Vaiden, Mississippi


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Vaiden Cemetery


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Monument of Dr. & Mrs. C.M. Vaiden . . .Click For A Rear View


Touched By An Angel


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Vaiden Monument Inscriptions


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In the Arms of God


The Vaiden Cemetery is one of the oldest in Mississippi, having been in existence well over a century. Mrs. Mary Pleasants gave the land for the original cemetery, which was called the Shongalo Cemetery, and she is buried there. The south section of the cemetery is still referred to as the Shongalo Cemetery.

A marble monument marks the place where Dr. Cowles Mead Vaiden, and his wife, Elizabeth Herring Vaiden are buried. This marble stone, approximately 20 feet high, has an angel on top with the right hand raised and a finger pointing heavenward. The square area below is adorned with symbols; justice scales, a honey comb, an hour glass, and others. Dr. Vaiden was a man of integrity and many talents; a doctor, a farmer, a philanthropist, and a statesman.

A grave of historic significance is that of John Cain, a Revolutionary War Drummer Boy. He was born December 12, 1766, and died April 17, 1854.

Nearby is another military grave. The marker bears the following inscription: "Lucas C.S.A. Alabama 1862." This is the grave of an ill confederate soldier whom Mrs. Mary Pleasants nursed in her home and after his death, had him buried in Shongalo Cemetery.

In the southwest section of the cemetery is a plot with a stone bearing the inscription, "32 Soldiers Known Only To God." These soldiers died in skirmish fighting between Union and Confederate soldiers, when the Union soldiers divided into smaller units and began raiding through the country. A fierce skirmish occurred just east of Vaiden, near "Briarwood" plantation, with General Grierson in command of the Union soldiers. The sick were treated and the dead buried by the Wilson family of "Briarwood." Due to the humaneness shown the Union wounded and dead, the remaining Union soldiers were ordered not to destroy "Briarwood." Because of the confusion and destruction resulting from the war, the identity of many of these Union and Confederate soldiers who were killed are unknown, but the burial plot remains, and interesting history is kept alive.

On one side of the cemetery's Confederate Memorial, is the inscription: "Dedicated to the Memory of the Confederate Soldiers, Known and Unknown, Who Gave Their Lives During the War for Southern Independence 1861-1865 and are Buried in this Cemetery."

Before the turn of the century, Joseph Vaiden Herring cared for the graves in this plot and many other graves in the cemetery, and through his interest, the Vaiden Chapter of the U.D.C. was organized. On memorial Day, the children would gather at the Courthouse, have a ceremony, and march to the cemetery to place flags and flowers on these 32 graves marked by a single brick.

Through the efforts of Mrs. Mable Wilson Bruce and the cooperation and support of interested citizens, the present marker was erected which bears the following inscription:
"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address."

A grave marker that causes many to stop and contemplate, bears this inscription: "My Husband, Sacred to the Memory of Joseph H. Harrell. Died March 31, 1859, age 27 yrs. 2 mo. and 29 days." All that is known about this man is that he is listed as a pharmacist among the early settlers of Shongalo. He died well over a century ago and his grave is in a lot surrounded by an iron fence. It is not known why his wife is not buried here but the beautiful marble monument that marks his grave is a visible expression of her deep sorrow. It is a carved lady, in a sitting position, bowed in grief. Local people refer to this grave as the one with "the Weeping Lady." For a closer look at the Weeping Lady, Click Here.

A smaller section of the cemetery, referred to as the Cain-McClurg section, joins the Shongalo section.

In the early 1900s, the Industrial Order of the Odd Fellows donated a plot, approximately one acre, adjoining this section. Many descendants of the older Shongalo-Vaiden families are buried in this section. Some family plots contain the graves of four generations.

When the next cemetery expansion became necessary, the latest addition, known as the Wright-Fullilove section was added.

In 1974, the Vaiden Garden Club spearheaded a drive for overall restoration of the cemetery. The chain link fence with four gates was completed during the first year at a cost of $4,026.71. The existing west fence was left for future expansion. The Odd Fellows and the Wright-Fullilove sections were joined by the removal of trees, stumps, and underbrush, grading and sodding. Many people gave time, work and money for this special improvement. A new retaining wall, new concrete steps, and the restoration of the antique fence have added much to the appearance of the cemetery. Other improvements are being planned. This work has been a labor of love.

A look at a century-old grave and then at a more recent one brings the feeling expressed by William Cullen Bryant: "All that breathe will share thy destiny."



Ground Photos


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Percy W. Kaigler Grave -- Died October 20, 1909

Cecil Kaigler and His Mother at the Kaigler Grave

Grave of Dr. C.E. Wright -- 1933

Dr. Vaiden's grave in the Vaiden Cemetery is marked with a $10,000 marble monument that bears his likeness. It was made and shipped from Italy.

In 1880, Dr. Vaiden's funeral was interrupted by a messenger shouting "horse thief." Several men left the service to catch the culprit. When apprehended, tha man pled starvation, and was not convicted. The $10,000 marble statue for Dr. Vaiden's grave was lost at sea off the east coast when the ship bringing it from Italy went down in a storm. The monument was salvaged from the shipwreck. A rumor still exists that, when Dr. Vaiden's monument was being transported to the cemetery, its sheer weight caused a bridge to collapse, almost losing the precious statue again. Papers throughout the state told of the loss of Vaiden's founder.


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Fallen Angel -- December 21, 1990


Before the Storm
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Vaiden Monument 1999



Aerial Photos


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Old Marker Photos # 1 -- Old Marker Photos # 2 -- Old Marker Photos # 3



Confederate Section


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Page II


Back Home Again . . .Page I




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Site Design and Compilation Copyright by Ron Collins. 2002.