Stories of the South - Odd Fellows Cemetery

I have several cemeteries that I want to feature and this is the first.  I hope you won't find these posts morbid, but as a southerner cemeteries are just a part of our heritage.  Myself and many others grew up going to Memorial in May, laying flowers on graves, and then going to someone's house to talk, catch up, and tell stories about those that had passed on.  (Oh, and there was food, oh my goodness so much food!)  Much of Southern history, family and otherwise, is oral.  I have learned so much about my ancestors walking through our family cemeteries laying flowers and hearing the life stories of those that we were honoring.  Some had tragic lives, others happy, but I got to hear it all carring a cardboard coke flat of flowers at Memorial. 

I don't go to Memorial much anymore.  Life is faster, I live farther away, and with a little one, it makes everything harder.  I should make the time though, because the stories your hear and things you learn are priceless. 



Macon’s largest and most well known cemetery is Odd Fellows Cemetery.  Ten acres was purchased in the 1850’s by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and has been in use since 1854 when the first soul was laid to rest there.

Macon and Noxubee County was a bustling, prosperous community during the 1850’s and up until the Civil War.  Mississippi was the second state to succeed from the union in January of 1861 and Noxubee County alone raised seven companies for the Confederate army and cavalry.  While Macon was never the location of any battles, it is still home to a Civil War Cemetery.
Odd Fellows Civil War Marker


Odd Fellows Civil War Cemetery Macon, MS


Odd Fellows Civil War Cemetery Macon, MS

Odd Fellows Civil War Cemetery Macon, MS


Odd Fellows Civil War Cemetery Macon, MS

Odd Fellows Civil War Cemetery Macon, MS

Following the Battle of Shiloh April 6-7, 1862, the injured and wounded were loaded on trains and sent to surrounding communities for care.  For a battle which lasted only two days, there were nearly 24,000 dead, wounded, or missing and there were just not enough facilities to care for everyone.   Shiloh is not far from Macon just north of Corinth, a little over a 160 miles,  so many of those wounded men ended up in Macon, Brooksville,  Shuqualak, and other towns along the railroad lines.  The communities opened their churches, schools, and homes to the wounded setting up temporary hospitals to treat the wounded. 


Macon alone buried over 500 soldiers at Odd Fellows Cemetery, both Federal and Confederate.  The graves were marked with wooden crosses, but by the early 1900’s these had rotted away.  The names were lost to time and later the graves were marked with stones simply saying unknown US soldier or unknown Confederate soldier.  Recently the identities of 242 of the Confederate soldiers have been found and a monument was erected in 2008 by the Daughters of the Confederacy to honor and list them by name.

Wandering through the cemetery it is easy to see the evidence of wealth and prosperity the community has enjoyed through the years.  Several large and beautiful monuments can be seen including these two ladies. 

Odd Fellows Cemetery Monument Macon, MS

Odd Fellows Cemetery Monument Macon, MS

Odd Fellows Cemetery Monument Macon, MS

Odd Fellows Cemetery Monument Macon, MS

Odd Fellows Cemetery Monument Macon, MS

Odd Fellows Cemetery Monument Macon, MS


There are also the draped urns of late 1800’s and early 1900’s as well as beautiful wrought iron work enclosing family plots. 


Odd Fellows Cemetery Macon, MS


Odd Fellows Cemetery Macon, MS


Odd Fellows Cemetery Macon, MS


The old and the new stand side by side on top of this hill, and hopefully will for another 159 years.      

 Sources: 
http://noxubeecountyms.com/quality-of-life-noxubee-mississipp/history-noxubee-county/
http://www.cityofmacon.org/html/historiccity.html

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this information. I had been looking for the burial place of Thomas H. H. Nearn after not finding him on the Shiloh casualty list. Since the record I did find said he "died" not "he was killed", I thought maybe the wounded were moved other places. Your story let me know that Mr. Nearn survived the Battle of Shiloh only to died later in Macon and be buried in one of the unknown soldiers' graves. Thanks again.

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    1. You are very welcome! I am so happy to have helped!

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