Back to Bradshaw Cemetery
Mark Blasingame is a fellow volunteer "graver" with Find-A-Grave. His blog, A Grave Affair, is filled with unique photos and details about little-known cemeteries in Mississippi. It is well-worth reading and highly recommended.
After working with Mark on a recent project in Yazoo County, Mississippi, I am guest-hosting his blog entry about the day:
Back to Bradshaw Cemetery by Mark Blasingame
Last weekend, I received an email from Southern Heritage Genealogy. The message concerned the Bradshaw Cemetery in Yazoo County. A couple of years back I was fortunate enough to meet the owners of the property that Bradshaw Cemetery can be found on, and who took me there to see it.
I was reluctant to give out the owners' email address, so I emailed them to let them know I was forwarding an email to them, and basically what the email was about. The two parties got together and scheduled a trip to the cemetery for this past Thursday.
The person who is Southern Heritage Genealogy is Ms. Kim Richardson and the owners of the property are Mr. Charles and Mrs. Cecille Hintson. Ms. Richardson let me know when they were supposed to meet and was gracious enough to say I was welcome to come along. Well, I wasn't going to pass on that opportunity. So, Monday when I went into work, I asked my boss if there would be a problem taking off on such short notice. Fortunately he said that would be fine. I'm not sure what I would have done if he said no.
We were scheduled to meet up at 12:30 Thursday afternoon. Since I took the day off, I thought I'd see if there were any requests for Wesley Chapel Cemetery, which is just right up the road. As it turned out, there were 11 requests. I decided to leave here around 9:00 or so, and that would give me a couple of hours at Wesley Chapel before meeting the Hintsons and Ms. Richardson.
I finished up at Wesley Chapel about 12:15 or so. I had found 8 of the requested headstones. 2 of them were broken up, but I'm pretty sure I know who they're for. The Bradshaw Cemetery is on private property off of Russelville Road, which was just across the street from where Mechanicsburg Road intersects with Phoenix Road. I knew about where it was, and I remember from the first time that Mrs. Hintson had to open a gate for us to drive through. Russelville Road is a dirt and gravel road. I drove pretty slow looking for a gate I hoped I'd remember. After a few minutes, I came to a gate that I recognized.
The "B" is for Bradshaw. I knew I was where I needed to be, so I just turned the car off and enjoyed a few minutes of peace and quiet on a beautiful day.
While I was waiting, a front end loader came up the road, and to the very gate. A gentleman hopped out and opened it. Just to verify I was right, I asked him if that was Bradshaw property. He said it was. He was just there to pick up a couple of bales of hay which was to the left inside the fence. I walked back to me car and it wasn't long before I saw a tan colored pickup and car behind it coming up the road. I knew that was the Hintsons and Ms. Richardson. They turned onto the property and I pulled in behind. We drove for a short distance and parked. Mr. Hintson suggested we all go in his truck to the cemetery. There was a gentleman with the Hintsons that I didn't know. His name is Howard Park, and is a nephew of the Hintsons. He and Mr. Hintson are both retired and spend a lot of time together. Ms. Richardson and I gathered up what we wanted to take, put it in the bed of the truck and got in. Mr. Park rode in the bed.
Taking the truck was an excellent idea. I know my little Ford Escort wouldn't have made it. At one point, Mr. Hintson had to put his truck in 4-wheel drive to get through soft grass and mud. After a short drive from where we parked, we pulled up to the cemetery.
Ms. Richardson is a genealogist, and the main reason we were there. She was working on some research. We were hoping to find a couple of headstones in particular. One was for Eliza Johnson, and the other was for her grandfather, Ben Johnson. According to the documentation on the cemetery, Eliza Johnson is buried there, but there's no mention of Ben Johnson. We also wanted to find the headstones for Colonel William Ward (1769-1836) and another William Ward (1812-1843). Mr. Hintson knew about where they were, so we headed to that part of the cemetery. We found the Wards. They just happened to be next to a tree with an active bee hive. Mr. Hintson advised us not to walk close to the tree and just leave them alone, and they'd leave us alone. That worked just fine, but I have to admit that constant buzzing made me just a bit nervous. Just past the Ward graves was a headstone that was very hard to read. It was for Eliza Johnson. It's obvious that Ms. Richardson doesn't only do research at a computer terminal or in a library. She pulled out some paper, taped it to Eliza's headstone and started rubbing with rubbing wax to pull out the details. That was very cool. I've only tried aluminum foil, and the results were okay, but I'll be picking up paper and the rubbing wax first chance I get.
We noticed a headstone that had been broken off but was still in the ground. There was no inscription that we could see. Ms. Richardson brought a probe and a trowel. She's also not opposed to getting a little dirt under her fingernails. She probed and dug hoping to find the rest of the headstone either in front of or behind what was left. She also brought two shovels. Mr. Park drove back to her car and picked them up. He and Mr. Hintson assisted Ms. Richardson. Unfortunately though, no remains of the headstone were found other than a few pieces which had flaked off.
Having found whatever information the two headstones had to offer, we spent a little time walking around and checking the headstones found with the list that Mr. and Mrs. Hintson had come up with. Bradshaw Cemetery is a pretty little cemetery with cedars and Spanish moss, and the day was gorgeous. We probably could have spent more time there, but it was time to take our stuff to the truck and head out.
When we drove off, I was thinking we were going back to where we were parked. I was delighted when we pulled up in front of the Bradshaw Place instead. It's thought the house was build back in the 1830's at some point. It's a dog trot. There have been changes made over time, but it's still in good shape, and even still has wooden gutters. The Hintsons let us come in and see the place. It's very neat! After getting something to drink, we all went out front and the Hintsons locked up. I know folks don't usually like to have their picture taken, but I really wanted a group photo. It was a great afternoon spent with four special people.
From left to right are Mr. Howard Park, Mr. Charles Hintson, Mrs. Cecille Hintson, and Ms. Kim Richardson.
I don't profess to be a writer or a photographer. I just hope to keep track of the places I've been, the folks I've met, and the things I've seen. Graving may be different things to different people, but to me it's never dull or boring and often very gratifying.
I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Hintson for allowing me on their property again and for being so kind. They're a pleasure to be around.
Mark Blasingame, "Back to Bradshaw Cemetery," blog post, A Grave Affair (http://agraveaffair.blogspot.com/ : posted 18 February 2017).