Sunday, June 20, 2010

Poplar Springs Cemetery

"Vague road"

"Abandoned cemetery"

Rupert* and I made a good attempt at finding the grave of William Reid in the Poplar Springs Cemetery in Pontotoc County. The directions found at the Pontotoc County Rootsweb site were good, and I even found the "vague road" that the cemetery is located along, but they weren't kidding when the cemetery was described as abandoned. I could see the chain link fence, or part of it, that surrounds the cemetery, but no headstones could be seen. Of course, I didn't get too close because of the possibility of snakes. Rupert and I walked about 1/2 mile to get to the cemetery, down the "vague road", and the thought of snakes never left my mind. By the time we got back to the car, we both were panting and had a tick or two, but no encounter with a snake.

William Reid was the father of Joseph Reid, grandfather of Harriet Reid Bowen (wife of William Elisha Bowen and daughter-in-law of Jimmy Dee Bowen, see previous day's post), great-grandfather of Amanda Bowen Johnson, and great-great grandfather of Fisher Johnson of Itawamba County. I think that will help most of you with his identification. William fought in the War of 1812; his pension application filed in Pontotoc Chancery Court in 1871, indicates that he served as a guard "first at Headwells Point Then at Bulls Island Then at Charleston Thence Saints Johns Island" and that he was discharged March 20, 1815. The application further states that upon his return from war, William married Martha Perry on January 13, 1818. Sometime around 1844, William and Martha moved from South Carolina to Mississippi, along with their only son, Joseph Reid, and his wife, Philadelphia Littlejohn Reid. Joseph and Delphia's daughter, Harriet, married William Elisha Bowen.

Poplar Springs is located just under the Union County line, in Pontotoc County, and it once was a thriving little community with a post office and at least one church. The Bowens and Reids attended the Poplar Springs [Primitive] Baptist Church up until July 26, 1873 when they asked to be dismissed from the roll to "arganise" at the "Bush Arbor." Although I don't know for certain, I believe they were organizing a Methodist church just down the road which was named Bethel Methodist Church. Church historians indicate that Bethel was organized in the early 1870s.

William Reid's grandson-in-law, William Elisha Bowen, was described as a "strict moralist Methodist" by his daughters. Amanda Bowen Johnson, his oldest daughter, was quoted as saying, "Poppy broke every bite of bread we children ate." He started out in the Primitive Baptist faith, however, as the minutes for the Poplar Springs church for its August 1872 session indicate that "Brother W. E. Bowen Reported him self for uncristian (sic) conduct onthe Saboth." Brother Bowen's name was later included on the list of members who asked for "dismision" to organize at the Brush Arbor.

As for the Poplar Springs Cemetery, it is hard to believe that it is abandoned and grown up since over 60 people are buried there, including many Caldwells, Browns, and Leathers. What a shame. I would be willing to help clear the cemetery off when the snakes quit crawling.

* Rupert is our dog, a Wheaten Terrier mix called wheatable (wheaten terrier mixed with any other breed). Cousin Don Dulaney couldn't make this cemetery visit since he was off researching in Lincoln County, Tennessee.

1 comment:

Lori said...

How sad! I can't believe the township doesn't take care of this cemetery. I have seen even the smallest of cemeteries around here with the grass and weeds cut around them. This is tragic.