Cemetery holds fund raiser

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 31, 1999

Thousands of Natchez stories lay buried deep beneath the ground of the Historic Natchez City Cemetery.

This weekend, those stories came to life in the colorful interpretation of cemetery superintendent, Don Estes.

There is the story of the Chinaman who loved to gamble so much he engraved his tombstone with dice and a hand of poker cards.

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The hand of cards is the unbeatable royal flush in spades and the dice equal seven/11.

Unluckily enough, he died on 7/11, Estes said.

The cemetery gave tours this weekend in honor of All Saints’ weekend.

This is the second annual cemetery fund raiser sponsored by the Friends of the Cemetery.

&uot;This is a beautiful cemetery and we are trying to get it back to its former state,&uot; Estes said.

Bee Byrnes and Sarah Tillman assisted with the tours.

All types of people are buried in the Natchez Cemetery, including four Confederate generals and many Natchez residents.

The founders of the First Baptist Church of Natchez and Catholic leaders are among those buried there.

&uot;There are only four bishops buried in the state of Mississippi and two of them are buried here,&uot; Estes said.

As Estes took a tour group around the cemetery Saturday stories of sickness and lost love unfolded one after another.

One woman, Charlotte Stewart, gave birth to six children. All of them died, until she finally died during childbirth in 1837.

&uot;It’s very interesting to note this lady died in child birth and her baby is (buried) in her arms,&uot; Estes said.

Near a section of the cemetery called colored ground, Estes pointed out the grave of Robert Smith, a free man of color who died in 1858.

Cemetery workers found Smith’s gravestone last winter buried under the grass.

&uot;It was quite a find, to find that man’s grave,&uot;&160;Estes said.