Making room: Earlier this year, Picayune added to historic Palestine cemetery

Published 7:00 am Friday, August 28, 2015

Dart 5 (new side)

NEW SIGN: Pictured, sign for south cemetery.

A cemetery oozing with centuries-old history lies near New Palestine Baptist Church. The New Palestine Cemetery, owned and operated by the city of Picayune, was recently expanded and houses graves dating back to the mid-1800s.

Eric Morris, director of public works for the city of Picayune, said the city recently completed Palestine’s new south cemetery in March as a result of the north cemetery nearing its capacity. The new cemetery resides across the street from the church.

“The south cemetery is the first cemetery in Picayune that has cremation plots available,” Morris said.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The cemetery was designed to hold 224 cremation and 1,215 burial plots. With three acres of land available, the cemetery has room to grow. The city owns the property around the cemetery, which allows them to expand it in the future, Morris said.

The north cemetery resides next to the church. The 22-acre cemetery features 4,200 graves in total, some of which are over a century old, Morris said.

The original cemetery was known as the New Palestine Baptist Church cemetery until the city purchased the property near the church around 1925, Morris said.

Currently, the city runs and operates four cemeteries across Picayune.

Morris said city employees work hard to ensure the beautification of the cemeteries.

“We look at every cemetery and internment spot as being someone’s loved one,” Morris said.

Recently, the city placed new signs in front of every cemetery, clearly outlining the rules and regulations visitors must abide by before entering the premises.

The rules ask visitors to avoid the following: placing rocks or gravel on graves; planting trees, shrubs or placing figurines on or around graves without permission; and placing benches on or near graves, according to the sign placed outside the south cemetery entrance.

“These are some guidelines that we are trying to enforce in order to keep the cemeteries pleasant,” Morris said.

The city’s public works department manages the cemeteries on a daily basis while the grounds and beautification department handles all cemetery operations, Morris said.

The city also employs a cemetery sexton, Edgar Seal, who oversees the cemeteries. Seal has served as the sexton since 2013 and said it’s “the most peaceful place I’ve worked in my life.”

Seal’s job entails helping families locate plots and addressing any issues found within the cemeteries, Morris said.

For more information about the cemeteries, contact Seal at 601-273-2312 or the public works department at 601-799-0602.



HISTORIC CHARM: The north cemetery features graves from mid-1800s.

HISTORIC CHARM: The north cemetery features graves from mid-1800s.