Natchez City Cemetery is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the South. Behind each monument, beneath each grave site, is a story of a life marked by tragedy and mystery. Love and devotion. This is the story of some its most fascinating occupants.
This is the second of four episodes in The Mysteries, Myths and Legends of Natchez, Mississippi series.
The Natchez City Cemetery is consistently listed as one of the most popular places to see when you visit Natchez. Not everyone considers a cemetery to be a peaceful and calming place but once you drive up Cemetery Road and enter the main gate of Natchez City Cemetery, you may find yourself overcome by the beauty of this place.
Keith Eggener, is an associate professor of American art and architecture at the University of Missouri. In an interview with The Atlantic, Eggener shared his experience with historic cemeteries:
“you leave behind the mercantile world outside the gates and enter into the space where you can meditate, where you can come into contact with spirituality and concentrate. The great rural cemeteries were built at a time when there weren’t public parks, or art museums, or botanical gardens in American cities. You suddenly had large pieces of ground, filled with beautiful sculptures and art.”
Eggener words speak to how I’ve felt every time I’ve wandered the grounds of Natchez City Cemetery. Elaborate monuments and tombstones include works by gifted marble workers, Edwin Lyon and Robert Rawes. And the landscape is stunning. the cemetery has been described as a horticultural delight with roses, camellias, azaleas, and crepe myrtles throughout, along with cedars and live oaks covered in Spanish Moss. A beautiful and peaceful place of reflection.
That’s part of what draws so many people to Natchez City Cemetery. You walk the grounds where the dead are at rest and find yourself reflecting on your own life.
Listen to this episode, to learn stories of some of the cemetery’s most fascinating occupants.
Natchez City Cemetery Website
Special thanks to Anna James of Natchez City Cemetery for her help with research material for this episode
Visit Natchez for Info on Angels on the Bluff and more annual events
Legends of Natchez City Cemetery by Natchez historian, Don Estes
Our First Public Parks: The Forgotten History of Cemeteries. The Atlantic. 16 March 2011
The Haunting of Mississippi. Barbara Sillery
Florence Irene Ford. Natchez, Mississippi
Haunted Natchez. Country Roads Magazine. 1 September 2014
Theme Song: “Dark & Troubled” by Panthernburn Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use
“Laid Back Guitars”, “Ghost Processional (Alternate)” “Dark Times”, and “Evening Fall Harp” by Kevin MacLeod Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license