The Dart: History buff finds cemetery

Published 1:12 am Monday, December 22, 2008

NATCHEZ — When The Dart Landed on Natchez City Cemetery, David McKee was soaking up all the history the burial grounds had to offer.

McKee, from Ocean Springs, was in Natchez on Saturday afternoon for his son’s basketball game.

To pass some time, McKee was visiting the cemetery and seeking out its oldest plots.

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“There’s so much history here,” McKee said. “It’s hard to find other places like this that have this kind of history.”

On Saturday, McKee had discovered the graves of long-gone Confederate Soldiers and even some headstones with dates as far back as he 1700s.

McKee also said he was surprised to see so many headstones from places like Ireland and England.

“It is kind of an odd place to visit,” he said. “But there’s just so much here to see. It’s so unique, we really don’t have anything like this on the coast.”

McKee’s reference is to the Gulf Coast.

And he said the coast lost many of its historic properties after Hurricane Katrina.

“That was a terrible loss,” he said.

McKee’s affinity for the historic isn’t limited to just cemeteries either.

When McKee talks about the old buildings, and cemeteries, of Natchez and other cities, he’s quick to point out he’s not an architecture or history aficionado — he just has a deep appreciation for the way things were once made.

“A lot of people don’t realize the way things used to be built,” he said. “And it’s not something a lot of people even think about.”

That’s why when McKee is in a new area he makes a point to drive through its historic district.

“It’s nice to just be able to drive around and look at the older houses,” he said. “Some places don’t have any thing like that for people to see.”

And McKee’s Gulf Coast home is becoming one of those areas.

Since Katrina many of the older homes in the area have been replaced with more modern new homes or condos.

And while McKee won’t lose any sleep over it, it does give him some cause for concern.

“There’s going to be a generation of people who will never have a chance to see how things used to be,” he said. “They won’t even know.”