These scanned documents were prepared by Eugene P. Leftwich of Gunnison, MS. Mr. Leftwich was married to an Arnold whose great-great grandfather donated the land for the Arnold Cemetery. Mr. Leftwich physically researched the cemetery in 1961, 1977 and 1979. In December 2004, I physically attempted to photograph the headstones that were visible. The cemetery is now, once again, completely overgrown, sitting in the middle of a cotton field with no access from the road. Several stones are overturned and many are buried under years of overgrowth.
On April 28, 1978, the State of Mississippi Department of Archives and History officially certified the historical significance of the Arnold Cemetery and declared it abandoned. I have also included a scanned copy of the document declaring it so.
This cemetery is located three miles southeast of Gunnison, MS traveling by black top and gravel road. It is located in Section 21, Township 24 North, Range 7 West. It is enclosed with a wire fence. Entrance to the cemetery is on the south side a few feet beyond an old towering oak tree. There is an iron gate four feet high and eleven feet wide. This gate is/was partially opened so that entry could be gained. There were at one time a total of eighteen (18) cedar trees growing at the cemetery. Some are now gone and others are in danger of falling.
The following is an excerpt from Mr. Leftwich’s records describing the origin of the cemetery.
In 1854, William Washington Arnold and his family moved from Vicksburg to Bolivar County. With their neighbors’ help, they established the first Baptist church in Bolivar County, MS about 1856. This church was also used as a schoolhouse.
W. W. Arnold gave an acre of land adjacent to the church for a cemetery, now known as the Cora Overby Arnold Cemetery. On February 14, 1862, this same W. W. Arnold was buried in the center of the cemetery he had donated. He was the first one buried there. Portions of his tombstone are imbedded in the ground and read thus:
Born July 1, 1813
He bore the cross on earth
To wear the crown in Heaven
Erected by his children.
The oldest date of birth found on the tombstones in the Arnold Cemetery is 1795 at the grave of Henry Temple. The latest date of burial is 1948, found at the graves of Eunice Logan Arnold and Oscar J. Cobb.