Pearl River eroding Copiah County cemetery, leaving coffin exposed

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 6:51 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COPIAH COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - A coffin in a Copiah County burial site is being unearthed by the waters from the Pearl River. Judy Blair Berry was fishing on the river between Rockport and Georgetown Friday when she took pictures of an exposed casket. The handles are visible, with a large portion of it still in the dirt, surrounded by limbs and grass.

“We stopped and looked at it, and I said that looked like a casket sticking out in the ground right there,” said Judy Blair Berry. “And so we parked the boat, and some of us jumped there and looked at it. Sure enough, it was a casket. You could see the handles and everything on it. It was an old iron casket.”

The private Catching Cemetery has several headstones dating back to the middle 1800′s. It is located between Georgetown and Rockport in Copiah County.

Flooding from the Pearl River has eroded the banks, washing away headstones and possibly coffins. Berry is hoping something will be done to preserve the burial site.

“The oldest person that could be in there was born in 1776. So to me, it’s a historic cemetery,” added Blair Berry. “There is a Confederate captain buried in there, and no telling how many more people like that Confederate soldier are buried up in there.”

Tom Catchings, who has distant relatives buried at the cemetery, said he has tried to keep it up in the past, but water released from the Ross Barnett causes more erosion. It is located on Old River Road and was a part of the Glen Rose Plantation that burned in the 1960′s.

Catchings said he has spoken with the Mississippi Department of Archives about the site in past years. He is reaching out to several entities to see what can be done to preserver the cemetery.

Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please click here to report it and include the headline of the story in your email.