Thursday, April 8, 2010


by Terry Thornton


Keys Cemetery is one of the largest rural cemeteries in Itawamba County, Mississippi. Named for one of the early planter families of west Itawamba County, the cemetery was established on the Keys Plantation. A church was once located nearby. The cemetery continues to receive burials.

In March 2010 the grave markers at Keys Cemetery were photographed and from those images, a list of names of the burials at the cemetery was prepared. The resulting alphabetized inventory of Keys Cemetery is presented in the following thirteen articles. See the right sidebar for ease in navigating from section to section.

The inventory consists of more than 1,770 names. Each entry contains the surname, given names or initials, year of birth, year of death, name of cemetery, and an image number which serves as a link to the grave marker photograph.

The photographs are housed at an account at Flickr. Click on the link and a medium size (500 by 375 pixels) image will appear; a larger size may be selected from the menu above the image. Other sizes available include the original size (2272 by 1704 pixels). The larger sizes will assist in determining the information chiseled on the marker.

Family researchers are advised to view the marker photographs to determine spelling of names, to obtain more complete dates of birth and death, as well as to learn additional information about the relationships of individuals.

The inventory uses but few abbreviations: nd means no dates; nod means no other date; abt mean about. A question mark indicates there is low confidence in the accuracy of the transcribed data; a line indicates that no data could be transcribed. When information not on the grave marker was inserted into the inventory, it was enclosed within brackets. An asterisk following an entry indicates there is additional information at the bottom of the page.

Keys Cemetery is located on Hopewell-Keyes Road south of Peppertown. Lying between the old pioneer communities of Van Buren and Abney, the cemetery contains probably close to 2,500 burials many of which are marked only with concrete blocks. See photo below.

Numerous marked but un-named burials in Keys Cemetery

One of the most direct ways to drive to Keys Cemetery (from U.S. Highway 78) is to take the Peppertown Exit and go east on 178. Take an immediate right on Peppertown Road and go about four miles to the stop sign at Hopewell-Keyes Road. Turn right on Hopewell-Keyes Road. The cemetery is about 1/4 mile and lies on both sides of the road. Click map for a larger image.

There is a cemetery sign. The burying grounds consists of a pavilion, the old Keys Cemetery bell is mounted on a pole near the gate to the old section of the cemetery. The new section of the cemetery is divided by a cemetery driveway into east and west parts.

Keys Cemetery is well maintained. The annual memorial day at the cemetery is the third Sunday in August of each year.

Old section of Keys Cemetery shows a mix of marker styles.

Cemetery driveway in new section of Keys Cemetery


Keys Cemetery Grounds Map adapted from topographical map available at

Keys Cemetery Map modified from Itawamba County Mississippi Highway Map available from Mississippi Department of Transportation at

Keys Cemetery Photographs and Keyes Cemetery Sign Photograph, March 2010. Terry Thornton, Fulton, Mississippi.

Keys Cemetery Inventory and Grave Marker Photographs copyright © 2010. William T. "Terry" Thornton, Fulton, Mississippi. All Rights Reserved.

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