A private question was asked about access and maintenance of old cemeteries in Mississippi, and I answered the person, but thought it would also be of benefit to people who have ancestors buried in old private, village, and church cemeteries no longer maintained, anywhere they are located in Mississippi.
There are laws in Mississippi Code that do not allow “landowners” to descecrate a family cemetery, which is often excepted from a deed when land was sold “way back when” anyway, and the same laws require Boards of Supervisors to maintain abandoned private or public cemeteries if they are old and/or “historic”. The laws are MS Code 47-5-441 and MS Code 39-5-19. There are others that may also apply. You can find these under “Mississippi Code” on the Mississippi Supreme Court home page on line and print them out (once there, type in such key words as “cemetery”, “restoration”, and “historic”).
The current owner cannot keep you as a descendant from accessing the cemetery, and you may be able to get a deed from him for some small price, since he cannot do anything with the cemetery without violating state law and county ordinances. A trip to the county courthouse and looking at the old historic deeds on the property may reveal that the cemetery was actually excepted from the deed when it was sold by the family, which means that new landowner does not now nor ever has owned the cemetery. Hinds County has a number of abandoned family, church, and village cemeteries, as does every county in this state, and all are subject to being maintained by the counties in which they are located. In reality, this seldom happens unless formal letters specifying the correct information are mailed to the county Board of Supervisors, and/or to the Mississippi Dept of Archives and History. Then, these letters of request need following up on to be sure that action is taken. Most of the time, also specified by law, county inmates do the cleaning and maintenance work. In Jasper County, MS, the Jasper Greys Civil War organization is doing more family and church historic cemetery maintenance than their Board of
Mary Collins Landin