This is Chapter Two of my story featuring a little country church in Madison County, Mississippi, called The Chapel of the Cross. If you missed Chapter One, I suggest you click on the link and read it before you read this post.
When I visited the Chapel last week, the sun broke through the clouds as I entered the churchyard, and I was able to capture several pictures with blue skies as a background.
But the blue skies didn't last long and by the time I visited the Chapel cemetery, its huge old magnolias, cedars, and oaks cast shadows over the gravestones.
The Johnstone family graveyard is enclosed within a beautiful ornate iron fence, and you enter through a gate with an iron arch over it.
The final resting place of Helen's beloved Henry lies in the Johnstone plot, his gravestones embraced by the twisted roots of a centuries-old magnolia tree.
The graves of Helen's parents, Margaret and John Johnstone, are beside Henry's grave ...
The oldest monument I found in the cemetery (and the most beautiful, in my opinion) is the marker for James Burroughs Yellowley.
I googled James Yellowley and discovered that he was the founder of what was to become the city of Ridgeland, Mississippi, which is a suburb of Jackson.
It is amazing what you can discover from people's grave markers about the lives they led.
Upon researching S.A.D. Greaves, I came across some genealogy records and discovered what I think is an interesting story about Mr. Greaves.
Stephen Arne Decatur Greaves was born January 30, 1817, in Sumter, South Carolina, and died November 17, 1880 in Madison County, Mississippi. He served as a lieutenant during the Mexican War, and after the war, he married a rich widow, Sarah Lowe. They lived on her plantation, "Sunnyside," in Livingston, Madison County, MS — and lived lavishly, by all accounts. It seems that Mr. Greaves changed clothes completely for each meal, had 90 pairs of hand-made boots, and was spared complete destruction of the property by Sherman's forces because of his war record.
Here are a few more markers and stones that caught my attention as I walked around the cemetery:
I love to read epitaphs on cemetery markers, and noticed two, in particular.
Thy God hath claimed thee as His own;
In Paradise thou sharest bliss,
Ne'er to be found in worlds like this.
The next epitaph was engraved on the base of the large cross shown in the following picture. Unfortunately, I overlooked getting the name of the person buried there.
Which I have loved long since and lost awhile.
I have always admired the lovely little Chapel of the Cross from a distance, but in the short time I spent there that Spring afternoon, I loved seeing it up close through the lens of my camera.
I was not only awed by its physical beauty, but was also reminded of its history and the story of its endurance and survival.
May those who brought it to life almost 160 years ago rest in peace in that beautiful little cemetery, knowing that their legacy lives on ... in the sermons and hymns and prayers and fellowship enjoyed today by the parishioners at The Chapel of the Cross.
The following is a slideshow presentation I created featuring a few of the pictures I captured of the Chapel and the Cemetery. To view it, click on the arrow and be sure your sound is turned on.