Thursday, April 2, 2009

Romance, Arkansas

A favorite pasttime of mine, as you might have guessed, is visiting cemeteries. While visiting cemeteries close to home can be fun and rewarding, the real challenge is in seeking out and finding cemeteries in another state or in an area that you are not familiar with. Mike and I have traipsed from the Carolinas to Georgia and across to Tennessee and Arkansas in the past several years in search of burial grounds of our ancestors.

On the way home from a family reunion a couple of years, we detoured through to Romance, Arkansas in search of some McKay family members who were buried there. Mike's great-great grandmother was Talitha McKay Mills. In the 1880s several McKay families left Itawamba County and headed west, crossing the Mississippi River by ferry boat at Helena, Arkansas, and working at farms along the way. Talitha's parents and brothers were among those that left Itawamba and eventually wound up in Love County, Oklahoma. Talitha's uncle, John Archie McKay, made it as far as Romance in White County, Arkansas, where he and his sons settled.

The Romance Cemetery can be seen in the distance. Although the
cemetery is fairly large, there is not much left to the town of Romance today.

John Archie McKay died about 1920 and was buried in Romance Cemetery, his grave marked with a field stone. His wife Belinda was buried there as well, her grave marked with a white cross-shaped rock that was hauled up by wagon from the creek that runs behind the cemetery. Other McKays are buried in the cemetery as well, with conventional markers.

John McKay and Belinda Conner were married in Itawamba County in February 1870. Belinda was the daughter of William and Martha Conner whose family is found living at Ryans Well in the 1860 census. Both John and Belinda had previous marriages, John to Margaret Montgomery and Belinda to Elias M. Lynn.

Belinda Conner McKay's gravemarker

Romance Cemetery sign - note name of Harvey McKay on sign!

You never know where you will find an Itawamba connection! There were quite a few in Romance, Arkansas.

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