Copyright © Janice Tracy, Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Day Article in MSHerald

Yesterday, New Year's Day 2009, an article introducing The Graveyard Rabbit of Madison County to the Greater Jackson area appeared on the front page of the MCHerald, a section of the Clarion-Ledger devoted to news and events in Madison County, Mississippi. My special thanks go out to Lucy Weber, Staff Writer for the MCHerald, who wrote the very nice article that provided an overview of the Madison County blog as well as The Association of Graveyard Rabbits. The parent organization was founded by Terry Thornton, of Fulton, Mississippi, and his co-founder who writes under the name, footnoteMaven. A link to yesterday's article is provided below.

New Year's Day Article in MSHerald

Many thanks to Lucy Weber for the wonderful article she wrote about The Graveyard Rabbit of Madison County and The Association of Graveyard Rabbits published yesterday in the MCHerald. A special welcome goes out to those of you who visited the blog as a result of Lucy's New Year's Day article, and thanks to all of you who were already reading here. As Lucy mentioned in her article, I truly would like for this to be an interactive blog, with you allowing me to post your pictures and tell the stories of your ancestors who are buried in Madison County. The county has a rich cultural history that bears preserving, and I would like to help you share that history.

If you have pictures and stories about your ancestors that you would like to see posted here, please contact me at

I hope to hear from you.

Happy 2009!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Otho Robards Singleton, a Mississippi Statesman

Otho Robards Singleton's Grave Marker
In Canton Cemetery, Canton, MS
b. October 14, 1814; d. January 11, 1889

According to Wikipedia, Otho Robards Singleton was a native of Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky, one of six children born to Lewis Taylor Singleton and Rebecca Robards. Singleton graduated from Bardstown University and the University of Kentucky law department, and he was admitted to the bar in 1838. He moved to Mississippi, where he practiced law in Canton. Family biographical information shows that Singleton married his first wife, Martha A. Field, in Madison County, MS, on August 11, 1843. Otto and Martha Singleton had three children, Richard H., born May 9, 1844, Thomas T., born 1848, and Catherine F. ("Kate"), born 1851. Martha is believed to have died in 1851. On November 8, 1859, Otto Singleton married Eliza Y. Laughborough, a widow who was born circa 1827 in Tennessee.

Wikipedia further states that In 1846, Singleton was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives and served until 1847. Between 1848 and 1854, Singleton served in the Mississippi State Senate. He later represented Mississippi as a Democrat in the U. S. Congress from 1853 - 1855 and again from 1857 - 1861. In 1861, Singleton withdrew from the U. S. Congress and served as a representative to the Confederate Congress from 1861 - 1865, when he returned to Canton to continue his law practice. About ten years later, Singleton was re-elected to the U. S. Congress, where he served six terms from March 4, 1875 until March 3, 1887. Singleton died almost two years later in Washington, D. C. on January 11, 1889, and the former Congressman's body was brought home to Mississippi, where he was buried in Canton Cemetery.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Miss Eugenia Davis's Unusual Grave Marker

Mount Bluff Cemetery is located in a beautiful wooded glen, with trees that are covered with hanging moss so typical of parts of Mississippi. This old cemetery is tucked away in a northwest corner of Madison County, a part that was originally located in Yazoo County, near the town of Flora. The old Balfour family cemetery that dates to the early 1800's is a portion of this larger cemetery area.

Within Mount Bluff cemetery are a number of old graves with unique gravestones and grave markers. But one of the most unique is the pictured here that marks the grave of Miss Eugenia R. Davis. Miss Davis was just months away from her 18th birthday when she died on September 17, 1853.

Although Miss Eugenia Davis's grave marker is fairly large, its size is not its most distinctive feature. It is the design that sets this marker apart from others nearby. While the lower portion of the structure appears to be masonry, the upper portion appears to be metal. The very top of the marker is ornate with a carved floral design and is definitely a tribute to a young woman who died at such an early age.

At the time the U. S. Census was taken in 1850, Eugenia R. Davis was 15 years old and was living in the household of William and Elizabeth Gartley. William, born in Louisiana, was a planter by occupation. His wife was born in Mississippi. Also living in the household were three children with the surname of Davis, Mary E., age 8, Robert V., age 10, and William H., age 13. In addition to the Davis children, three children with the surname of Gartley shared the household, and their names were Martha, age 19, Julia, age 17, and William F., age 15. Since familial relationships were not shown on the 1850 census, it is impossible to determine what relationship existed between the Gartley family and the Davis children. Perhaps the Davis children were nieces and nephews of William or Elizabeth Gartly, or possibly this was an early "blended" family, formed by a widow and a widower who each had children before their marriage to each other.

Three Gartley family members are buried in Mount Bluff Cemetery, including William Gartley's parents, Colonel Gartley and his wife Julia. Elizabeth Gartley, William's wife, who apparently died just four years after Eugenia Davis's death, is also buried in this cemetery.

Tombstone Tuesday

The statue of a young woman, with her head bowed, and holding a small basket in her left hand, graces the grave of Lula Fancher, wife of C. C. Fancher. Lula Fancher's grave monument looks out over Bear Creek Cemetery, near McCool, Mississippi, where a number of other Fancher family members are also buried. Lula Fancher was born in January 1881 and died on December 21, 1905. As her monument states, her age was "24 ys, 11 ms, and 6 ds." Directly below the statue are the words "God is Love."

The inscription on the base of the grave marker, above the name "Fancher" includes the beautiful words shown that C. C. Fancher used to describe his wife:

"As a wife devoted.
As a mother affectionate.
As a friend ever kind and true.
In life she exhibited all the graces of a Christian.
In death her redeemed spirit returned to God who gave it."

Oak Grove Cemetery, Tolarville, MS

I am finding that being a Graveyard Rabbit has benefits besides the satisfaction of writing a post about something that interests me and those who read it. It is also a great way to find new cousins. Today, I received an email from one of my Pettus cousins....a cousin that I have never met. We plan to talk on the phone soon. It seems that my new cousin's great-grandfather, John D. Pettus, and my maternal great-grandfather, William Ezra Pettus, were brothers. I don't know nearly as much as I would like to know about the Pettus family, so I am hoping my Pettus cousin can help me piece together the family tree. I especially want to know about William Ezra's family, particularly the name of his parents.

What I do know is that my maternal grandmother, Rosa Mae Pettus Netherland, was the daughter of William Ezra Pettus, and that he was married to Lucy Lula Trigleth, Rosa Mae's mother. According to my new cousin, both of our great-grandfathers are buried in Oak Grove Cemetery at Tolarville in Holmes County. I am already planning a trip to cemeteries in Coxburg and Ebenezer, where most of my mother's family are buried, and now it sounds as if I need to include a visit to Oak Grove Cemetery, as well.

I am also interested in knowing how my Holmes County Pettus ancestors are linked to the Pettus family of Limestone County, Alabama, and if they are related to former Mississippi Governor John J. Pettus. If you are related to the Pettus family and are interested in more information about these early immigrants from Norwich, England who settled in Colonial Virginia in the early 1600's, please read my post from earlier this year at

Monday, December 29, 2008

Michael E. Haffey, born in County Donegal, Ireland

Michael E. Haffey is one of fourteen Haffey family members buried in St. Mary of the Springs Cemetery, an old Catholic cemetery located near Rayville, in Madison County, Mississippi. Haffey, born in County Donegal, Ireland, was 74 years old when he died on January 7, 1921. He is one of many early immigrants to the United States who migrated to Madison County, Mississippi in the mid-late 1800's who are buried in St. Mary of the Springs Cemetery. Haffey's aged and weathered gravestone is pictured here.

Just one year before Michael Haffey's death, two Haffey households were enumerated on the U. S. Census, taken in Madison County. One household was headed by Michael, a 73 year-old farmer, and included his South Carolina-born wife, Mary, age 67, two adult sons, and four adult daughters. Haffey's parents were born in Ireland, and Mary's parents were born in Germany and England. Michael Haffey immigrated to the U.S. in 1865, was naturalized in 1874, and was the only member of his family not born in the United States. The two adult sons in the household included Jim, a farmer, age 45, and Will J., age 29, a laborer. Two of the four Haffey daughters, Sadie and Kate, were not employed. Maggie, age 43, worked as a bookkeeper, and Edith, age 27, was a teacher. All members of the Haffey household spoke English.

The second household enumerated in 1920 was headed by Catherine Haffey, a 75 year-old Irish-born widow, and both families lived in the Sulphur Springs community near St. Mary's Catholic Church. Ironically, Catherine and Michael died in the same year. Other Haffey family members buried in St. Mary of the Springs Catholic Cemetery are:

Ann Haffey, b. 1877, d. 1954
Catherine Haffey, b 1844, d. 1921
Charley Haffey, b. 1877, d. 1933
Edward Haffey, b. unk, d. unk
James Michael Haffey, b. unk, d. Aug. 14, 1959
Kate A. Haffey, b. unk, d. Apr. 1, 1974
Maggie Haffey, b. 1871, d. 1928
Haffey, Maggie E., b. unk, d. Oct. 9, 1929
Haffey, Mary F., b 1851, d. 1947
Michael Haffey, b. unk., d. Jan. 7, 1921
Patrick Haffey, b. 1845, d. 1899
Sebastian L. Haffey, b. unk, d. unk
William Haffey, b. unknown d. Aug. 4, 1909
William J. Haffey, b. 1891 d. 1948