A Carroll County woman wants the board to do something about a man who may have placed a new graveyard on top of a large, historical, African-American graveyard.
Mary Francis Hurt, the granddaughter of Mississippi’s John Hurt, spoke to the Carroll County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning in Carrollton. Hurt said a man who purchased property in what used to be Avalon, which at one time was the largest African American community in Carroll County, received permission from the board in 2010 to bury his wife.
However, his wife is buried on top of graves that were already there that are members of her family and belonged to what was St. James Church. Hurt said the church was once a school and neither stood anymore.
Hurt said what once was a piviotal part of the Avalon community, no longer stands and she’s been working to preserve the cemetery as best as she could.
“His deed, which we have a copy of says that he purchased all the land with the exception of the St. James cemetery,” Shannon Evans said. Hurt said the cemetery is misidentified on the maps. She said where it says the cemetery is, is for overflow but the cemetery goes across the road and is across from each other.
The women said that the land-owner has placed a bench on top of a grave.
“There were graves that were clearly marked,” Hurt said.
“It says that he purchased everything with the exception of the St. James cemetery,” Evans said. Hurt and Evans were asked if they had any documentation from the St. James Church documenting where exactly the lines of the cemetery were.
“No, we can’t find any,” Hurt said. “We’ve looked. [Chancery Clerk] Casey [Carpenter]’s looked. It’s vanished.”
Tax Assessor Wilton Neal said he’s looked also and when the plots were done before modern technology, they just had dots. He said there was no way for them to know.
Board Attorney Kevin Horan said it was a civil matter and that Hurt should handle it in court with the current landowner.
Also, LaShenda Whirl told the board that she’s been having trouble with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department. She said that she owns a café and the department has been setting up road blocks, which is starting to hurt her business.
“I went from having 75-100 people on the weekend, to last weekend having 10 because they’re afraid,” she said.
Sheriff Clint Walker said that Whirl has his number and he considered her a friend. “We’ve worked together on a few things,” Walker said. He said, however, he was not backing down from not holding too many road blocks.
“When you’re on the receiving end of this and you have to call someone or get a call at 2 or 3 a.m. that someone was killed, you’d think differently,” Walker said.
Supervisor Claude Fluker told Whirl that the three of them [Fluker, Walker and Whirl] could sit down and talk about this and possibly come to a compromise.
“But, not here Shenda. This isn’t the place,” Fluker said.