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Col. Mark Valentine (front, left), Master Sgt. Robert Clark, Lt. Col Sanford Bennett and (back) Bill Clark, Dave Hovey and Granville Vaughn put in concrete to hold the Ross Cemetery boundary marker.

Photo / Embree Bolton

   For the GrenadaStar

   It didn’t take a compass to find the “dead-center” of Camp McCain. It did take, however, a strong, concerted effort on the part of a team of dedicated men and women.
   Searching for truth and the historical significance of this sprawling 13,000 acres of pristine land, this team of environmental professionals, historians and military personnel continue in their search for answers related to the base’s burial sites.
   According to Brad Pinnix, Camp McCain’s environmental officer, Camp McCain Training Center (CMTC) was awarded funds in 2013 through the National Public Lands Day/DoD Legacy Awards to clean up and mark two old cemeteries with granite corner posts and fencing. These two cemetery locations have been named the Ross Cemetery and the Epperson Cemetery.
   Although it appears there are several graves in the Ross Cemetery, according to Pinnix, only one grave has been positively identified. It belongs to William Ross, born Nov. 21, 1794, died Aug, 21, 1839. Therefore, it has been designated as the Ross Cemetery.
   Although the burial slab is currently at ground level, the grave at one time might have been located higher off the ground, with marble sides to elevate it, similar to graves located in Providence Cemetery about a mile away.
   Pinnix said the Epperson Cemetery was accidentally discovered in the late 1990s. Records indicate that Henry Epperson purchased the property in 1840.
   “There appears to be other graves in this site location, but none are identifiable,” said Pinnix.  
He also said these two cemetery locations on the base previously were abandoned, but he and others connected with the project recognize them as a treasure trove of historical significance that can yield much information about our state’s social, religious, artistic, and cultural heritage.
   “All cemeteries record genealogical information and all mark the ‘final resting place’ of someone’s ancestors who lived in the area,” said Pinnix. “They constitute an important historic feature of north Mississippi’s heritage.”  

   For complete details, read the print edition or subscribe to the online edition of the GrenadaStar.

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