It had become a sad little cemetery over the decades. Many of the markers were broken and had become discolored. The iron fences around the family plots were bent and broken.
“Many of the limbs have fallen over the years and have broken quite a few of the stones sometimes in pieces," said Mississippi Stone Guild proprietor Michael Davidson. "People landscaping the grounds have kicked those pieces so it’s really a big puzzle trying to find them and put them back together.”
Michael lives in Eupora and is a master stonemason. He got his training in Scotland and works all over the world. But for a few weeks now he and his assistant, Thomas Torres, have been picking up the pieces of the headstones and putting them back together and cleaning off the accumulated decades from them at the Chapel of the Cross.
Bill Buhner, co-chair of the cemetery guild at the chapel, says it was just time to do this. But there was a little more reason to it than that.
“Well that was part of it. And also we ended up on the Madison County Garden Tour,’ said Buhner.
That’s how our house gets cleaned up. Let company be coming over. But what a job they’ve done. Stones that were broken over the generations have come back together.
This one, for instance, lay with its back in the ground for decades. Seeing what was carved there is like the dark side of the moon for folks living now. They’ve never seen it before.
“Since we have done this, one of the parishioners remarked that this is now a happy cemetery because you can read it," added Buhner. "These are monuments and for people to be memorialized, you have to be able to read what is on those headstones. You could not read them before. You can read them now.”
Sounds odd, maybe, a happy cemetery. But you’d have to be there and now be able to read the names and the epitaphs and the cryptic remarks like Annie Devlin saying in Latin on her tombstone, “Leave Me Alone” to passers-by.
Uncover the lore and feel the spirit of the place coming alive again around you.