|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
Mississippi Department of Archives and History
May 10, 2001
Re: House Hold of Ruth Cemetery, Pearl River County
We are pleased to inform you that the above referenced cemetery was awarded a Certificate of Historical Significance by the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History at its meeting on May 4, 2001.
We have notified the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors of this action and it is our hope that they will exercise the authority granted them under House Bill #780 and thereby in their discretion repair, rehabilitate and maintain the cemetery as a historical monument. We would encourage you and your friends and family members to contact the supervisors to ask that they maintain the cemetery.
With all best wishes, I am
Elbert R. Hilliard, Director Mississippi Department of Archives and History
Secretary, Board of Trustees
|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.