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My Trip to Belzoni

My Trip to Belzoni

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Published by Jim_Fullilove
In search of Fullilove genealogy info
In search of Fullilove genealogy info

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Jim_Fullilove on Feb 06, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/11/2009

 
It was Saturday August 19, 2006. I was driving north from Gulfport, headed for Kosciusko, MS, for the annual Homecoming at the Marvin Chapel Methodist Church. Itis an annual event when families with ancestral ties to the church return to visit andfellowship with one another. It had been a year since my last trip to the homeland of myFullilove ancestors, that trip occurring exactly 8 days before Hurricane Katrina madelandfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I was looking forward to the homecoming and thevisit with my Aunt Mary. She is the last member of my immediate family still living inthe Kosciuscko area.As I was reviewing maps the night before my departure I noticed that a side trip to look for a cemetery containing unknown (to me) Fulliloves was a possibility. There is a burialground known only as the Fullilove Cemetery in the rural part of Humphreys County.Could it be the place where some of my missing Fulliloves were buried? There was adistinct possibility some of the descendants of Blanton Hill Fullilove, my greatgrandfather’s brother, had ended up in rural Humphries County. After all, several are buried in Indianola, Belzoni, and Drew, MS, why not rural Humphries County? Therewas no record of the burials in this Fullilove Cemetery, only the GPS coordinates andaerial photos denote its existence. I had decided to set a course to find out what was outthere and document it for myself. I printed out a map from mapquest.com giving me precise directions to the location. It was at the end of “Full Love” road next to “FulliloveLake.”I headed out of Jackson on I-55 north and turned west on highway 12 at Durant, MS. Thetrip would take a few extra hours, I thought, leaving me plenty of time to be back at myAunt’s home in Kosciusko by around 3 or 4 o’clock. Just a little side trip . . . a littleadventure into the Mississippi delta. I was very energized, anticipating what I might find.Would there be graves that would answer lingering questions? Would it be a completelyabandoned place with markers that were impossible to read? Would it be a perfectedcemetery with beautiful monuments, embossed with perfect images and biographies of those interred there . . .no, Jim, that is ridiculous . . .get your mind back on your driving!My trek took me through Lexington and Tchula. As I continued driving west, the hillycountryside with its kudzu-covered gulches gave way to flat farmland, mostly cottonfields with crops in varying stages of development. I knew that I was fast approachingthe delta region of Mississippi. My turn off would be coming up at any moment. Iturned to get my computer-generated maps. I didn’t want to get lost out here. . . . uh, oh!Where are my maps?!! I went off and left them at home !!!To be continued…My Trip to Belzoni, part III couldn’t believe I had left the maps at home. I was sure I had placed them in my littletraveling bag…. oh, well, on to plan B. I was planning to go on into the town of Belzoniafter finding the Fullilove cemetery, but now I had to go ahead and reverse my plans. I
 
would go to Belzoni first and then find the cemetery later on my way back to Kosciusko.As I approached Belzoni I found myself on a high-rise bridge, which looks down over thetown from the south. The entire town can be seen from this vantage point. Next, Inoticed the signs denoting Belzoni as the “Catfish Capital of the World” and “Visit theCatfish Museum”. Somehow this all seemed familiar. I had heard this somewhere before. I turn north on Highway 49 and then right at the arrow reading “DowntownBelzoni”. That’s when I saw the first one. It was a catfish statue about 6 ft. tall paintedto look like a power company worker. It was placed in front of the Power Companyoffice. Oh, what a cute idea, I thought. Then I saw the next one, in front of the FireStation. This one was painted like a Dalmatian in a fireman’s uniform, holding a littlefire hose. Then as I continued toward the main street downtown, I realized that these brightly colored catfish were everywhere, in front of businesses, public buildings, andoccasionally in front of homes. I knew that it was true; I was in the catfish capital. NowI had a new concern, would I use up all of my film snapping pictures of these artisticcatfish. Would I have any left for the cemetery later?I got directions to the Humphrey’s County library, which was just two blocks down andwithin a minute I was getting a pic of the “bookworm” catfish and entering the library.The librarians were as helpful as they could be and I soon had a new map in hand,courtesy of mapquest.com. The head librarian’s husband was related somehow to someFulliloves and she was familiar with some of the ones from Indianola, but she did notknow anything about my Fullilove cemetery or where it was located. The librariansseemed a little amused at this middle-aged man trying to find a cemetery in the boondocks of Belzoni.I had a second cemetery to find, the Belzoni City Cemetery. I had one Fullilove couplethat was interred there and I wanted to get photos of the grave. For the next two hours, Iwalked that cemetery in the Scorching. . . August. . . Mississippi. . . Delta . . . sun, but noFullilove grave. I did find the family plot of Pinkney Barton McWhorter. He was the brother of my great grandmother, Sorinthia McWhorter Fullilove. I felt a bit frustrated asI returned to the library to try and get better info on the location of the grave. The libraryin Belzoni has no cemetery book, but there was a folder with a transcription of theBelzoni Cemetery. I found a map and a supposed location for the grave. Back to thecemetery I went and after another half hour of searching I finally was standing over thegrave of Ethel L. Fullilove (1907-1965). She was the wife of Henry Clyde Fullilove whowas a grandson of Blanton Hill And Emily Jane Pee Fullilove. Apparently Henry’s graveis unmarked. His obituary says that he is buried there, but there is no headstone for him.The reward for all of that searching seemed a little scant, but I still had the other search tolook forward to.To be continuedMy Trip to Belzoni, part III (the final chapter)
 
As I headed out of town, I tried to resist the Catfish statues, but ended up stopping atmany of them to get a picture. I also wanted to be sure and go by the “Catfish Museum”.It would be a shame to be in Belzoni, Mississippi, and not stop to see its most prestigiousattraction. I found the museum and spent a few minutes there. The indoor part of themuseum was closed, but I was able to look at a few of the outdoor displays. Frankly, thehatching and catching methods used on the catfish farms wasn’t very exciting for me, butfinding the Fullilove Cemetery was, so I set out again, this time heading east, map inhand.On the map it seemed very clear. The roads were marked, the mileage to each turn plainly indicated. I was to head down Spruill Rd. until it dead-ended and then turn right.Spruill Road is a paved farm road, barely wide enough for two-way traffic. It is one of those roads where one is tempted to speed because you never see another vehicle for miles. I continued down this road until it changed from paved to a dirt road. It never dead-ended on anything, but finally took me straight to a farmhouse where it intersectedanother road, not the one listed on my map. I was beginning to doubt my map. The layof the land was not matching up with the printout of the computer. Men don’t like askingfor directions, but I knew that I didn’t have time to waste, so I went straight up to thedoor of this farmhouse. Surely these folks would have some idea where the FulliloveCemetery was. Two young men in their mid-teens answered the door. I explained what Iwas looking for and, Tom, the younger of the two, told me he would be right back.“He’s going to ask Daddy,” his brother, Joey, volunteered.Tom grabbed up a little motorcycle that was lying next to the house and zoomed off toward a large pole barn that was a few hundred yards away. We waited a few minutesAnd Tom was back with directions from his Dad.“I can tell you how to get there or you can just follow me”“I think I will follow you, if you don’t mind.”So I was off again, following Tom in a dust cloud back up the road from whence I hadcome. We went back a few miles to where the road was paved and stopped at anintersection with another dirt road. “Daddy says it is right down there past the old fish processing plant. You will see a church on the right and then the fish plant is a littlefurther on the left.”“Great, Thank you very much.”Then Tom said, “Did you see that red pick-up truck back there? That was Mr. Fullilovesitting in the truck.”“Really?!, Mr. Fullilove?”Then Tom responded almost defensively, “I know it was Mr. Fullilove! I swear to God!”

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