Saturday, April 19, 2014

Smith Cemetery, Holmes County, Mississippi

I was looking at cemeteries in Find-A-Grave found in Holmes County. I'm not sure why I chose Holmes other than the fact that I seldom spend anytime there. It seems I always just drive through it on the way to somewhere else. This time I thought I'd just pick a cemetery there which has several requests. The one I chose is Smith Cemetery. It looks like it's out from town a bit, and based on the dates of birth and death for a couple of people buried there, it's an old cemetery.

There is a map and a gate shot, so somebody's been there before. The map is always nice, but there's one problem. If you're out from town somewhere, there's a good chance the street doesn't have a street sign. That was the case a couple of times today. Getting to Pickens is no big thing. You just drive up Highway 51 North out of Jackson. When I got into Pickens, I thought I'd stop at the Piggly Wiggly and ask if they could tell me how to get to Lexington. Well, two out of three people working there had never heard of it. The manager tried to find it on his smart phone. Based on a street that crosses Lexington he knew how to get to, I figured out where Lexington was. So, I left the good folks at The Pig and headed about a block away to Lexington an turned on it.

The next street to turn onto was Ebenezer-Pickens Road. Again, I didn't see a sign for it. I took what felt right and took off on it. I had driven for about five minutes when I spotted an elderly gentlemen on his phone sitting in his front yard. he confirmed that I was on the right road. If it hadn't been, it wouldn't have been the first time. So, I kept going straight until the road dead ended at Ebenezer Road. According to the map, the cemetery should be on the right just past Helm Road. I stopped about where I thought it should be, but it appeared from the map to be back off the road a bit. I stomped around in the woods off of Ebenezer, but didn't see any sign of it. I thought maybe I could get to it from Helm. Nope. As it turns out, I turned onto someone's property as someone was pulling onto from another entrance. I stopped and got out of the car and got his attention. We spoke for a minute but he wasn't familiar with a cemetery by that name. I thanked him and got back in my car to the look at the map some more. As I sat there for a minute, the young man I had just spoke with came and waved to me. I got out of my car and he said he knew where it was. He didn't know it was called Smith Cemetery, but he'd be happy to show me where it was. I parked up off the driveway, grabbed my camera, and headed off with him to some woods behind his mom's house.

The woods were seriously thick. Neither one of us watched for snakes. I usually don't think too much about them anyway. I'm hoping with all the racket I make, they'll sure enough head in the other direction. As we walked along, we passed probably four or five headstones. I didn't stop and take pictures thinking I'd get them on the way back to the house. After walking around for five or ten minutes, he spotted the cemetery.

There's only one person buried within the gated area. I don't know the history of the cemetery and I didn't dig around any to see if other headstones had just fallen over and gotten covered over with leaves. There were several headstones outside of the fenced area. I couldn't make out a couple. I found out when I got home later on that all the pictures I took had already been taken and by someone with the same last name as a person buried there. Anyway, I took pictures of the ones I could, and then we headed back to the house. As it turns out, we were right by an open field and it was much easier getting back to the house and my car. He said it had been awhile since he'd been back there. I'm hoping to get permission to go back at another time and take some water, a soft brush, and hopefully get pictures of the ones I missed on the way to the cemetery.

When we got back to the house, I met the mother of the fellow who showed me the cemetery. She owns the property the cemetery is on. She's very sweet and said folks are welcome anytime to check it out. I told her I'd probably mail her a letter next time to let her know I'm coming rather than just showing up.

There were a couple of things I saw on the way to the cemetery that I wanted to get shots of on the way home. One is a church that is no longer being used. It always suprises me to find one and I don't ever see one around town.

The other is a neat little small church and the sign says it's Tucker's Family Chapel. I don't think I've seen anything quite like it.

What's really interesting is that if you drive on the dirt road through the fence, the chapel is on the right, but if you go straight, it takes you to Tucker's Hideout. The sign says members only, gangsters and outlaws welcome.

So, would you go to the chapel first and then the hideout, or vice versa? Who knows? Well, it was another interesting day out graving, and a beautiful one to boot. It wasn't as successful as I'd hoped it would be as far as finding headstones, but it was enjoyable and a good day out and about.