Rodney Presbyterian Church - - Jackson, MS

Rodney Presbyterian Church

By Walt Grayson - bio | email

Rodney was once a growing river port about half way between Vicksburg and Natchez. The Rodney Presbyterian Church is a wilderness destination for the adventurous nowadays. Several things stunted the growth of the town. Bouts with yellow fever, the War Between the States, that left a cannon ball lodged in the front of the church, the Mississippi River changing course westward about two miles, and the rail road going to the east of town through Fayette. The population dwindled to the point there are just a hand full of people living in Rodney today. But for a place that for all practical purposes is a ghost town, it's dripping with history. For instance, Zachary Taylor owned a plantation nearby and is said to have been walking the streets of Rodney when he was informed he had been elected President of the United States.

But the permanent population of the town resides up there on the bluff behind the Presbyterian Church in the Rodney Cemetery. It's an exhausting hike up the path from the river plane below to climb up to the cemetery. And although this used to be a garden spot more or less; check out the photographs of the place Eudora Welty snapped in the 1940s, it is overgrown and neglected today. And cold on a raw winter day with an arctic front moving in and nothing to block the wind on top of that bluff.

What prompted my visit was an email I got a while back with a photograph of some of the gates in the fences around family plots in the Rodney Cemetery. Graceful art work. Only problem, the photo was a part of a missing flier, asking if anyone knew where a couple of the gates were that had been stolen from Rodney. And in my visit, I discovered that the thieves who took those two gates evidently were fairly thorough. I saw no gates left on any of the fences anywhere in the cemetery that I could get to. I assume they're all gone.

How sad. Not so much that they've been stolen, but that there are people out there who evidently feel that it's okay to do a thing like that in the first place.

Old cemeteries like the one at Rodney that are remote are not forgotten. And families still go there to visit their departed relatives. Even though they may be generations removed from them. And it's sad to them to see that snakes that sliver on the ground aren't the only kind who have stolen into their cemetery.

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