|Household of Ruth Cemetery
Pearl River County, MS
With appreciation to Helen Clunie for sharing the info & photos on this page.
|"Strangers have bought the VanZandt place and I wonder if they know
Of the little plots upon the hill, where sad white roses grow. . . . ."
-- Mary Elizabeth Mahnkey
|The Household of Ruth is the women's auxiliary to the African American Odd Fellows order.
It was organized in 1857 for the admission of the wives or women related to men in the
Fraternal Order of Odd Fellows.
Graves of historical significance lie within this cemetery. They include members and
families of the Household of Ruth---some of whom were former slaves. "Household of Ruth
#2334" is on a crest on all of the stones. This national organization continues to be active
today. The Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History has
awarded a Certificate of Historical Significance to the cemetery. (See letter below.)
What's left of the cemetery now rests within a residential development. An unknown
number of the tombstones were destroyed during the development's construction and
there are now streets and homes built over many of the graves. As you can see by the
photos below, what's left of the graveyard is in a critical state of disrepair.
The property was originally owned by Daniel Smith, who donated the land to the
organization; the earliest death date on the remaining tombstones is 1908. The once ornate
iron fence was donated by prominent local physician, Dr. Horne in the early 1900's.