Tourists take a trip through city cemetery

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 26, 2001

Buddy and Linda Hawkins’ tour of Natchez included the usual sights: the antebellum houses and Confederate Pageant of the Spring Pilgrimage, antique stores and the like. But on Sunday, it also included a more unconventional stop – the Natchez City Cemetery.

Besides taking in the beauty and reading the history of the tombstones, they were also looking at the ornate wrought-iron fences that surrounded many of the cemetery’s plots.

Linda Hawkins explained that next to the couple’s Bentonville, Ark., home sits a family cemetery dating back to the early 1800s.

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And her husband suggested they stop by the cemetery to get an idea of what type of iron fence they would like to have made to erect around their property’s cemetery. &uot;We have an ironworks near our house where we could have it made,&uot;&160;Buddy Hawkins said, checking out an iron fence surrounding a plot on the cemetery’s Catholic Hill.

Accompanying the Linda and Buddy Hawkins on their trip to Natchez were their grandson, Wesley Hawkins, and Linda’s best friend, Gail Brewer. Linda Hawkins said she first learned of Natchez’s Pilgrimage attractions more than 10 years ago through one of the customers at the beauty shop she operates.

&uot;I like going into the (antebellum) houses,&uot;&160;Wesley Hawkins said before taking off to read more tombstones.

&uot;You’d think it would be hard to get a 10-year-old boy interested in that type of thing, but he loves it,&uot; Linda Hawkins said.

For her, the antebellum houses and the antiques they contain were the highlights of the trip. &uot;And the atmosphere of Natchez,&uot; she said. &uot;The people here are just so friendly.&uot;

This is not the first Natchez trip for Linda Hawkins. She first came to Spring Pilgrimage in 1990 and came back in 1992 – but she and her friends arrived too late that year to tour the antebellum houses.

&uot;So we’ve been here three times, but this is only the second time we’ve been able to see the houses,&uot;&160;Linda Hawkins said.