Monday, March 7, 2016

William Davis Cemetery, Hinds County, Mississippi

A year or so ago, I found the William Davis Cemetery in Hinds County on Find-A-Grave, and thought it would be a great one to try and find. It's located around Learned, Mississippi which is down Highway 18 between Raymond and Utica. I looked at the description on Find-A-Grave, but it wasn't very helpful, so I Googled it and found a reference to the cemetery behind an African American church. I went there and looked around. I couldn't find anyone to ask that day, so I came on back home.

At some point after I got back home, I decided to email Mary Collins Landin and see if she could give me any clues. If you're not familiar with Ms. Landin, she wrote a wonderful book The Old Cemeteries of Hinds County, Mississippi: From 1811 to the Present. I don't know if you can still get a copy. I ordered my copy from Pioneer Press, but Amazon is out of stock. Years ago, she went all over Hinds County surveying the old cemeteries, at times with her children. In her book, she usually has a little blurb about the cemetery's history and/or it's condition at the present time (1978, I believe).

I don't recall if she responded or not, honestly, but about two weeks ago, I received an email from her saying she was cleaning out her inbox, and came across my message asking about the William Davis Cemetery, and was wondering if I had found it. I replied and told her I haven't. When she replied to my message, she gave me a clue. The cemetery is not behind an African American church. It's actually on the property of Mrs. Rosa Pittman, who lived on Holliday Road. She said it's also know as the Holliday Cemetery. I found Mrs. Pittman's address but not a phone number. So, I typed a letter to send her asking if I could come down on March 5th and take pictures. Unfortunately, I never got it in the mail. This past Saturday, I decided to go ahead and drive down there anyway to the address and see what I could find out.

Ordinaily, I don't go driving up to someone's house at 9:00 on a Saturday morning, but I told myself this time I was. I got to Holliday Road, found the address, and pulled into the driveway. A young lady was standing there close to the house. I introduced myself and told her why I was there. She was very sweet, and told me where the cemetery was, but she wasn't Mrs. Pittman. She's engaged to Mrs. Pittman's grandson. There is a gate that blocked the road and it was locked. I asked if it would be okay to walk around it back to the cemetery. She said that was fine. Well, about that time, a two fellows pull up in a pickup. The gentleman driving was her fiancee and Mrs. Pittman's grandson. No sooner had I explained why I was there and what my name was, he unlocked the gate, told me where the cemetery was, and said to take all the pictures I wanted. They could not have been nicer.

There is a reason for that story. Several events that might seem random to others were meant to be for me. I had completely forgotten about even trying to find the William Davis Cemetery until I received an email from Ms. Landin. If I had shown up there an hour or so later, I would have found everything locked up and no one home. I believe it was time for the cemetery to be found again. Actually a descendant of someone buried there did show up about ten years ago, cleaned the cemetery up, and put a fence around it, but apparently hasn't been back since then. The picture below shows how it looks from where the entrance is.

Once I went through the entrance, you could get a better look at the place.

The ground is covered with periwinkle. I was told it looked a little "snakey", so I wore my snake guards.

Several of hte headstones were visible and in good shape. I ended taking pictures of nine. Several needed a little cleaning. I didn't have any distilled water with me, but I did have several empty jugs and a pond full of water within easy walking distance.

The weather could not have been more perfect and it was so peaceful. I hope to go back down there again, and Mr. Pittman said that was fine. He gave me his cell number and said to just give him a call. The wonderful experience there was just another reason why I enjoy doing what I do.

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