April 19 '08
Volume 620

Graveyard Tour Liberty Hill Cemetery

My Great Grandparents Lie HereAfter the recognition ceremony at the Museum for my cousin, Shannon Carter, those interested in locating the cemetery in Lafayette County, Mississippi where several of our Carter ancestors are buried loaded into two vehicles for the expedition. I was concerned that some of the gravel roads might have softened and become difficult to navigate because of recent heavy rainfall and had asked Neal Huskison if he would transport some of us in his extended cab pickup.

It would have made more sense for Neal to have returned home with his wife and then bring his truck back to the Museum, but neither of us thought of it until Virginia had left the premises. So, I drove Neal to his house, parked my car there, and we returned in his truck.

The interim provided Brenda the opportunity to photograph her father standing adjacent to the sign in front of the museum. Brenda explained the logo on the sign depicts a picture of her late grandfather and one-time postmaster, Cary Conlee, delivering the mail. Brenda’s mother, Ladine Conlee Carter, was Shannon’s high school sweetheart and his wife of fifty years before she died in 1994.

As a footnote to last week’s article, Shannon’s Plaque, Brenda recently shared the following:

"Although he started Carter Wood Products in Starkville, Ms., Shannon's business success was as co-founder and VP Production of Howard Furniture Manufacturing Company, which became famous for its oak, family room furniture. He was a partner in this corporation that also included Herschede Hall Clock Company, MotorGuide fishing motors, Rookwood Pottery, and Briarwood Lamp Co."

"His love was collecting antique tools, antique cars (His 1917 Overland won 100's of trophies), and turn of the century Americana, of which most was donated to the Pontotoc Historical Museum. He also donated much of his antique tool collection to Mississippi State University, and they are now displayed in the Forestry building."

"He was President of MOTAA, the Mid-America Old Time Automobile Association and the Mississippi Antique Car Club for years."

When Neal and I returned to the Museum, Mr. Dick Hagans, Brenda, and Shannon rode in the truck with us. Mrs. Doris Hagans, Jeannie, Cary, and Paige rode in a separate vehicle.

Armed with a couple of area maps I had printed "off the Internet," I was confident we could find Liberty Hill cemetery, even if Shannon’s memory of the area failed. It didn’t help that Neal and I chose to head toward the Lafayette Springs exit on Hwy 6, as Shannon most often had driven to the cemetery over various county roads from Thaxton. While I have no recollection of having been to Liberty Hill cemetery, I remember Dad driving to Lafayette Springs from my Granddad’s place near Thaxton, but the drive is all I remember.

According to my maps, we were to drive straight through Lafayette Springs until intersecting with CR-214 where we would turn left then take the first right. That would have us on Liberty Hill Road, and finding the cemetery from that point would be a piece of cake.

From the backseat of the pickup, I had less than a navigator’s ideal view of the roadway. That may explain how I missed the first critical intersection, CR-214. It also didn’t help that the maps I had printed did not have a legend, so it was difficult to tell how far it was from point A to point B.

"We should have come to an intersection, by now," I relayed. "How far do you think we’ve driven since Lafayette Springs, Neal?"

"I don’t know; at least three or four miles," Neal responded.

"I haven’t ever been here," Shannon stated, and as we had unwittingly missed our first turn he was probably right.

We traveled another couple of miles and located a sign indicating a turn toward Liberty Hill. We drove along that road until we found another Liberty Hill sign directing us to turn left. It seemed like we were driving in a circle, and we were. When the pavement became gravel, I was glad to be in the pickup. Finally, we were on the right road and soon found the Golden Fleece we so desperately sought.

Aptly named, Liberty Hill, at least for the hill part, the cemetery is situated on a hill behind the church of the same name. A rustic fence surrounding the cemetery suffices to define its perimeter and probably keeps all but the smallest of forest critters and domesticated wanderers at bay.

A mixture of various types of tombstones and monuments mark the graves of the interred. Some have the modern, polished granite look, while others appear as if they were pulled from concrete molds. Small chunks of sandstone mark other graves but provide no clues as to the habitants.

It was soon evident Shannon had been to this cemetery many times before. After locating his grandparent’s graves, he told Neal, "There are more family graves right over here," and whirled around and walked straight to those of his great grandparents.

Tombstone of My Great Great GrandmotherThe earliest known of my verifiable Carter ancestors lies buried at Liberty Hill cemetery. The most ardent genealogist in our family, Ada Carter Guthrie, was unable to find documents to track our Carter lineage prior to that of Richard Berkley Carter 1824 – 1904. Yet, because Richard Berkley married Mary Jane Ferrell, Ada was able to trace our family ancestry back to a soldier in the American Revolution via my great-great grandmother’s family.

The grave of Mary Jane Ferrell Carter is near but not side-adjacent to her husband’s grave. Of the three in alignment as pictured here, Mary is first, husband Richard’s is second, and their son Frank’s is the third. (Additional photographs can be viewed at http://rrnews.org/photos)

In addition to the graves of my ancestors, I was intrigued by several crypts near the back of the cemetery that consisted of slabs of red sandstones stacked horizontally (roughly six feet by three feet) and to a height of approximately thirty-six inches. Two of the six crypts appear to be that of children, due to their horizontal shortness. The crypts lie among a group of cedars that appear much younger than the graves they overshadow.

Crypt Shot By Jeannie Jeannie’s daughter Cary and Cary’s friend Paige Livengood, found a couple of tombstones marking the graves of Confederate soldiers and made a tracing of each, something their teacher had suggested as a project.

As best I recall, six of my relatives and/or direct ancestors are buried at Liberty Hill. I don’t know where the earliest of them lived at their respective "time of death," but even a few miles away would have challenged family members to trek to this remote area in the days of horse powered transportation. In addition to my great, great grandparents, two of their sons, Richard Frank and Berkley Dekalb are buried at Liberty Hill, as is my great grandmother, Rebecca Caroline Hewlette, wife of Berkley Dekalb Carter. One of my grandfather’s sisters, Sarah Lou Carter (never married) is also interred there.

After spending an hour or so in the cemetery, I came to an appreciation of the location that I had not expected.

Apart from the gentle sounds of nature, the countryside was quiet and serene, and I imagined if the dead there could have spoken they would have said, "We love it here."

Since the seventies, I’ve asked my family not to bury me when my time on this earth is over. Since our bodies will one day return to dust, I’d prefer my remains be fast-tracked by means of cremation.

"Scatter my ashes, if you want to, over a favorite fishing lake or in the Circle." I’ve told them, "or put them in an urn on your mantle."

I’m not concerned about what’s done with my ashes, but if my children honor my cremation request and can’t decide what to do with "me," I’m going on record as stating I’d be happy to wait for the rapture atop Liberty Hill.

As my cousin, Brenda Fallon, noted, "Liberty Hill is a perfect setting to rest in peace. 

To be continued…  

Missing Geographics Four And Counting

My dad used to get so exasperated trying to find a book, tool, or other object he had misplaced. At least, Mom allowed he’d misplaced it. Dad said somebody moved it. Mom figured that "somebody" was probably Dad, and he had simply forgotten where he’d put it. Her explanation got her off the hook, but it did little to assuage Dad’s frustration.

They say we become our parents. I think a more accurate statement would be that as we grow older, we find astonishing similarities between our lives and what we remember of our parents’ lives.

Recently, I’ve been frustrated in my efforts to find all the issues of my National Geographic magazines for the years 2002 and 2006. In the fifty-one years I’ve been a subscriber, I’ve never tossed a single issue in the trash, but a few issues were lost from my collection when we lived on 8th Street, or else that’s when I discovered some were missing as I began to purchase slipcases and organize storage of the magazines. I still don’t have slipcases for all years, but I’m working toward that end, moving from most recent years to the earliest.

I’m reasonably sure the two issues missing from 2006 and the two missing from 2002 are in my house. However, I can’t find them. I’ve searched closets, desks, cabinets, bookcases, bureaus, nightstands, all to no avail. While the search is yet in vain, it’s not been a waste of time. I’ve discovered lots of stuff I don’t need. If only I can devote some time to "cleaning out" before outside chores take priority, I may actually find the missing issues.

Lost Sunglasses Gone Without A Trace

What’s it been, three years or two that I’ve had these new eye glasses, the ones with the narrow lens that are considered stylish? Oh, they have their good points, such as being lightweight and…and that’s about it. On the negative side, I have to tilt my head up and down a lot more when reading, driving, walking, or doing most anything requiring vision. I can’t say I wasn’t warned. Dr. Wood told me they’d require some getting used to, and he was right. I’m still getting used to them. (Hey, I thought of another good thing about my glasses. With all the head-nodding I have to do, while wearing them, folks think I’m being agreeable.)

If I ever go back to singing in the choir I’ll need a new pair, as reading the music and keeping an eye on the director would necessitate holding the music at eye level with my current pair.

Right after making my latest purchase in eyewear, I bought a pair of clip-on sunglasses for narrow-framed glasses. They didn’t fit as well as I’d hoped and were actually a little too narrow for my needs. Shopping on the Internet does have its drawbacks as opposed to talking to a sales clerk. Their best feature was glare-reduction by polarization of light, which is best appreciated when driving in sunshine.

When I traveled to Atlanta a few weeks ago for my boss’s appreciation luncheon, I wore the clip-ons. I remember taking them off, getting out of my car, and checking into the motel. I did not reenter my car until the next morning. I did not need the clip-ons, as I drove in a northerly direction to the office only five minutes away from the motel. However, as I got in my car after lunch to drive back to Pontotoc, I could not find them.

I have sometimes left the sunglasses on the passenger’s seat, but most often drop them in the cup-holder on the console or in a foam beverage insulator that I keep in an organizer on the transmission hump between the front seats. Unable to locate my sunglasses in any of the usual places, I got out of the car and looked under both front seats and every crevice into which I suspected they might have fallen.

I fretted over the misplaced or lost sunglasses most of the way back to Pontotoc, wondering what had become of them and squinting more than usual as the sun sank lower in the sky. Back in Pontotoc, I enlisted my wife’s help to look for my sunglasses, but she had no more success than I did.

That weekend, I pulled an old trick out of the hat. I bought another pair, a pair that fit my frames better than the old pair. Normally, such an action would cause the lost item to surface within a day or two of the transaction. It’s been more than a month, and the missing pair is still missing. Who’d a’ thought it?

Bodock Beau Good Clean Humor

We received the following in an email from Ken Gaillard titled "Clean Jokes Can Be Funny."

One day, a man came home and was greeted by his wife dressed in a very sexy nightie. "Tie me up,'" she purred, "and you can do anything you want."

So he tied her up and went golfing.


A woman came home, screeching her car into the driveway, and ran into the house.

She slammed the door and shouted at the top of her lungs, "Honey, pack your bags. I won the lottery!"

The husband said, "Oh my God! What should I pack, beach stuff or mountain stuff?"

"Doesn't matter,'" she said. "Just get out."


A Polish immigrant went to the DMV to apply for a driver's license. First, of course, he had to take an eye sight test. The optician showed him a card with the letters:


"Can you read this?" the optician asked.

"Read it?" the Polish guy replied, "I know the guy."


Fifty-one years ago, Herman James, a North Carolina mountain man, was drafted by the Army.

On his first day in basic training, the Army issued him a comb. That afternoon the Army barber sheared off all his hair.

On his second day, the Army issued Herman a toothbrush. That afternoon the Army dentist yanked seven of his teeth.

On the third day, the Army issued him a jock strap. The Army has been looking for Herman for 51 years.


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