Project to dig up forgotten dead in Mississippi City Cemetery

History lies behind plenty of unmarked and covered up gravestones at the Mississippi Cemetery in Gulfport. A project is underway to identify the forgotten dead who are buried there.
News 25’s Gina Tomlinson shows us what the Historical Society of Gulfport and some of the other groups involved have uncovered.
Olga Halverson was born in Norway. She died in Gulfport in 1909. This is information and a name that may still be lost in time if it weren’t for recent research. Student researcher Hailey Ulrich said, “ She was recently married. She was 26-years-old and she died of typhoid in King’s Daughter Hospital in Gulfport and so she kind of became a favorite resident of mine of this cemetery.”
Olga is one of the names uncovered in a project to dig up the history behind the forgotten dead in the Mississippi City Cemetery. The cemetery is in Gulfport. Take a walk through and you’ll find plenty of unmarked graves and tombs half buried, lost in Gulfport’s past. Historical Society of Gulfport Co-founder Betty Shaw said, “Both African American and white people, all from all over the world because this was the melting pot of the world.”
Groups from the University of Southern Mississippi, the Historical Society of Gulfport, and Gulfport High School are just some of those involved in a project to compile records of all who are buried at the cemetery. “There was a young girl that was killed by a tornado in Mississippi City, we found a woman whose husband ran his car over a bridge and the rest of the family perished while he survived,” said Ulrich.
The groups are on a mission to find out how many names of the dead have disappeared into history. Researchers estimate there’s over 900 people buried at the cemetery. “The whole idea is to put them together in a digitized form, a website, a spreadsheet, so that research is accessible.”
“It’s a way of honoring some of these people that may not get a lot of attention over the years. They may not have a birth certificate, death certificate, all that they may have where their name shows up is on this headstone.”
Researchers hope to bring the history of the long forgotten dead back to life.

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