Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Friday, April 3, 2009

Froggie's Friday Book Review - Shadows of a Chapel

Late last year, I wrote a post that appeared on another blog, Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek entitled, Henry Grey Vick - Almost a Bridegroom. Although the post was primarily about the love story of Henry and his betrothed, Helen Johnstone, and Henry's death and burial, it also included some history of The Chapel of the Cross in Madison County, Mississippi. While searching for information about Helen, her family, and Annandale Plantation, the Johnstone family home, I discovered an online book, Shadows of a Chapel, written about the chapel and the family that built it. Actually, the book was researched and compiled by Glenn S. Smith, a parishioner at The Chapel of the Cross, and written in its final form by Jan S. Warner.

First printed in the U. S. in 1994, the book comprises less than 30 pages, but it provides a well-researched and well-written history of the Johnstone family's involvement in early Madison County, beginning with its settlement in the county after the family's migration from North Carolina to Mississippi. A major portion of the book tells the history and background of The Chapel of the Cross, including photographs of the chapel, both old and new, that are used to tell the unique story of why the chapel was built, how it was involved in the lives of families living in that part of Madison County, and how the chapel has survived throughout the years. Also included in the book is the beautiful, but tragic, love story of Helen Johnstone and Henry Vick. Copies of exquisite old photographs of both Annandale and Ingleside assist the reader in understanding the size and magnificence of life in the Deep South during the 1800s.

Smith and Warner have successfully memorialized a significant portion of Madison County's history within the pages of Shadows of a Chapel. And I encourage you to read this book to discover the history and to understand the mystery that has surrounded The Chapel of the Cross for almost 150 years.

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