Monday, March 14, 2016

Daniel Yates Family Cemetery, Hinds County, Mississippi

This is one of the cemeteries on Find-A-Grave that is also in Mary Collins Landin's book. I looked for it once before and even asked a couple of folks who were out and about if they were familiar with it. I didn't have any luck. Finding the William Davis Family Cemetery, I've been encouraged to try again.

One thing that dawned on me this morning is that Ernie Martin Road runs from Highway 27 outside of Utica to Adams Station Road. When I looked last time, I didn't think to cross over Tom Collins Road and look on the other end of Ernie Martin Road. I told myself I was going to concentrate my search there.

What stuck in my mind is something I read on the Hinds County GenWeb page about this cemetery. Mary Landin said that back in 1978 it couldn't be seen from the road, but in 2005 with more grazing, it's starting to become visible again. I'm paraphrasing.

I drove slowly starting at Tom Collins Road. I was really hoping to catch a glimpse of it. I even brought my binoculars, hoping they would help. I still felt like I was looking for a needle in a haystack. Before I knew it, I was at Adam Station Road. Obviously I had driven by it. So, I made a u-turn and headed back the other direction. As I was driving along, I saw a black man sitting in his pickup at a house with his truck door open. I decided to ask him if he was familiar with the cemetery. His name is Larry Lee. As a matter fact, he knows exactly where it is. He used to walk by it when he went hunting. He was nice enough to walk with my up the street to show me where to hop the barbed wire fence. He said it was no problem.

People like Larry are invaluable. He's been in the area for some years and is familiar with the landscape. He's also just a very nice fellow.

I drove my car to where he said I could park. I put on my boots and snake guards, got my camera and pad with a list of names, and proceeded to climb over the fence. Fortunately, I didn't do any damage to myself. He said to go to the right to a thicket. I walked all around several what I would consider thickets and didn't see the first sign of a headstone. As I was about to head back and ask Larry how I missed it, he's slowly driving down Ernie Martin Road and spots me. He hollers out and asked me if I found it. I told him I hadn't seen the first sign of the cemetery. Well, as he pointed out, I hadn't walked far enough. I had misunderstood his directions. There's another fence I had to go over or around. When I was looking around earlier, I saw a spot where the fence ended, so I headed for that spot. He had pointed to an area on the other side of that fence, so I walked further away from where I parked, and toward Ernie Martin Road. After walking 20 or 30 feet, I saw a headstone. That was it!

The headstone I spotted is actually to the left of these headstones. Unfortunately, I could only read the name and both dates on a couple of the headstones. They really need to be cleaned. I was able to get enough water from a nearby puddle to clean up the names and dates on the first headstone, that of Daniel T. Yates, Jr.

Since I really had no clue where the cemetery was when I parked, I didn't want to haul around a bucket, brush, and a couple of empty containers hoping I'd find a source of water. I wish I had now. Anyway, the stones look like they're in good shape other than needing cleaning. When I go back, I'll make sure I have the supplies I need, including a small saw and some loppers.

This is the second old and small family cemetery I've been able to find with some very valuable help. It made my day! I'm normally at work on Monday, but I had asked for the day off to go to another cemetery. That plan was changed and it wasn't necessary for me to be there. What a day!

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