BY ALICE ORTIZ
AMORY – A couple of years ago, the nonprofit Amory Historical Cemetery Corp. was formed to get the Historic Masonic Cemetery a facelift.
The immediate aim was to remove unsightly bushes, brush and undergrowth around the boundaries, remove, prune and fertilize diseased trees and develop a program of landscaping and planting of desirable species of trees.
New granite markers have been installed on the corners of the blocks with Roman numerals designating the blocks. A computerized identification system showing the names and locations of graves will be available at the Amory Municipal Library, the Amory Regional Museum and the Gilmore Foundation.
Many of their goals have been accomplished and one committee member said it's time to focus on gravestone repair. The member said the job of leveling and straightening leaning gravestones and repairing those that have been damaged over time is soon to commence. Committee members said this will be time consuming and expensive.
This cemetery is unique in several respects. The older section to the west was the cemetery of Cotton Gin Port before Amory came into being. It is one of the oldest cemeteries in north Mississippi. There are grave markers of veterans of every conflict in which the country has been engaged with the possible exception of Afghanistan and Iraq.
The front gate has been rebuilt and widened. It still contains the old Masonic Cemetery inscription, along with a new sheltered identification wall, now almost complete, at the center of the cemetery, which will locate the computerized grave identities.
An irrigation system for shrubbery and trees will be completed in the near future.
The city has assisted with some of the maintenance costs, the mowing in particular, with an annual allotment of $25,000.