Cleanup of historic Okolona cemetery planned

By Floyd Ingram/Chickasaw Journal

OKOLONA – It is hallowed ground and it has a history that is all Okolona’s.
The steering committee for the Okolona Cemetery Restoration and Re-enactment Project will host a clean-up day at Okolona Confederate Cemetery on July 14 and the community is being asked to turn out to help.
“We will be cleaning up monuments in the cemetery and we have all the brushes and special cleaning solutions,” said Perry Grubbs of the Okolona Chamber of Commerce. “The work will not be that strenuous, but we do have a lot of monuments to scrub.”
Volunteers will gather at the Okolona Confederate Cemetery at 8 a.m. that Saturday and Grubbs said they hope to be finished by noon.
In 1862, Okolona was the site of a Confederate government hospital and wounded were brought from Tennessee and Northeast Mississippi to the facility.
The Okolona hospital also served soldiers from regional battles such as Shiloh, Corinth and Brice’s Crossroads. It is estimated more than 850 soldiers died during that time with many buried in this cemetery.
It is the largest Confederate Cemetery in Northeast Mississippi.
For years the Okolona Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy maintained the cemetery. A fence that once surrounded the cemetery has been located and efforts are being made to install it once again.
The cleanup is being held in conjunction with the re-enactment of the Battle of Okolona set for Feb. 22.
Plans are for hundreds of re-enactors to descend on Okolona to take part in the historic performance. The event will bring tourists to the community to shop in local stores, stay in area hotels and eat at neighborhood restaurants.
For more information about the cemetery cleanup, call the Okolona Chamber of Commerce at (662) 447-5913.
floyd.ingram@journalinc.com