Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Time Out

Please accept my apologies for the lack of recent posts. Now that tax season is officially over, I am hopeful that I can return to regular postings to this blog. See you in a few days.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Heartbreaking Loss times Two

If this doesn't break your heart: two little boys dying within days of each other. Their parents had this lovely double tombstone made for their graves.

Samuel J. M. Green
born Sept. 30, 1875
died July 19, 1879

James A. Green
born Aug. 21, 1877
died July 22, 1879

Little Samuel and James lived with their parents, James and Louisa Allen Green, in the Orwood community of southwestern Lafayette County.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Joshua, son of A.S. and N.M. Green

Underneath a large, old cedar tree in Sand Spring Cemetery lies a pile of stones, obviously piled to mark a grave. At one end of the mound there is a tall marker for a little boy who was just eight months old when he died in November 1861. It is not known whether the infant is buried beneath the pile of stones or if another family member is buried there.

Joshua W. Green was the son of Andrew Shuler Green and Nancy M. Dunlap. You may remember the Dunlap surname from a previous post. Nancy was the daughter of James S. and Nancy Simpson Dunlap.

Sand Spring Cemetery is located in the Orwood community of southwestern Lafayette County, Mississippi.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Under the shade of cedars

It is a pretty good bet that the shade of the oldest trees in a cemetery covers the oldest graves. The roots of this old cedar tree in Sand Spring Cemetery in southwestern Lafayette County are pushing forward the tombstone of James and Nancy Dunlap.

James Dunlap
Oct. 24, 1868
Aged 83 years
Nancy Dunlap
Dec 30, 1864
Aged 76 years

James Sanford Dunlap was born in 1784 in South Carolina and was married to Nancy Agnes Simpson, an Irish immigrant, in 1808 in probably Laurens District, South Carolina. With a surname of Simpson, it is a pretty safe assumption that Nancy was Scotch-Irish and probably arrived with a group of Coventanting Presbyterians to South Carolina.

James and Nancy appear to be relative late-comers to Lafayette County, arriving between 1850 and 1860, from Shelby County, Alabama. Can you imagine the life and travels of Nancy Simpson Dunlap?

1860 Census
Lafayette County, Mississippi
Post Office: Paris (Orwood post office was established until 1881)
Jas Dunlap 75 SC farmer, $1600 real property, $2500 personal property
Nancy 73 Ireland
Sarah 18 AL

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sand Springs Cemetery

Sand Springs Presbyterian Church and Cemetery is located in southwestern Lafayette County in the Orwood community. The church was established in 1850 when some of the members of the Presbyterian congregation at nearby Water Valley petitioned to build their own church north of the Yocona River. Water Valley was south of the river, and during periods of heavy rain, members were unable to attend church there. Interestingly, the petition refers to the Yocona River as "Yockanypataffa" River, a similar pronunciation to Faulkner's "Yoknapatawpha" County.

The first church building, a log structure that initially was used by all faiths on an alternating basis, was replaced in 1854 by the building seen in the photo below. This building is on the National Register of Historical Places and was designed and constructed by master builder William Turner.

The cemetery is nearby and is rather large for the rural area. Its most striking feature is the stand of beautiful old cedar trees in the middle of the cemetery, and as you might imagine, the older graves are located here.

Orwood, formerly found as Orrwood, was named for named for the Orr family that settled in the area. At one time, the community included a post office, school, stores and a grist mill. Today, the church and cemetery are the only indicators of the former community.

Ira Baxter Orr was the son of Ira Addison Orr and Mary Anne Gray whose families migrated to Lafayette County from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He enlisted in the Lamar Rifles of Company G, Miss. 11th Infantry Regiment on April 26, 1861. After the war, Ira married Sallie Hilliard Fernandez in 1871 at College Hill, another early Presbyterian community in Lafayette County. Many descendants of this couple live in Lafayette County today.

1880 Census
Lafayette County, Mississippi
B. Ira Orr 39 NC NC NC farmer
H. Sally Orr 30 SC SC SC wife
J. Mary Orr 8 MS daughter
Margy 4 MS daughter
Carrie 2 MS daughter
Warren 1 mo. MS son

Other children born to the couple included Laura, Ira Jr., Robert, Harry, James, and Addison Walter.

Jack Lamar Mayfield, a local historian, wrote a wonderful history of this church, cemetery and community which appeared in the Oxford Eagle a couple of months ago and supplied much of the information you read here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Amelia A. McNeely 1901-1919

Amelia Arnold McNeely was the daughter of William David McNeely and his wife, Sarah "Sallie" Jane Smith. According to her grave marker, she died when she was only eighteen years old. How sad. Amelia is buried in Cambridge Cemetery in northeastern Lafayette County, near the Cambridge Methodist Church . Both of her parents rest there as well. I'm a sucker for little lambs in cemetery and am drawn to them first thing. That's what drew me to Amelia's tombstone.

The McNeely family were early settlers to the area. Amelia's great grandfather, David, brought his family from Greenville County, South Carolina.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Wilburn Littlejohn 1895-1924

Love's Last Tribute

Wilburn Littlejohn was the son of John Littlejohn and Delphia Ellen Reid, families found in early Pontotoc and Lafayette counties. William Faulkner refers to the Littlejohns and other families in his book "The Hamlet" when he says "they came from the northeast, through the Tennessee mountains by stages marked by the bearing and raising of a generation of children.....They brought no slaves and no Phyfe and Chippendale highboys; indeed, what they did bring most of them could (and did) carry in their hands."

Many Littlejohns are buried in Cambridge Cemetery in northeastern Lafayette County, including Wilburn's parents. This grave "spoke" to me because of its oval shape and and the words "love's last tribute" on the marker. Interestingly enough, Wilburn's mother, Delphia Reid, was sister to my husband's GGG grandmother, Harriett Reid, who moved to Itawamba County and raised a family there with her husband William Elisha Bowen. You just never know who you are going to "meet" in a cemetery!