Metro

Restoration of historic Mt. Olive cemetery progresses

MOUNT OLIVE, Miss (WJTV0 - This past February we brought you the story of a woman's mission to restore the historic Mount Olive Cemetery where more than 200 African-Americans are buried.

 In 1906 W.S.F. Tatum, owner of the Tatum Lumber Mill, gave three African-American men, Sam McClendon, Elder Romeo Anderson and Ed Price, a hundred dollars each to purchase a cemetery.

Vermell Tart Jackson was born at the mill and grew up next to the cemetery.

"They purchased the land and later years my grandmother purchased land joining the cemetery, just a fence separated our property."

Over the years, Jackson watched as dozens were buried right next door.

"What I remember the most is when they started burying, they would use wagons... that was the hearse."

Her mother-in-law and several other relative were laid to rest there but then Mt. Olive began to crumble. Time and nature took hold. Finally Jackson asked for help and was give a one-time clean up.

"He asked me at this meeting, if they would clean it, the city clean it, would the community keep it up, and I said yes."

Jackson had no idea how hard it would be to keep the cemetery up, the community tried but they didn't have the right equipment. Jackson says she had a vision that told her to as W.S.F. Tatum's great grandson to help with restoration. And he did. And so did the City of Hattiesburg.

"That was the best 90th birthday I could ever have."

Since February, city workers have been out to the cemetery every Friday morning. Jackson knows it will take awhile to shape things up but she says she is blessed.

"I'm very happy and thankful to God that he let me live to see it done."

Once the grounds are completely restored, the Tatum family will place a marker at the cemetery.


 


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