TRIP: Potts Camp, MS & Bethlehem Methodist Church cemetery

What I see when I look at the picture. 1940 in black and white.

Reminder: pictures and content on this blog are Copyright © 2021 StonznBonz. All Rights are reserved and express written permission must be obtained before use in any format.

If you’ve been following along, and I hope you have, you’ll know this stop was supposed to be one of my first stops before coming to Tupelo but ended up being the last stop out of Tupelo on my way home, and my lastMS stop of my trip. The original itinerary was to remain until Thursday, then slowly wind back home with more stops along the way. But this was Tuesday and I was ill, desperately needing to get home. Despite a 100+ fever, Howard was the whole reason I started down the Buchanans 25 years ago and his grandson, my new family, the reason for this visit. The least I could do is bite my lip and go pay my respects.

Driving up I-22 to Memphis, navigating to Potts Camp was simple. They have an exit, simply directed into the center of town where I saw in the distance the water tower, actually two, but this older one is what caught my eye. The angle is better taken getting out of your car, or like most of my photos with exception of the cemeteries, taken while still sitting in my car. Yes: car photography! Many were taken while driving down the highway, some speeds of 80mph (75 was limit and yes I was safe!)

I was traveling north on I-22 towards Memphis, so taking the exit, I made a left, then another left and a right to 349, with my destination being Bethlehem Methodist Church’s cemetery. The road is clearly visible in the video I recorded.

Now, with no time to waste, I turned off onto this highway (don’t think interstate) to Bethlehem Methodist church cemetery. The two lanes were wide, farms and homes scattered each side as it wound me about 10 miles west (I think). I spied an old pull-in, what appeared at 50mph, to be an old gas station and store. “I’ll stop on my return back to the interstate” I muttered to the air, as my determination to find Howard was raging, just like my fever. And I was miserable.

Before moving to Texas, water towers were somewhat foreign to me. Now I find each city has their own flare. This one I truly loved. Very unique so I wanted to make its photo unique as well.
I spotted this location on my way to Bethlehem Methodist cemetery and made a note to stop on my way back. There was just something about this place that drew me in. The building on the right is barely visible based on where I took the photo the old stands where gas pumps likely stood. The sign nearer the street for gas prices. The blue buildings on the left appear at first glance to be the only structures there. And the sky. The sky and sun was truly kind to me during almost my entire trip.
The side doors make me think this perhaps was once a car mechanic shop. I might be wrong (and truly I know nothing about this property). Perhaps a fire station?
The building in previous pic is so hidden, with the trees and shade from the photo angle not to mention being brown but I wanted to lighten it up and give it its own glory shot.
The sunny day at Bethlehem Methodist cemetery. Now…Howard and Nancy -WHERE ARE YOU? Come out, come out wherever you are!
This is at the farthest end of the Cemtery from the church. I believe it’s a family property with the pond and all. But it was just serene there. Those buried near it sure have a lovely view (although, ummm, personally I wouldn’t want to be that close to water, especially since Southern rain storms are like nothing you’ve ever experienced! Just saying!)
I promise one thing before my next trip, to learn how to edit videos as well as creating videos with photos. This was something I tried to do at each cemtery, stop and document from the back side-facing the entrance, and pan in a circle the area, usually (my) left to right. most photos are taken by others at the entrance, and while I am no different, I also wanted documentation from a different perspective.

As you might hear in my voice, I was impatient, wanting nothing more than to get back to my car and to sit. Felling so ill, I didn’t have the strength to barely even walk this small cemetery to find Howard-even as important as he is to me. I knew what his and Nancy’s headstones look like so I was looking for a flat marker, about the size of a walking stone. This eliminated the stand up markers clearly visible. Even with that elimination, I wasn’t able to find him.

Here’s the FindAGrave memorial page for Howard, with a bio I wrote as the current manager. Ironically there’s two categorically incorrect things on this stone. Howard was born in 1861, according to the 1870 census. This is the closest thing to a birth certificate, other than a family Bible entry, that someone from these eras have today to document their birth, age. The closer to the actual event and with further documents confirming the original information, pretty much cements the dates as facts. Other times, like with Nancy, it takes more research to find a date that peeks through as the most probable or to disprove other dates based on other information available, such as a siblings birth at the same time and they not being twins.

This is standing about where I took the video above, looking back towards the church.
Added December 17, 2021.

Additionally, Howard did not die until 26Sep, according to his death certificate. How this happened, I’m not sure but it’s a common occurrence. Nancy’s headstone is equally incorrect. She died in March, but it says February. Her date of birth (DOB) is wrong but still undetermined due to lack of and varying documentation. You can read her memorial/biography here.

Photo credit belongs to the original photographer, Anonymous , Graver ID 47386242.

Be sure to follow along the TRIP post series. As of this writing, there are many more in process, so be sure to keep up to date! If you subscribe, emails are sent when a new post is posted.

And, in case you started with this post, there are more in this trip series. (And more still to come). Here they are so far.

TRIP overview, a first must read. 

Old Rondo Cemetery, Texarkana, AR 

Weatherbee Cemetery, Franklin County, AR

Potts Camp & Bethlehem Church Cemetery, Outside Potts Camp, MS

Guntown, MS

Trees of the cemetery: a combination of sites

4 thoughts on “TRIP: Potts Camp, MS & Bethlehem Methodist Church cemetery

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