St. Mary Episcopal Church- St Francisville, LA
Here was the church as I found it when I rounded a small bend and walked past the trees.
This is a little history on the church:
>>St. Mary's Episcopal Church was built in 1857 to serve approximately 20 plantation families in the remote Tunica area north of St. Francisville, LA. The church was built on the Old East Tunica Road on 5 acres donated by Sarah Mulford, The title description is written "per aversionem" so that the boundaries cannot be identified exactly. In 1928 State Highway 66 was built about 1/2 mile west of the church and the old road was abandoned, leaving the church with no vehicular access, except by private farm roads. The church was deconsecrated in 1947, and today stands empty, gradually being overtaken by the surrounding forest, which has completely overgrown the graveyard north of the church and the old roadway.
One of a handful of graves outside the church. I'm not sure if they've moved some graves, or more were hidden amongst the trees. They say the "surrounding forest" is taking over the area, which is close but not entirely accurate, but these graves were right next to the church. I'm not sure if there were more within the trees, I was hearing some noise (animals) from the trees so I wasnt about to go scouting in there.
Children's graves are always sad.
Next to the last grave. Twins perhaps, and this one lived?
A look up inside the bell tower.
After finding the church, we went to walk around the cemetery of the church built to replace St. Mary's (a few miles away). It was lovely there, and weird, so I am going to share some of those pictures as well.
One of the strangest graves I've ever seen, and coming from this state, that says a lot.
I cant really tell if the tunnel part was where the body was kept, or somewhere in the upper part of the "chamber". If a casket was kept in the tunnel part, it is obviously long since gone.
The chamber is crumbling and cracked in half. The back of it has a door that leads up from the tunnel below.
NO, I didnt go down there. But I did get pics of the inside of the tunnel and of the door!
Excuse the flash, it was too dark down there to see. I'm not sure how this was ever closed off if the casket was kept down here, or why you'd use such an unusual grave in an area where we usually have to bury our dead under slabs of concrete or marble, because the caskets tend to rise back up out of the ground because of the ground water levels. This location has quite a few buried as you'd normally see in other states (in the ground with just a headstone) but I think it tends to be higher up than some areas. In New Orleans, for example, you'd see almost all graves covered over by stone/concrete.
The back door...
ETA: I tried to find more information on the last crypt, and here is what I got so far. Kinda morbid. OK, pretty morbid. Looks like I was right, though, there is no longer anyone in the chamber. I'm trying to find more information on it.
>>>>A long stair descends into the vented crypt of the tomb. The structure is empty except for trash.
The mausoleum can no longer be entered as the outer walls and roof are in danger of
collapsing. The structure is held together by strapping and props. The wife of one of the Ball family was the first and only occupant.
According to tradition, her husband often sat inside the crypt in his rocking chair. Their children were mortified. At the father’s death, the children reinterred their mother with their father in a standard cemetery plot.
It got dark soon after, so that was the end of my pictures. Hope you enjoyed these!