The Natchez City Cemetery was established in 1822 and covers approximately 100 acres of ground. Although established in 1822 there are numerous grave markers with dates from as early as the late 1700’s adding testament to the fact that remains were moved to the new cemetery from church yards, outlaying plantations and from the old cemetery which was located on a hill where Memorial Park and St. Mary’s Cathedral are now located in the downtown area.
It is without a doubt one of the more beautiful and well-kept cemeteries that I have visited with ornate iron fences surrounding some of the graves, beautiful marble monuments and detailed iron benches and mausoleum doors that show the wealth of some of its earliest residents.
It is also a very haunted cemetery with many tales of ghostly lights being seen moving about the cemetery at night, footsteps being heard and sightings of people who simply seem to vanish into thin air; I myself witnessed an iron gate open and close on its own and heard the footsteps of an unseen person walk right past where I was sitting. It is a very interesting place to explore with a lot of interesting stories about some of the people entombed there.
One of my favorite stories is that of Florence Irene Ford which I covered in my book the Haunted Natchez Trace. Florence was a sweet little 10 year old girl who was deathly afraid of thunderstorms when she passed away in 1871 after contracting Yellow Fever. When storms would roll in she would rush to her mother’s side where she would be comforted and feel safe until the storms passed. When she died Florence’s mother was understandably devastated and she had her coffin built with a glass end where Florence’s head was at and a pit dug and lined with brick at the end of the grave. A heavy iron door covered the steps down into the pit and when a storm would roll in Florence’s mother would go down into the pit and sit with her beloved daughter until it had passed. Due to vandalism the area where the glass was at was eventually bricked up but the pit still remains much the same as it was when Mrs. Ford would climb down to comfort her daughter in the grave. It’s said that after a thunderstorm you can still find the iron door laid open as if someone had come up from out of the pit; perhaps Florence’s mother is still providing comfort to her even after all these years.
The Natchez City Cemetery is located on Cemetery Road and is open from 7:00 am until dusk and should you find yourself in the Natchez area be sure and stop for a visit; I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed by the beauty or the history.