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Moss Point Cemetery Tour Set October 22

Legends will come to life at Griffin Cemetery’s 10th Annual Historic Tour set Sat. Oct. 22 in Moss Point.

Souls resting in the circa 1848 cemetery will be memorialized by costumed family members and family representatives portraying them. The cemetery is located at the west end of Dantzler St. Tours start on the hour and half hour beginning at 9 a.m. with the last tour starting at 11:30 a.m. In case of rain the event will be Sunday afternoon.

Local history buffs organize the events. Deidre Bishop DenBleyker is the driving force behind the successful attraction. A Moss Point native, DenBleyker hopes the tours inform guests about the area’s rich history. She also hopes that history will stay alive and remain important to younger generations. The 2022 tour will be DenBleyker’s last year to chair the event and she hopes someone volunteers to continue the effort.

“Moss Point’s history seems to be slipping away through our fingertips. I wanted a way to capture some of that history. I grew up here and love my childhood memories! I never imagined doing ten years’ worth of tours,” DenBleyker said.

The event is made possible by a strong team of community volunteers who conduct research and plan the logistics. The Jackson County Historical and Genealogical Society sponsors the tour. The first tour, in 2013, featured two presenters and took place at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. That year was a learning experience as the tour committee realized the event needed to be daytime only because the cemetery has no lighting. Through the years the committee has tweaked the affair to improve the experience for guests. For the last few years, it has been a morning event with six progressive style presentations. Guests may walk the cemetery or ride in golf carts. Each year the tour is dedicated in memory of a community member. This year’s tour honors the memory of Johnny Grafe, long-time automobile dealer and one of the cemetery’s care-takers.

Presenters at the various gravesides are Amantha Johnson presenting her relative, Henry Albert Bosarge; Tom Getz presenting the Adam Rivers Blumer family; Regina Kirkland presenting Myrtice Kelly Gill; Marlene Rawle presenting her mother, Avis Irene Brooks Hinson; Dana Nelson presenting Dixie Overstreet Fairley; Gerald Buntyn and his sister Barbara Buntyn Boughton presenting their parents, Charles and Edna Drunett Goff Buntyn; and Paula Rychtar presenting Agnes Goff Faggard.

According to local history documentation, eight “East Pascagoula” families lived in 1820 in the area of Mossy Point, now known as Moss Point. One of these was Lyman Bradford who co-owned a sawmill with Joseph Beardslee and is recorded as having a home at Griffin Point in 1850. The cemetery property was obtained by the William Griffin family from the Lyman Bradford family between 1860 and 1870. The oldest marked graves are Lyman Bradford’s children, Burissa, age 11, and Benjamin Bradford, age3, who died of an invasive fever in 1848.

“I believe Moss Point is a hidden gem. Many people don’t realize all of the history we have. For example, Moss Point has more than 85 Century Homes, homes built over one hundred years ago that are still standing. Most of them are private family homes,” DenBleyker said.

Report

Written by Nancy Jo Maples

Nancy Jo Maples is an award-winning journalist who has written about Mississippi people and places for more than 30 years. A former daily staff news reporter for the Mississippi Press, she currently writes for various media and teaches communication at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Reach her at [email protected]

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