Family enjoys work at cemetery

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 12, 2000

Dr. James T. Coy III married into a Natchez family that emphasized the importance of family history.

That interest was passed along to Coy, who has spent hours cleaning up his family’s plots in the Natchez City Cemetery.

&uot;My mother had a saying,&uot; Dr. Coy said. &uot;If you remember the people that have gone before you, they never really die.&uot;

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And before he married his wife Ruth Audley Britton Coy, her since deceased grandmother Ruth Audley Wheeler Beltzhoover, of Greenleaves Antebellum House, instilled her emphasis on the cemetery to Coy.

&uot;When I was dating Ruthie and when I married Ruthie, she would always bring us to the cemetery,&uot; Dr. Coy said.

Grandmother used to come out to the cemetery because she enjoyed to watch the sunset over the Mississippi River, Ruthie Coy said.

Her grandmother would always tell the stories of the family buried in the cemetery.

&uot;(The work) is easy to do, when you remember those stories,&uot; Dr. Coy said.

Over the past years, Dr. Coy has helped to clean headstones and repair fences at the Gustine Lot, the Richard Ellis Conner Lot, the William Carmichael Conner Lot, the Koontz Lot and the Wheeler Lot.

He also has worked at the Routh Cemetery across from Dunleith Antebellum House, on Homochitto Street.

Coy said he was inspired to volunteer because of Cemetery Superintendent Don Estes and other groups that have worked to maintain the cemeteries.

His work is also a way of paying homage to the family ancestors.

&uot;To me that’s what it’s all about,&uot; Coy said.

Don Estes said Dr. Coy has been a big help since repair work is always needed at the cemetery.

&uot;I was just doing it for fun and Donald Estes went berserk, he was so happy,&uot; Dr. Coy said.

Now, Coy would like to pass his emphasis on family history to his children, including his son James T.&160;Coy IV and his grandson, Joseph Daniel Jones Coy.

&uot;If you bring your children along with that philosophy and thought, it’s going to carry on,&uot; he said.