Friday, January 6, 2012

Cemeteries: Frank Simmons Family Cemetery

This cemetery is located on what is known as "The Old Frank Simmons Farm", located off of Ray Boone Road in Oak Grove, Lamar County, Mississippi.  

Mack Simmons (now deceased) stated that the graves in this cemetery were marked with hand carved wooden markers and that a woods fire in the 1920's wiped out the cemetery.  According to Michele Simmons Lewis, "Myself [Michele Simmons Lewis] and Leonard Grant Simmons [my paternal uncle] went to the general area where the Old Frank Simmons Farm was known to have been. After talking with some of the elderly local residents a man stated he knew of such a cemetery and took us down Ray Boone Road and pointed into the woods and said, "I remember it being in there somewhere." After approx 45 minutes, Leonard Simmons tripped over a piece of wood. When we examined the wood further we found it to be a partially buried, hand carved, wooden grave marker that also showed signs of fire damage. After searching the area we found 3 such markers as well as bricks that had been used to outline the graves. Leonard Simmons contacted the current owners of the property who did not know about the cemetery. They gave permission to Leonard Simmons to re-mark the graves and to fence in the cemetery. We had looked into moving the remains to Grantham Cemetery where other family members are located but it was cost prohibitive. Leonard has since been back to the cemetery and re-marked the graves, enclosed it with a rail fence and put up a sign stating "Simmons Cemetery."

Photo credit: Michele Simmons Lewis

Photo credit: Michele Simmons Lewis

Benjamin Franklin "Frank" Simmons (son of James C. "Jim" Simmons and Celia Anna Yates)
Julia Josephine Entrekin Simmons (wife of Benjamin Franklin Simmons)

Four children of Benjamin Franklin and Julia Josephine Simmons are buried there:
Caroline Simmons
Charles Franklin Simmons
Hugh Simmons
Valley Luticia Simmons (infant)

James C. "Jim" Simmons (son of Silas and Janet Simmons)
Celia Anna Yates (first wife of James C. "Jim" Simmons)

According to Michele, there are several more people buried there that have not yet been identified. Additionally, Michele Simmons Lewis stated, "The book, 'The Complete Book of Lamar County Mississippi Cemeteries,' compiled by Elaine Bullock and Stanley W. Arnold, Jr., published by Custom Printing, North Little Rock, AR, 1992, page 468, mistakenly has Eliza Jane Entrekin buried here. She is actually buried in the Pine Grove Baptist Church Cemetery. Her marker reads Eliza Barefoot and she buried next to her husband Elem Troy Barefoot. Both graves are marked. The compilers of the book stated that they got this information from Howard Simmons in Columbia. I have since talked with Howard and the compilers of the book to notify them of the error [it was assumed Eliza was buried here because she too was married to James C. Simmons. However, after his death she remarried]."

Michele Simmons Lewis has been a family researcher for 20+ years and she has contributed multiple memorials to the Find A Grave web site.  She is currently in the process of attaining her certification in genealogy. 

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