Copyright © Janice Tracy, Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

George Washington Gunter, Founder and Donor of LaGrange Cemetery

The inscription on George Washington Gunter's grave stone, located in the Sherwood Community of Choctaw County, Mississippi states "founder and donor of LaGrange Cemetery." Born on January 3, 1820 in Tennessee, Mr. Gunter died on August 22, 1882.

In 1830, Allen Gunter, a resident of Covington County, was the only head of household with the surname of Gunter enumerated on the U. S. Census taken in Mississippi that year. Ten years later, eight individuals named "Gunter" were counted in the 1840 census, including "Larkin Gunter," who resided in Choctaw County.
But by 1850, thirty-three individuals with this surname, according to the U. S. Census of 1850, were living in Mississippi in Amite, Attala, Desoto, Madison, Smith and Tippah counties. One of these individuals, George W. Gunter, was enumerated in Attala County.

Although I first believed this to be George Washington Gunter, whose gravestone appears above, and the subject of my research, I later found there were actually two men named George W. Gunter who lived in Mississippi during the mid-1800s. According to the census record, the man who lived in Attala County was born in South Carolina, while George Washington Gunter, buried in Choctaw County, was born in Tennessee. Ironically, the two men were almost the same age, which made research and examination of ceInsus records quite confusing.

According to the U. S. Census of 1850, taken in the Southern District of Pickens County, Alabama, G. W. Gunter, buried in Choctaw County, was 29 years old and had been born in Tennessee. He headed a household that included his Alabama-born wife, Amanda, age 27, and their four children. Also living in the household was George's mother, Sarah Gunter, age 66, born in Virginia. The children's names and ages were Mary F., 9; Claborn H., 7; Louisa J., 2, and Andrew J., 1 year old.

By 1858, the Gunter family was living in Choctaw County, Mississippi, since the gravestone of Sarah Gunter, George's mother, shows that she died in the fall of that year.

Sarah, wife of J. L. Gunter
Mother of George Washington Gunter

Two months to the day later, George lost his wife, Amanda. Sarah and Amanda are both buried in LaGrange Cemetery in Choctaw County

Since George Gunter was a widower with young children, he remarried very soon. By August of 1860, when the U. S. Census was taken in Choctaw County, his household in Township 19 included Catharine, a 23-year old female, shown on the census as "house mistress." George was shown as 39 years old, with a birth place of Tennessee. His occupation was shown as "farmer and merchant," and the value of his real estate and personal property totaled almost $7,000. According to the census, the family received mail at the Greensboro post office. It is likely that Catharine was a young widow when she married George, since their household in 1860 included a total of 8 children, whose names and ages were Wiley, 17; William, 15, Louisa, 13; Andrew J., 11; Maderia, 9; Martha, 7; Isalena, 4; and Eveline, 3 years old.

Ten years later, George was enumerated in the U. S. Census of 1870 as a 50-year old white male, living in the community of Pidgeon's Roost. His Mississippi-born wife, Catherine Gunter, as she had been shown on the 1860 census, was now shown as "Mary C. Gunter." Thirty-three years old by then, Mary Catherine Gunter had given birth to three children between 1860 and 1870. Their names and ages were shown on the census record as John L., 9, George A., 6, and Sarah E., age 2.

In 1880, George Gunter was shown on the U. S. Census in Beat 2 of Choctaw County, and his occupation was "dry goods merchant." His family had continued to grow, since Mary Catherine had given birth to four more children born between 1870 and 1880. The youngest children's names and ages were Felica E., 9, Joseph T., 7, Pearl H., 4, and Battler B., 8 months.

Just two years later, George Washington Gunter, died. I have been unable to find the final resting place of Mary Catharine Gunter. Since she still had young children when her husband died, it is possible that she married again.

Not only was George Washington Gunter the Founder and Donor of LaGrange Cemetery, if I have counted correctly, he was the father of 17 children.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Chapel of the Cross Cemetery - Britton Family

Stephen Wells Britton, whose grave monument is shown here, was one of many Britton family members who migrated to Mississippi in the 1800s from Bertie County, North Carolina. According to the inscription on the monument that marks Stephen Britton's grave, he was born on April 21, 1818, and he died on April 19, 1855.

Other Britton family members buried in historic Chapel of the Cross Cemetery in Madison, Mississippi, include:

Frances A. Britton, b. Nov. 16, 1825, d. March 4, 1907
Herbert P. Britton, d. 1852
Mary B. Britton, d. Nov. 1883
William Britton, b. May 3, 1853, d. Dec. 24, 1894

William J. Britton, b. Mar. 19, 1815, d. Feb. 6, 1871

Interestingly, William J. Britton's wife, Frances A. Britton, was the daughter of Margaret Johnstone, who built the Chapel of the Cross. And it was Margaret Johnstone's younger daughter, Helen, who is known as the legendary "Bride of Annandale."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Midway Cemetery, Calhoun County, MS

The double Gravestone of Bobby Van Franklin and Jerry Hensley Franklin, located in Midway Cemetery, Calhoun County, Mississippi, shows no dates of birth for either person, and their relationship to each other is unknown. But the double heart-shaped stone that marks their graves is a loving tribute to the two individuals who died on the same day, June 20, 1938.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - John H. Tabb

This gravestone of John H. Tabb marks his burial place in Hopewell Cemetery in Yalobusha County, Mississippi. According to the inscription on the stone, John Tabb was born on January 16, 1777, and he died March 22, 1852. As early as 1840, there were members of the Tabb family living in Mississippi. According to the U. S. Census of 1840, Abram, Henry, John, Thomas, and Thomas B. Tabb headed households in Oktibbeha, Yalobusha, and Lowndes counties. John Tabb was enumerated in 1840 in Yalobusha County.

In 1850, the U. S. Census shows that J. H. Tabb, was living in Yalobusha County, Mississippi, in the household with his wife, Sarah, age 60, and Susan Tabb, a 22-year old female. The physical location of their residence was shown on the census as "North of the Yalobusha River." According to the census, John was born in 1776 in North Carolina, and his occupation was shown as "none." Apparently John and Sarah's son and his family lived in the house nearest them, since the census record lists a household headed by "A" Tabb, 40, a planter, and his wife, Abby, also 40. It is possible that "A" Tabb was "Abram," who had been counted as a resident of Yalobusha County in 1840. Also living in the younger Tabb household were six children: John, James, Clementine, Sarah, Josephine, and Tennessee.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Rocky Point Cemetery - Leake County, Mississippi

Rocky Point Cemetery, located in rural Leake County, Mississippi, contains almost one thousand graves. Adjacent to Rocky Point Baptist Church, the cemetery is near the intersection of Rocky Creek Road and Coon Creek Road. Although it was established in the mid-1800s and has many old gravesites, the cemetery contains newer graves, as well.
Among those buried here are members of the Atkison, Atkinson, Bobo, Cheatwood, Cockroft, Crowe, Dendy, Durill, Horn, Laney, Lovorn, Paramore, Pickle, Swales, Tolleson, Vines, and Vowell families.