Thursday, September 15, 2011

Where the Arrow Landed

If you read my post from last week, I Shot an Arrow into the Air, you may be wondering where "the arrow" landed.

Actually, it didn't land too far from home — it came down about five miles south of Vicksburg off US Highway 61, in the Old Hopewell Cemetery.

I had heard of the cemetery, but had never visited it until yesterday, and was expecting it to be overgrown and "snaky." But was I in for a pleasant surprise! It seems that I couldn't have chosen a better time to visit — "unbeknownst" to me, the old cemetery had just been given a "makeover" by the Vicksburg and Warren County Historical Society.

The first thing I noticed was how clean it was (I wouldn't have to wear my "snake boots"), and then I was completely captivated by the heart-stirringly beautiful old monuments and headstones scattered amongst palmettos and moss-draped trees, and resting under the shady canopy of huge old oak trees.

One of the most awe-inspiring things about the cemetery is that it is 206 years old, making it older than the City of Vicksburg, which was founded in 1811 (according to the official City of Vicksburg website).

According to local historian Gordon Cotton, there are about 35 marked graves at the cemetery, but ground indentations indicate there were more.

Mr. Cotton, a member of the Historical Society and part of the preservation efforts since the beginning, has relatives buried at the cemetery and says, "It’s part of our heritage" ... and "reminds us of where we came from.” Mr. Cotton is also the author of numerous books about Vicksburg, including Hopewell Cemetery and the Old Town of Warrenton: a history of the first county seat of Warren County, Mississippi, and Hopewell Methodist Church, which was the first church established in the county.

In the year 2000, the two-acre cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places, preventing any more burials from taking place there.

I hope you will join me next time for a walk through the cemetery, and to see the monuments honoring loved ones whose final resting place is in the beautiful old Hopewell Cemetery.


Richard Cottrell said...

Good for them. I am so glad people are taking charge and taking care of stuff. Richard from My Old Historic House.

Alethea said...

Ooooooh, can't wait to see the pics of the old tombstones. They fascinate me.