broken up, but I'm pretty sure I know who they're for. The Bradshaw Cemetery is on private property off of Russelville Road, which was just across the street from where Mechanicsburg Road intersects with Phoenix Road. I knew about where it was, and I remember from the first time that Mrs. Hintson had to open a gate for us to drive through. Russelville Road is a dirt and gravel road. I drove pretty slow looking for a gate I hoped I'd remember. After a few minutes, I came to a gate that I recognized.

The "B" is for Bradshaw. I knew I was where I needed to be, so I just turned the car off and enjoyed a few minutes of peace and quiet on a beautiful day.

While I was waiting, a front end loader came up the road, and to the very gate. A gentleman hopped out and opened it. Just to verify I was right, I asked him if that was Bradshaw property. He said it was. He was just there to pick up a couple of bales of hay which was to the left inside the fence. I walked back to me car and it wasn't long before I saw a tan colored pickup and car behind it coming up the road. I knew that was the Hintsons and Ms. Richardson. They turned onto the property and I pulled in behind. We drove for a short distance and parked. Mr. Hintson suggested we all go in his truck to the cemetery. There was a gentleman with the Hintsons that I didn't know. His name is Howard Park, and is a nephew of the Hintsons. He and Mr. Hintson are both retired and spend a lot of time together. Ms. Richardson and I gathered up what we wanted to take, put it in the bed of the truck and got in. Mr. Park rode in the bed.

Taking the truck was an excellent idea. I know my little Ford Escort wouldn't have made it. At one point, Mr. Hintson had to put his truck in 4-wheel drive to get through soft grass and mud. After a short drive from where we parked, we pulled up to the cemetery.

Ms. Richardson is a genealogist, and the main reason we were there. She was working on some research. We were hoping to find a couple of headstones in particular. One was for Eliza Johnson, and the other was for her grandfather, Ben Johnson. According to the documentation on the cemetery, Eliza Johnson is buried there, but there's no mention of Ben Johnson. We also wanted to find the headstones for Colonel William Ward (1769-1836) and another William Ward (1812-1843). Mr. Hintson knew about where they were, so we headed to that part of the cemetery. We found the Wards. They just happened to be next to a tree with an active bee hive. Mr. Hintson advised us not to walk close to the tree and just leave them alone, and they'd leave us alone. That worked just fine, but I have to admit that constant buzzing made me just a bit nervous. Just past the Ward graves was a headstone that was very hard to read. It was for Eliza Johnson. It's obvious that Ms. Richardson doesn't only do research at a computer terminal or in a library. She pulled out some paper, taped it to Eliza's headstone and started rubbing with rubbing wax to pull out the details. That was very cool. I've only tried aluminum foil, and the results were okay, but I'll be picking up paper and the rubbing wax first chance I get.

We noticed a headstone that had been broken off but was still in the ground. There was no inscription that we could see. Ms. Richardson brought a probe and a trowel. She's also not opposed to getting a little dirt under her fingernails. She probed and dug hoping to find the rest of the headstone either in front of or behind what was left. She also brought two shovels. Mr. Park drove back to her car and picked them up. He and Mr. Hintson assisted Ms. Richardson. Unfortunately though, no remains of the headstone were found other than a few pieces which had flaked off.

Having found whatever information the two headstones had to offer, we spent a little time walking around and checking the headstones found with the list that Mr. and Mrs. Hintson had come up with. Bradshaw Cemetery is a pretty little cemetery with cedars and Spanish moss, and the day was gorgeous. We probably could have spent more time there, but it was time to take our stuff to the truck and head out.

When we drove off, I was thinking we were going back to where we were parked. I was delighted when we pulled up in front of the Bradshaw Place instead. It's thought the house was build back in the 1830's at some point. It's a dog trot. There have been changes made over time, but it's still in good shape, and even still has wooden gutters. The Hintsons let us come in and see the place. It's very neat! After getting something to drink, we all went out front and the Hintsons locked up. I know folks don't usually like to have their picture taken, but I really wanted a group photo. It was a great afternoon spent with four special people.

From left to right are Mr. Howard Park, Mr. Charles Hintson, Mrs. Cecille Hintson, and Ms. Kim Richardson.

I don't profess to be a writer or a photographer. I just hope to keep track of the places I've been, the folks I've met, and the things I've seen. Graving may be different things to different people, but to me it's never dull or boring and often very gratifying.

I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Hintson for allowing me on their property again and for being so kind. They're a pleasure to be around.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Pickett Cemetery, Yazoo County, Mississippi

Since I'm off this week, I had planned on doing some graving. I went to Haley Cemetery in Madison County Monday, and felt like getting out again yesterday. Since I had been to Madison County, I thought I'd check Find-A-Grave for cemeteries in Yazoo County. I found one that had a map and a list of people interred there, but no pictures. I settled on Pickett Cemetery

The GPS coordinates have it just outside of Benton. I've been to Benton a time or two and always enjoy just driving through that little small town.

There are different ways to get to Benton from Jackson. I chose taking I-55 to Canton, mainly to stop at McDonald's in Canton for a small Coke and two sausage and biscuits. I could have just gotten off on the second Canton exit, and coming back I just got onto I-55 from off of Highway 16. From Canton, I think it's about a 20 minute drive to Benton on Highway 16. When I got to Benson, I took the first exit. You can go up further and cut back on 433, I believe it is, or maybe Old Highway 16. Anyway, you come to a 3 way stop. I turned left at the stop sign and drove the block to Berry's Quick Stop.

I wanted to ask the folks who work there if they're familiar with Pickett Cemetery and if they know if it's on private property or not. Well, neither of the people working there knew anything about it. A gentleman there pulled up the route to Pickett Cemetery and could tell it was just right up the road. Basically, the response was to go for it. I thanked him for his time, and headed out. After looking a Berry's on Yelp a few minutes ago, it appears I messed up by not stopping back by after graving for a hamburger. It sounds like they cook a great one. I'll check it out next time.

According to the GPS coordinates, the cemetery should be right up the road where Highways 433 and 432 split. It's supposed to be right off of 432. As soon as I got on 432, I started looking to my right to see if I could see any signs of the cemetery or a possible way to get to it. At .3 mile, I pulled up by a clearing with what looks like a wide path that was also wide enough to drive on. This is not a great picture, but hopefully you can see how the path goes back into the woods.

The night before I had created a way point for the cemetery, so I turned my Garmin on and as soon as the satellites were acquired, I pulled up the way point and pushed "Go". Then I changed to the compass function on the Garmin. It said something like 232 feet, and in the direction of the clearing. I put on my boots and my snake guards, grabbed the stuff I knew I'd need, and headed off in the direction of the cemetery.

It only took a few minutes of walking. As soon as I got close to the end of the path, I spotted a lone headstone. Looking off in the distance, I could see several more.

When I looked at the lone headstone, I could tell it wasn't on the list I had of those interred there. I got a quick picture and walked to the next group of headstones. There I found several folks I was looking for. Their last name was either Schaffer or Schaffers. They were lined up horizontally. None of them needed to be cleaned. They were in good shape, but then they weren't that old either. After getting those pictures, I moved to another row 20 or 30 feet away. The Schaffer(s) were on my list, but none of that group were. I went ahead and got pictures. While taking pictures, I noticed off in the distance a another headstone. There were all over out here. As I was taking pictures, I got to one headstone that was going to have be cleaned in order to get a decent picture. I had a gallon of water and a scrub brush in my trunk. It was short walk back to the car, so I went for it.

I decided to go ahead and get the pictures I could, then I'd clean the ones which needed it and photograph them last. I'm not great on distances, but I'll say the other headstone was about 30 or 40 feet away. When I walked to that headstone, I could see 3 others. Several limbs had fallen and just missed one of the memorials. You can see the limb in the bottom right corner.

Two of the three headstones were for members of the Schaffer family. One was just a blank slab. It was perfectly smooth. There were just no engravings in it yet. I think that was a first for me.

I cleaned up the stones that needed it as well as I could. I was at least able to see the names and dates, except for one. It looks like the name and dates were engraved, and then painted white. I could make out the person's name, but not the dates. I got what I could.

Not seeing anymore headstones, I gathered my stuff up and headed back to the car. It was another beautiful day, and I think if I had brought a rake, I might have spent some time looking for more headstones, possibly some buried under limbs and leaves.

Last night I started looking into some of the names there and from looking at census records and other records, I realized that this Pickett Cemetery is a Black cemetery. That might explain why the folks at Berry's had never heard of it. I'm not sure where the name came from. I didn't see the first Pickett grave. After going back on Find-A-Grave, I noticed there is another Pickett Cemetery not far up the road headed back to Canton. As it turns out, there are several Picketts buried there.

Well, it was a perfect day to get out of the house and into the woods. I still have another day or so before I have to go back to work, so I'll have to find another cemetery to look for. Graving is addicting!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Haley Cemetery, Madison County, Mississippi

For what seemed like months, I found myself in something of a funk. My two favorite hobbies are graving and taking pictures. For that time I didn't do either. The first time in some time, I got out and went looking for a cemetery a fellow graver and genealogy pro told me about. I found it, but I didn't take pictures like I used to. I didn't create a post for it here either. After some back and forth with my friend in Facebook, I decided to look for another cemetery he mentioned called Haley Cemetery. There was a map generated for it in Find-A-Grave, but there was no gate shot, nor were any memorials created for those buried there. That sounded promising, and I told myself this time I'd do better about taking pictures and posting them.

Haley Cemetery is an old cemetery out close to the Ross Barnett Reservoir. The path to it actually runs underneath the Natchez Trace Parkway. You have to get to it from Old Rice Road. The cemetery is off of Pearl River Church Road. If you look at in Google maps, it appears to come off of Old Rice Road, and basically runs right up to the reservoir. However, I drove past the turn initially because I was looking for a sign for Pearl River Church Road, and didn't see it until I actually got to the end of Old Rice Road.

Turning around at this point, I started driving back the way I came. There is a Pearl River Methodist Church on this road, so I'm assuming currently that little stretch from North Old Canton Road to at least here is Pearl River Church Road. I kept going past the church and saw a turn to my left .5 mile from the church. It was an old road, and as I looked down the road I could see a barricade. I figured this had to be where I wanted to go. I drove down to the barricade and parked. Vehicles are not allowed beyond this point. As I found out, the old saying "Locks are to keep honest people out" is very true. This is where I parked.

I noticed the coolest old church on my left when I stopped and parked my car. It may be that I couldn't see it for looking, but I didn't see a sign for a name or denomination of the church. I did see a lot of no trespassing and keep out signs.

After I took a shot of the church, I walked around the barricade and followed the path. After walking for a few minutes, I came to a fork in the road. I took the left fork, but then as I looked to my right I saw a cemetery. I walked back to where the path goes straight and actually came across two black cemeteries. One was small and not well kept up, and a few yards past that was another black cemetery, and that one was very well maintained. Neither was Haley Cemetery, so I headed back on the path I had started on. I'm thinking this was the old Pearl River Church Road. As I walked I could see sections of asphalt and gravel. I felt like I was on the right track.

As I was walking along before I got to the Natchez Trace, I came upon a very nice gentleman leaving. He was obviously a bow hunter. He told me he got to the woods around 5:15 or 5:30 that morning. He saw a few small deer, but not big enough to shoot. We visited for a few minutes about the condition of the trails and the cemetery. He knew exactly where it was. He said that a lot of kids will cut the lock on the barricade and ride their four wheelers all over, and that they had left some serious ruts and pot holes behind. I believe he said they had also broken a headstone or two in the cemetery. As it turned out, I did find one broken into pieces. I'll save my rant for this sort of thing for another time. Anyway, he let me know that a ways up the path I'll come to a fork. I need to keep left.

When the hunter and I went our separate ways, I could see in the distance where the Natchez Trace went over the path. The gentleman has also mentioned a bunch of graffiti on the walls of the tunnel or bridge. He wasn't exaggerating. It looked like previous graffiti had been painted over.

As I walked along, I did come to the fork and kept left. I also came to a second barricade.

I have to say that the day was absolutely gorgeous. It was a little on the cool side. It was so pretty in the woods. Now I wish I had brought a light snack. It would have been a perfect spot to sit and relax for a few minutes. One of the clues I was given by my friend is that the cemetery is up on a bluff, and a good bit above the trail. I was thinking it could be seen from the path I was on. I'm probably mistaken. I kept walking looking up along the way, but never saw any signs. I started seeing something in the opening ahead, and realized that it was the reservoir. I walked until I got to the water. I have no clue why I decided not to take a picture from that spot. It was pretty cool to just walk around looking out over the reservoir though.

Well, obviously I had gone too far. I started walking back and checking the GPS coordinates as I walked. I got to a point where I was pretty close, but I couldn't see anything. I spotted a hill that gradually inclined. I thought maybe I could get a better vantage point from there. When I got to the top of the hill, I found myself on another trail. I kept walking on that trail away from the reservoir, and I couldn't have gone far at all when I looked up to my left, and this is what I saw.

All I had to do is look at the first tall monument to confirm this was indeed Haley Cemetery.

One the problems with remote cemeteries like this is that if you need water for cleaning, you've got to carry it there. I didn't know how far I was going to have to walk, so I didn't carry any with me. I also didn't think to grab the roll of aluminum foil out of the trunk to try and get inscriptions off of the monuments. I regret that now because there were parts of the biggest monument I just couldn't make out. I did the best I could to get the pictures I took. I didn't dig around or probe the ground for more headstones. According to an old survey by Pat Wellington, I think all of the headstones were accounted for. There were several names on the different sides of the large monuments. Unfortunately, I missed a side of the monument with Burruss. I guess I'll be going back at some point in the future. One thing I thought was curious is that out of the headstones I took pictures of, only three actually had dates of birth and/or death. There were only names.

It was so nice here with the peace and solitude, and the temperature was perfect. After getting the pictures it was time to head home. I decided to stay on the trail I was currently on. After walking it for a bit, I could see I was getting closer to the reservoir and farther from the path I was on going to the cemetery. I cut back through the woods toward the path, and ended up on a narrow trail that appears to have been walked in the past. I followed it until I started hearing traffic from the Natchez Trace. When I started seeing cars, I walked up a short hill on the trail, and I was looking down at the spot where the path goes under the Natchez Trace. From there it was just a short walk back to the car. Before I left the cemetery, I cleared the track on my Garmin. When I got to my car, I saved it for future reference. According to my Garmin, the cemetery was 1.1 miles from where I parked. Not only was it a beautiful day, but I got some good exercise as well.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Richmond Terrell Skipworth Family Cemetery, Hinds County, Mississippi

This morning I was waffling around trying to decide if it was too wet to get out. I've got rain boots in my trunk and a pair of water resistant hiking boots for stomping around the woods and such. It was such a gorgeous morning, I decided it was worth making a road trip. Again, it was back down to southern Hinds County. The cemetery I went to find is the Richmond Terrell Skipworth Family Cemetery. According to directions provided by Mary Collins Landin on the cemetery page in Find-A-Grave, it should be at the end of Bolton Road which runs off of Highway 27 between Utica and Crystal Springs. There's another cemetery down that way that is supposed to be on Brock Road off of Highway 27, but that's for another day.

The cemetery is supposed to be on the side of the old Bolton home which is at the end of Bolton Road. Finding Bolton Road was no problem. The maps and sign actually said P Bolton Road. I'm not sure what the P stands for. I drove to the end of the short road. I came to a home off from the end of the road behind a gated part of the front of the property. The gate across the driveway wasn't closed, but as soon as I stopped and looked around, three dogs started barking pretty close to the house, and I saw a couple of signs that concerned me. One says "Posted", and the other says "Insured by Smith and Wesson."

The fact that it also says "Bolton Country" makes me feel like I was in the right area. Facing the driveway, there was an old abandoned home to my right. I guess that could be the old Bolton home, but I'm not sure. I was hoping somebody would come outside when the dogs started barking, and I could ask them. That didn't happen. I decided to do what I've done in the past. I tore off part of the piece of paper that had the list of folks buried in the cemetery and wrote a note to the landowner(s) and put it in the closest mailbox. I also checked on switchboard.com to see if a Bolton lived down that way. Come to find out, a Mr. Kevin D. Bolton is supposed to live at 1520 Bolton Road. That was the address on the mailbox I put the note into. I think I'm going to wait another hour or so and give the number a call. I feel like they've probably checked their mail but just to give them plenty of time I'll wait.

Hopefully with a phone call or a note in the mailbox we'll be in touch, and I'll get permission to photograph the cemetery. I'll have to just wait and see.

Update

Last night was a wonderful one. I decided to call the phone number again. I didn't get an answer and decided not to leave a message. About five minutes later I get a call from someone at the number who had just gotten a call from my number. I told him who I was and asked he was Mr. Bolton. It wasn't. It was his son. He was very nice and asked if I'd like the phone number for his dad. I told him I'd appreciate it if he didn't mind. After getting Mr. Bolton's number I called him. He was very pleasant and very helpful. He had gotten my note, and had just discussed it with his aunt, who also lives at the end of P Bolton Road. She doesn't mind, but would like to tidy up the little cemetery first. I told Mr. Bolton I certainly understood, and that was perfectly fine. I tried to make sure he knew he's doing me a favor and as long as it all proceeds at his and his aunt's convenience, I'm happy.

We had a nice conversation. I asked him about the old Bolton home. He said it's not around anymore. He said a Bolton has been on that property for ages. I told him I noticed the sign out front that says, "Bolton Country Est. 1875", I believe it is. He also mentioned there's a Magnolia tree where the driveway splits that's 105 years old. I love that sort of thing! Anyway, as soon as he gets a chance, he'll get the little cemetery cleaned up and give me a call. I'm pumped. I read what Mary Collins Landin had to say about the cemetery though and was a little disappointed. There are supposed to be six people buried, but only one headstone. However, from the dates in her book, it may be the headstone I'm looking for, that of Richmond Terrell Skipworth. Even if it's not, it was a treat visiting with Mr. Bolton, and I look forward to meeting him in person.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Update - Daniel Yates Family Cemetery - Hinds County, Mississippi

When I went to Daniel Yates a couple of weeks ago, I mainly just wanted to find it. I really wasn't prepared. I didn't take water and my brush. I didn't take any kind of tool to cut back the vegetation, specifically briars and such. Last weekend it was too soggy to go back. It didn't actually rain Saturday, but it was still wet from Thursday and Friday. This morning I went back.

The weather was gorgeous. I stopped by Larry Lee's house when I got down there to make sure it was okay and to let him know I was back there. I decided it might not be a bad idea for someone to know where I was rather than just down around Utica. I got all my stuff together. I took my black five gallon bucket, my brush, a small folding saw that fits in my pocket, the hedge trimmers I bought this morning at Lowe's, and two gallons of water. One gallon of water will fit in the bucket with the other stuff, but I have to carry one gallon. I hopped the barbed wire fence where I did last time, and walked the field to the other barbed wire fence. I took a left at the fence, but I found out that where there was a big opening to walk through, brand new barbed wire covered the opening. So, I had a second fence to climb. Lovely. After I made it over the second fence unscathed and headed off to the cemetery.

There were several headstones that were in pretty good shape, but I had to cut down the briars and small saplings in order to get to them to clean and get pictures. There were three requests for the cemetery; Mary Yates, Daniel Yates, and James C. Lee. All three were born in the late 1700's. Mary was no problem, but it probably took thirty minutes or so to clear off the brush enough to get to James C. Lee's headstone. I'm afraid though that fresh water and a soft brush really didn't do much good.

I have to say though that after that much time in the elements, I think they still look pretty good. The hardest part to make out is the small inscription at the bottom of the headstone. Last week I was successful using aluminum foil and the brush to bring out the words. I hate to admit it, but I'm afraid my heart wasn't in it like it normally is. There's so much to do around the house, like cutting the yard, I got the best shots I could get of Mary Yates and James C. Lee's headstone plus several around the area and decided to call it a day.

After making it back to the car and getting ready to leave, I wondered if I'll be back. Sometimes I wonder about what I perceive as my responsibility. That may seem odd, but since I know where the cemetery is now, and I know what condition it's in, do I feel responsible for getting it completely cleaned up and all stones photographed, or do I leave it to a member of the families buried there who may or may not live in the area? I don't know. There are so many cemeteries that need work and need "rediscovering". I'll look for others and see what I feel called to do down the road.