Gayle and I are continuing our trip down the Natchez Trace in Mississippi. We came to the ghost town of Rocky Springs. The town began in 1790, growing up around a rocky spring. Abundant, clean water was important for people, animals and crops. By 1860, the town boundary included 25 square miles, about half the size of Grand Rapids MI. The town had stores, a school and four doctors. The combinatiion of the Civil War, yellow fever and the destructive boll weevil brought a steady decliine to the town.
Very liittle remains of the town. Through the years, they have kept up the Methodist Church, which goes back to at least 1837 and is a remnant of the Methodist circuit-riders that planted churches throughout a large portion of the U.S. The church was open. I went in and played a few notes on the old piano. The old, dark brown pews captured the light of the fading late afternoon sunshine coming in through the wiindows. The church had electricity and there were two space heaters. A service is held here on the last Sunday of each month. There was a small box for donations to maintain the church.
It was iinteresting to read the gravestones in the cemetery. Births went back into the early 1800s. You could tell that only because old gravestones had been replaced with newer ones. The old ones were too weathered to read. You had to look hard to find someone who had lived to age 60. So many childred died so young and so many teens and young adults. I remembered my great-grandfather, who died just after his 29th birthday of a disease that would be easily treatable today.
Besides the church and the cemetery, there isn’t much left. There were several cisterns that had been covered with metal grates. I dropped a stone down one to see how deep iit was. There were also two safes that were left from the town bank(s). Over the decades, nature had reclaimed the area. You couldn’t really tell where there would have been buildings and roads.
A final bit of irony…after the last people left, the spring also dried up. You can walk to where the spring was. Even the rocks from Rocky Springs are hard to find.