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Oxford’s cemeteries contain bits of history

One can learn a lot of about Oxford’s history through books, browsing the Internet or listening to lectures by local historians.

However, taking a stroll through the more than 100 cemeteries located around Lafayette County can also offer interesting history lessons.

The area’s cemeteries tell tales of the Civil War, of a yellow fever outbreak and a time when people were separated, even in death, because of the color of their skin.

There are generally three types of cemeteries — municipal-owned, family owned and church/organization owned.

Oxford has all three types. The city of Oxford owns Oxford Memorial Cemetery that is where one of its most famous residents is laid to rest. Many will say Faulkner’s grave is located in the St. Peter’s Cemetery but it is actually in the Oxford Memorial cemetery. A third section of the cemetery is known as Old Oxford Cemetery. There are no real dividing lines as to which section is the Old Oxford, St. Peter’s or Oxford Memorial Cemetery other than perhaps the age of some of the tombstones, but even that is not a definite line. The entire cemetery is technically now owned by the city and under the umbrella of Oxford Memorial Cemetery.

It is also the final resting place for L.Q.C. Lamar, a former congressman, Beside a circle of cedars lies a Revolutionary War veteran as well as a Confederate general. The city has recently built a new columbarium that will hold about 800 niches so that more families can choose Oxford’s cemetery as their final home as grave space has become very limited.

Family-owned cemeteries are numerous throughout the county. Some have names and are well cared for while others have been forgotten about and only rediscovered when someone trips over a headstone while walking in the woods. Most are just quiet reminders that where shopping centers and highways loom now, once stood family homesteads.

Just behind Coop Deville on West Jackson on Price Hill Drive, a small cemetery exists. Will St. Amand, who works with the Lafayette County Genealogy Society, said there is no record of the cemetery or who owns it in local cemetery records.

“Someone who lives on Price Hill Drive told me it was St. Paul’s,” he said. “But I haven’t been able to confirm that. I have tried to find out more but haven’t been able to.”

Frieda Metts and a committee of concerned residents in Yocona care for the Yellow Leaf Cemetery that has more than 300 people buried there. While it is close to the Yellow leaf Church, the two are separate entities.

“The land was given by M. Green Knight in 1877 for the cemetery,” Metts said. “His brother gave money to buy the church land.”

There are two sections of the cemetery. An African-American cemetery is located behind the trees of the main cemetery.

“There’s a lot back there with nothing but a rock for a headstone,” Metts said.

The committee is responsible for the maintenance of the property.

“We keep it up through donations,” she said. “It’s getting much harder to get those donations. I think people forget. Some we don’t even know anymore. We send reminders out to the names we have that we haven’t heard from in awhile but it’s getting harder to get the money we need.”

 There are two sections of the cemetery. A black cemetery is located behind the trees of the main cemetery.

“There’s a lot back there with nothing but a rock for a headstone,” Metts said.

The committee is

responsible for the main- tenance of the property.

“We keep it up through donations,” she said. “It’s getting much harder to get those donations.

I think people forget. Some we don’t even know anymore. We send reminders out to the names we have that we haven’t heard from in awhile but it’s getting harder to get the money we need.