Thursday, March 18, 2010

An Introduction to Little Cemetery, District 4, Itawamba County, Mississippi

by Terry Thornton

The pioneer cemetery called Little Cemetery in District 4 of Itawamba County, Mississippi, lies abandoned --- but it is not forgotten. The cemetery which has many more unmarked burials than marked ones, once served as the burying ground of a community of some of the earliest and hardiest pioneers who lived in the hills of southeastern Itawamba County.

Located on a high ridge just south of Jims Creek (and just a few yards off modern state highway Mississippi 23), the cemetery was once affiliated with a church long gone.

This general view of the cemetery (above) shows that it covers a considerable surface along the crest of the ridge. When walking the cemetery, however, one cannot miss the large number of rock marked graves, some elaborate with numerous pieces of native sandstone which shows the work of man to shape the rock into rectangular shapes. Many graves, however, were found only by the depressions in the ground; others have simple stones to indicate that a burial is nearby. The following four photographs shows but a sample of the rock marked graves without names in the cemetery.

The cemetery is best accessed on foot as the road leading to it from Highway 23 is badly eroded as can be seen on the picture below.

Within the cemetery visitors are cautioned to watch for stobs and small stumps and vines which may trip the unaware, to watch for fireants and critters, and to avoid stepping on fragile stoneware markers many of which are lying flat within the forest rubble.

In recent years, the Lt. John Sallis Camp 1776, Sons of Conferedate Veterans of Tremont, has untaken some clearing of the cemetery and in more recent times, the nearby Horn family has continued the process of removing much of the underbrush that was making access to the cemetery almost impossible. Thanks to both the SCV Camp 1776 and the Horn family for helping to preserve this important part of our hill country heritage.

The map below shows a general location for Little Cemetery. Left click for a larger view or go to the official Itawamba County highway map available at

The names transcribed from the surviving markers and links to the photographs of those markers can be found by clicking here. A short video of the cemetery made on March 17, 2010 --- click here to view the video of Little Cemetery

More research is being done to determine other burials at Little Cemetery. The deep layer of leaves which covers most of the cemetery is proabably hiding several other broken but readable markers. Visitors are encouraged to take pruning snips and rakes and work gloves to help continue the cleanup of Little Cemetery. If you find markers with readable names not included on this list, please share that information --- photos would be most helpful to complete the record of this important early cemetery.

Thanks to Charles and Virble Booth of Itawamba County for their gracious assistance in preparing this report.

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