Mississippi is filled with a ton of historically significant sites and that includes cemeteries. Many of the state’s oldest cemeteries date back hundreds of years and undoubtedly have some interesting stories to tell. From the graves of soldiers to those of some of the state’s most prominent citizens, these historic Mississippi cemeteries are both interesting and astounding.
1. Cedar Hill Cemetery, Vicksburg
Cedar Hill is the oldest and largest cemetery in the nation that is still in use today. The cemetery is the site of “Soldier’s Rest,” which is the final resting place for approximately 5,000 Confederate soldiers who lost their lives during the Civil War. Among the graves that fill the cemetery is one belonging to a camel by the name of Old Douglas. During the Civil War, Old Douglas was part of the 43rd Mississippi Infantry Regiment, Company A. Sadly, Old Douglas was killed by a sharpshooter during the Siege of Vicksburg.
2. Natchez City Cemetery, Natchez
Touring this historic cemetery is a must while in Natchez. The stunning cemetery, which was established in 1822, sits high on the bluffs of the Mississippi River, providing gorgeous views, especially at sunset. The cemetery’s occupants reveal the “history, grandeur, mystery, and tragedy that tell the story of Natchez.” The cemetery opens daily at 7 am, and for those who don’t want to miss a thing, guided tours are available.
3. Greenwood Cemetery, Jackson
This cemetery has grown tremendously since being established in 1823. Now 22 acres, the breathtaking Greenwood Cemetery is downtown Jackson’s largest green space and is filled with oaks, magnolias, crepe myrtles, cedars, camellia bushes, and wisteria. Within the cemetery, you’ll find graves for seven Mississippi governors, 14 Jackson mayors, six Confederate generals, six state Supreme Court justices, 27 clergymen and more than 100 unidentified Confederate soldiers.
4. Old Biloxi Cemetery, Biloxi
Located across the highway from the beach, this cemetery is teeming with history. A lot of the headstones bear dates prior to the 1900s and many include some type of background information, making for an interesting journey to the past.
5. Bethany Historic Cemetery, Baldwyn
The Battle of Brice’s Crossroads was a significant victory for the Confederacy, but that doesn’t mean it was any less deadly. In order to commemorate the Confederate soldiers who lost their lives in the infamous battle, a section of the cemetery at Bethany A.R.P. Church was used to bury these brave men. Nearly 100 grave markers stand as a reminder of the great bravery exhibited during that battle.
6. Historic Beulah Cemetery, Vicksburg
This cemetery is significant for a number of reasons; one of them being that it is one of the most “intact historical properties associated with the growth and development of the African-American community of Vicksburg.” The cemetery operated from 1884 until the 1940s and still remains a landmark for the black community.
7. Rose Hill Cemetery, Meridian
While the oldest grave marker in this cemetery dates back to 1853, it is believed that burials were taking place long before that. The Meridian cemetery includes the graves of city founders, prominent citizens, veterans from numerous wars and the King and Queen of the Gypsies. The cemetery also includes a Confederate burial mound, which holds the remains of the 100 soldiers who died at the city’s Confederate hospital.
8. Glenwood Cemetery, Yazoo City
While an official year is not known, the Glenwood Cemetery dates back to at least 1856. The cemetery includes a large plot, which is the final resting place for a number of Confederate soldiers. Visitors to this cemetery will also notice a grave surrounded by chain links. This grave belongs to the notorious Yazoo City Witch who, according to legend, burned the town to the ground, vowing to return and exact revenge. The story of the witch and the cemetery’s significance lives on through tours put on by costumed storytellers.
9. Greenfield Cemetery, Glen Allan
Situated in the middle of Greenfield Cemetery, the ruins of St. John’s Episcopal Church are truly a sight to be seen, and one way to do so is by taking the cemetery’s Candlelight Tour.
10. Vicksburg National Cemetery, Vicksburg
Vicksburg National Cemetery is second in size only to Arlington National Cemetery and has a larger concentration of Civil War burials than any other cemetery in the country. Originally, national cemeteries were used solely for Union soldiers, which is why the 17,000 Civil War soldiers buried in the Vicksburg National Cemetery are Union soldiers.
11. St. Peter’s Cemetery, Oxford
Known as the Old Oxford Cemetery, St. Peter’s is located just a few blocks from the Square. The historic cemetery is the final resting place for literary legend William Faulkner as well as several of Oxford’s most prominent citizens, including political figures, a Revolutionary War veteran and a Confederate General.
Have you visited any of these historic cemeteries? What others would yo add to this list?