By Daniel Brunty
The Winston County Journal
Many who are not familiar with the Winston County would not know of how it relishes in its traditions and its history of not forgetting
That is why it is a mystery that some of the county’s most historic cemeteries are not receiving routine upkeep. These sacred grounds are what maintains the connection of the memories of the past, as well as beacons to lead us into the future.
These three cemeteries – Anderson Cemetery, Lovorn Cemetery, and Good Hope Cemetery – have many graves that are unmarked, and some are marked but are not properly listed in the cemetery records. During most summers, most graves cannot be seen because of the tall grass and other obstructions.
Many descendants of those in these cemeteries have volunteered their time and funds to try to help with some of the upkeep. However, with no specific method of doing this, upkeep is done sporadically at best.
Vincent Bragg, a resident of Pearl, is a descendant of Beckie McDonald who is buried in Lovorn Cemetery located on private property on East Winston Road. Bragg is one of the people who would like to see the cemeteries receive the upkeep he says they deserve.
“A cousin of mine who lives in Houston visited the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research and he happened to come across this document of the permanent residents of Lovorn Cemetery in 1959,” Bragg said. “I can tell you now this list has both blacks and whites who are buried there and some are family members, but this list doesn’t come close to the estimate I think of how many unmarked graves I came across and tripped in during all my visits. There are also graves with headstones that were easy to find that were left off the list. Now that I don’t understand.”
Bragg would come to find out that Beckie McDonald was his 5th great grandmother. He located her grave on his last visit to the cemetery. “Her name is Beckie McDonald,” Bragg said. “Its spelled McDarnell on her headstone.”
Bragg also located another member of his family while at the cemetery. “Her daughter, my 4th great grandmother, Rebecca McDonald-Stewart is buried right next to her,” Bragg said. “But do you want to know what was strange; on my first visit to Lovorn Cemetery in 2010 I found my 4th great grandma Rebecca Stewart’s grave. I’ve been to that spot many times but it was always in the summer and in that season it gets very thick in there. I never had an inkling that there was another grave right next to 4th great grandma Rebecca, and her grave wasn’t even sunk in.”
Bragg recently relocated from Iowa to Pearl to attend the University of Southern Miss, where he is majoring in Library & Information Science. “After I get my undergrad degree I plan on obtaining my Master Degree in Archival Studies, or Archival Science and I look forward to becoming Genealogical Librarian or a Digital Archivist,” Bragg said.
Bragg’s goal is to draw enough interest about these cemeteries to the point where historians, descendants and whoever else can will volunteer and help clean them up. An example of one of the Winston County cemeteries that is receiving upkeep now is Golden Cemetery. It is filled with a participant of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, as well as the Civil War. A fence has been built around it, and it can only be accessed by permission. Bragg is looking for something similar for the three cemeteries mentioned.
The upkeep of these cemeteries is very important in maintaining links to the past. These links can help family members by allowing them to create family trees, learning about their ancestors, as well as having the possibility to help determine hereditary issues in a bloodline.
Bragg is asking if anyone is interested in helping to clean up and maintain these cemeteries, you may contact him at (563) 949-0977.