Sunday, June 22, 2014

Bradshaw Cemetery, Yazoo County, Mississippi

Bradshaw Cemetery is around the Phoenix community. It's located on private property off of Russelville Road, but Mrs. Hintson could let us in. So we left Bonnie Cemetery and Churchill Plantation and headed there. I wasn't familiar with the cemetery and since it too was on private property, I figured it probably wouldn't be listed in Find-A-Grave.

It seemed like it only took a few minutes to get to the property. Mrs. Hintson opened the gate. Mr. Hinston and I pulled up a bit so Mrs. Hintson could close the gate. After getting back in their truck, they led the way and we drove up a road to the Bradshaw place. Like the Bonney home, the Bradshaw place was also built in the 1830's, and is every bit as neat. It's a dogtrot.

While I was taking pictures, the Hintsons told the neatest stories. Mr. Hinton told me that when it rains, rain that comes off of one side of the roof drains into the Yazoo River, and rain that comes off the other side of the roof drains into the Big Black River. I love bits of trivia like that. Mrs. Hintson mentioned that years ago, kids in the area who walked to school would just cut through the house. Because of the way the house was made, the front doors and the back doors line up. So, the kids could take a little shortcut right through the house. Mr. Hintson mentioned too that even on hot days, you can sit on the porch with the doors open, and it's perfectly comfortable with a breeze blowing through. The house also has high ceilings so the heat is not right on top of you.

I hate the picture of the house is not better. It certainly doesn't do it justice. I'm not a professional photographer, and I had some difficulty with the light. In person, the house is amazing.

After I got some pictures and enjoyed looking at a beautiful bit of history, I asked Mr. Hintson if the cemetery was nearby. He said it was, but it'd be best to all go in his truck. I love my little Ford Escort, but it's definitely not designed for off road travel. It only took a minute or so to get to the cemetery. I don't know what I expected to see, but this wasn't it. The cemetery is beautiful. There are several old cedar trees with Spanish moss hanging from the branches. It's very well kept up.

As we walked through the cemetery taking pictures, Mrs. Hintson would tell me about some of the people buried there and ones she is related to. Mr. Hintson was a wonderful help. He would put broken headstones back together when he could, and even clean off some of the dirtier ones. Yet again, they were so helpful and kind as well as being so unselfish with their time. Several of the pictures didn't come out well. I thought I had gotten the coordinates, but I didn't. I'm hoping they'll let me go back at some point in the future and finish up.

At some point during our visit, the subject of Wesley Chapel came up. It's right around the corner from where we were. They have probably the most beautiful cemetery. You'll see Spanish moss in the trees, but there are also azaleas all over. In the spring, it makes for a gorgeous sight. As it turns out, the Hintsons go to church there. Not only that, but Mrs. Hintson has copy of the latest survey made of the cemetery. She was sweet enough to drop a copy in the mail for me. I got it yesterday, and she had also included all those buried in Bradshaw Cemetery. I could have hung around with the Hintsons all day. It made for a wonderful visit. But, it was about time to head home. They told me how to get to Mechanicsburg Road and back to Highway 433, so we parted company and headed home.

To me, this was just one more example of how even though the destination is important, it's all about the journey. It also reminded me that so often I wouldn't find what I was looking for were it not for the kindness of strangers. The Hintsons are no longer strangers, and if it weren't for them, I would have ended my day quickly at Liverpool Cemetery.

Bonney Cemetery, Yazoo County, Mississippi

One of the cemeteries in Find-A-Grave that I've been interested in for some time is Bonney Cemetery. It's also known as Churchill Plantation Cemetery. It looked to be right off of Highway 3. A map had been generated for it, so I was certain it was at last there at one time. According to Find-A-Grave there are only seven people interred there. So, I grabbed my stuff about 7:30 this past Saturday morning, filled up at the local Shell station, stopped at Cups for the usual mocha latte, and hit the road.

The Friday night before, I had gone to Target to pick up a Father's Day card and some goodies for my father-in-law. While I was there, I picked up a thank you card for the kind folks who showed me McLeod Cemetery. I don't know their names, but they live on Highway 433, and that's the way I was going to get to Highway 3.

I put the card in their mail box and headed on to Highway 3. I turned my GPS device on, selected the waypoint for Bonney Cemetery, and clicked "Go". I turned left on 3 and went to the compass on my GPS. I could see I was heading in the right direction. I started slowing down when the distance got below a mile. After I got to around 200 feet or so, I started looking off to my left, where the compass was pointing. As I crawled along, the feet started increasing again, and the direction the needle on the compass was pointing was now pointing behind me to the left. I must have made about 2 or 3 u-turns until it looked like I needed to go perpendicular to the highway. There was a trailer there and woods on either side. In front of the trailer was a small garden, and an older black man was working in it. I asked him if he was familiar with Bonney Cemetery and told him it looks like it should be in the woods next to the trailer. He wasn't familiar with it, but he didn't own the property next to his trailer. A Mr. Hintson owns it. I asked him if Mr. Hintson lived in the area. He said he did, and that if I'll drive just across the Yazoo County line into Warren County, about 7 miles or so, I could ask anybody and they'd know where Mr. Hintson lives. I thanked him, made yet another u-turn and headed toward Warren County.

I wondered briefly if I had lost my mind. I'm going to drive into Warren County and start asking folks if they know a Mr. Hintson, and where he lives. But I only wondered for a minute. When I crossed the Warren County line, I noticed a black woman walking on the opposite side of the road. So, I stopped and asked if she knew a Hintson family. She said she did, and he lived right up the road in a yellow house with a beige pickup truck. I thanked her for her help and since I was about to get rear ended by a truck, I drove a little further up the road. Less than a mile more, and there on a hill to my left was a yellow house with a beige pickup truck, and the name Charles Hintson on the mailbox.

What the heck? I drove up his driveway to the top of the hill, and was greeted by what looked like two sets of twin dogs of different breeds. They weren't barking but they did seem to be interested. To my left was a shop of some sort, and I could hear some noise coming from it. I got out of the car and a gentleman walked out of the shop. He assured me that the dogs wouldn't bite. I introduced myself and asked if he was Charles Hintson. He said he was and he invited me to come into his shop. He was working on a walking stick, and Mrs. Hintson was in another room. I told him what I was looking for, what the black gentleman had told me. After I told him I was looking for the Bonney Cemetery, he said he wife is a Bonney. I'm sure he saw my jaw drop. Mrs. Hintson stepped in from the other room and we had a fascinating discussion. She told me about the plantation and where the a.k.a. came from in Find-A-Grave. Back around 1838 or so, the Bonneys established the Churchill Plantation, and the cemetery is where some of the Bonneys are interred. The name Churchill is supposed to have come from Churchill Downs in Kentucky. Mr. Bonnie or Dr. Bonnie, owned property in Kentucky and came from there to Satartia, MS and started the plantation. After catching up on some of the history, Mr. Hintson told me that they don't actually own the property the cemetery is on, but they do know the gentleman who does. Mrs. Hintson stepped into the house and got the phone book. She gave me several phone numbers, including the one for the gentleman who could open the gate for us. I tried calling but got some error message. Well, I had dialed 601 rather than 662. Mr. Hintson called him and got through to him on his cell phone. Mrs. Hintson has been wanting to get pictures for some time so we decided to all go. It was agreed that the fellow would unlock the gate for us if we'd lock it back when we left. With the arrangements made, the Hintsons headed out in their beige truck, and I followed them.

The property was a few miles from the Hintsons off of Highway 3 back toward Yazoo County. We got to the turn and drove up the driveway, I guess you could call it. We wound around back and forth through dirt and gravel and just off on the grass at times. It seems like it took a good five minutes. Mr. Hintson came to a short hill off to the left of the road, stopped, and got out. We were there.

Two of the Bonney headstones were difficult to read. They were dirty and worn. I managed to get shots of all the Bonney headstones. There were two folks we couldn't find. One of the headstones was lying what appeared to be inscription down, and there was a spot that we believe was a sunken grave with no marker. After we spent a little time there and got all the pictures we could, we drove on to the house.

It took only a couple of minutes to get to the house. I was thrilled when we got there. Not only could I see the Bonney home, but also a sign for Churchill Plantation.

That put all the pieces together for me as far as what is on Find-A-Grave. It was so interesting to hear Mrs. Hintson talk about her family and their history. To the left of the Bonney house is an old cistern. Mrs. Hintson mentioned that someone had thrown some medicine bottles into the cistern. That's such a shame. They would have made for some fascinating memorabilia.

While we were visiting, the subject came up of another old house and old cemetery called the Bradshaw place and the Bradshaw Cemetery. Mrs. Hintson is also related to folks interred there. I had mentioned that I was going to probably go to Liverpool Cemetery and fulfill a request. I also mentioned I'd love to check out Bradshaw Cemetery, but wasn't clear on how to get there. Mr. Hintson said, "Let's go!" I was already blown away by what I had seen that morning, and how kind and helpful the Hintsons were. I hated to take up all their Saturday morning going out looking at cemeteries, but they were more than willing to show me the way. What a day, and it was just getting started! Off to the Bradshaw place.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

McLeod Cemetery and Liverpool Baptist Church Cemetery - Yazoo County, Mississippi

Since I've enjoyed my time spent in Yazoo County, I thought I'd check to see if I could find anything interesting there on Find-A-Grave to check out, and I did. There's a family cemetery for the McLeod family. It looked interesting because there was a map with GPS coordinates, but no "gate shot", and there were no pictures of the headstones for any of the seven McLeod family members interred there. I wasn't very hopeful, honestly, just because of the dates of death. Most, and I think all, are in the mid 1800's. Being that old, I was concerned that all the lush Mississippi undergrowth had taken it over in the last 150 years or so. But, what the heck. I did have the coordinates, and it appeared to be right off of Highway 433, between Highway 49 and Highway 3. I've been up and down that road a number of times.

There wasn't much to see on 49 between Jackson and Bentonia, so there's nothing to add here about that leg of the trip. I got to Highway 433 and headed toward the general area. I was going to turn on my Garmin and see how close I was, but there really wasn't a good place to pull over, so I drove to where you take a left to go to Phoenix, and pulled over by a bunch of dumpsters out of traffic. I turned on my Garmin and went to manage waypoints. I clicked on the waypoint I had created, and there were two options; map and go. I clicked on go. I'm still not as familiar with the Garmin as I should be. It's a GPSMap 62s that my brother gave me. It's a seriously good one. Anyway, after a minute or so, I went to compass from the menu. I noticed in the top right that the estimated number of miles to McLeod Cemetery was 6.1. I knew I had gone too far, so I headed back the way I cam on 433. Lo and behold, the miles started decreasing until it finally got to less than 400 feet. As I drove slowly, I noticed the mileage started increasing again. I had gone to far in the other direction. I turned around at Mt. Olivet Church and headed to a house on the right side of the road, right around where the Garmin said the cemetery should be. I didn't see any sign of it, but I did see a couple siting in their pickup truck in front of the house enjoying a cigarette and conversation. So, I parked in their driveway, and walked up to them and introduced myself. When I asked if they knew about a cemetery around there, the man said, "Yep, right through the woods there." pointing away from the house and towards the woods. He said he wasn't sure where it was, but his sons had found it one day playing in the woods. He went a got one of his sons, and off we went. Even the young lady (I'm assuming wife and husband) went along with us. We walked for a few minutes, and there it was. The son pointed out a headstone you could see at the top of a bluff.

We all started milling around looking at each of the headstones. Of the seven, there was only one that was difficult to read. It was still standing, though. The woman was wondering why the cemetery was where it was. I told her I didn't know, but I'd guess that there once was a McLeod family homestead somewhere around that was long gone. She mentioned that the woman who actually owns the land is a Mrs. Ruby Potter, and she believes Mrs. Potter is 90 years old. I'm going to try and find a number for her and see if I can reach her. I'm sure she's full of information about that area and might know something of the McLeod family, or at least who her family bought the land from.

While I was taking pictures, the family headed back to their house. I wasn't far behind them. It didn't take long to get pictures of the seven stones. I did linger a bit though. I find it very peaceful in cemeteries, especially when they happen to be in the woods. We were supposed to get some rain, and while I was there it sprinkled just a bit. I loved hearing it hit the leaves and I was dry as a bone. Once I finished up, I headed back to put my stuff in the car.

Before I left, I knocked on the door of the house to thank them for their time and for allowing me on their property. The whole family was very kind and gracious. I wish I had gotten their names, and hopefully I will the next time I'm in the area. The woman answered the door when I knocked on it. She asked be if I've ever been to the Liverpool cemetery. She said it's old too and has pretty trees with Spanish moss hanging from them. I told her I'd never heard of the community. She said she thought I'd like it and gave me directions. It was only a few miles from where we were. It sounded easy enough, it was still early, and I might not get another chance, so I told her I was going to check it out. After thanking her and her husband again, I headed out.

I was only five or six miles from Highway 3, and it was right off of it. She said to turn right on Highway 3 and it would be my first right onto Old Highway 3 Tinsley Road. I would know I was there when I saw some dumpsters. Her husband said just stay right at a couple of forks in the road. That would put me onto Liverpool Road. I was told I'd see a sign for the church, and the church was just a little one room white church. It was only used once a year for sort of a reunion. I thought that was pretty cool in itself. The cemetery would be behind the church. The wife had told me too that she had looked on Find-A-Grave and didn't see the cemetery on there. I was really pumped then. After about ten minutes I was pulling up to the church. Everything was exactly as they had described it.

The picture of the cemetery actually shows the left part of the cemetery. It goes on to the right, and a little ways toward the woods. Liverpool Baptist Church Cemetery is just beautiful. I love the trees with Spanish moss. There's a cemetery back in little community call Phoenix that looks very similar. The main difference is that the other cemetery has loads of azaleas that are gorgeous in the Spring. They also have trees with the moss. I started back in the back of the cemetery. I was told that was where the older graves were. It was a wonderful experience. I think I took pictures of about half the graves. With it threatening to rain, the humidity was through the roof, and I was sweating bullets. I think I'll put this one on my list to check out this fall. It's very well kept and there's no concern with snakes or anything like that, but I'd like to spend plenty of time there on a cool Fall morning. When I got to an arbitrary stopping point, I decided to take it to the house. What I found out when I got home and checked Find-A-Grave, the cemetery does exist, and many memorial have been created for folks interred there. However, there was no map or gate shot. I've now added a gate shot and submitted a request to have a map generated.

What a way to spend a Saturday morning!