Historic Natchez Cemetery is located at Cemetery Road in Natchez, Mississippi and overlooks the Mississippi River. It sits on 95 acres of land and was established in 1822 although the old burying ground was on a high hill in downtown Natchez. The cemetery is open from 7am to dusk, which is usually around 7pm and visitors are advised to leave by this time to avoid being locked in.
The remains from the old burial ground were moved to its current location north of the town although Samuel Brooks, the first Mayor of Natchez who died in 1811 is still buried at the old site. In the old part of the city cemetery many notable people in the history of this city and state were buried. Gradually over a number of years in the mid to late 19th century the city bought new plots.
The cemetery has many well designed iron fences, benches, iron mausoleum doors, tombstones and monuments with artistic sculptured markers and poignant inscriptions. Here the ironwork is a good representation of what was being produced in America in the 19th century and start of the 20th century. Most of the signed marble work dates back to before the Civil War with much of the sculpted monuments here are credited to Edwin Lyon and Robert Rawes, although other talented artisans produced work here too.
Visitors are welcome to wander round the cemetery by themselves or they can take a guided tour. Anyone taking a self guided tour can either walk amongst the tombstones or drive along the roads in the cemetery and view it from the car, which may be more advisable in bad weather. Visitors can collect a booklet from the Natchez Visitor Center, which contains a reference map and provides a guide to the history of the cemetery and some of the most frequently visited tombstones.
Private guided tours can also be arranged through Natchez Pilgrimage Tours or there is a special event called the Annual Angels on the Bluff Tour. This annual event occurs usually on the first weekend of November and includes local citizens and family descendants dressed in period costume portraying individuals buried here. The tours begin every 15 minutes for groups of approximately 30 people and have stories about the people buried here as well as musical tributes
As parking spaces are limited here there is no public parking at the cemetery for individuals during the Angels on the Bluff Tour. To compensate for this a free shuttle transportation service is provided from the Natchez Visitor Center to the cemetery with times specified on the visitor entry ticket. There is parking available for groups going to the tour by bus.
Visitors are requested to follow the rules of etiquette at the cemetery, some of which are common sense like not intruding on private funeral or memorial services. Children and pets are welcome at the site so long as the children are well behaved and owners clean up after their pets. Anyone wishing to take the Angels on the Bluff tour should note that tickets go on sale from as early as August.
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