Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Drane Family of French Camp, Mississippi

My readers are absolutely wonderful, and many continue to share information and photos of their ancestors with me. Sharing of information was something I had hoped for when I began this blog, and I have never been disappointed. Several months ago, a reader contacted me about a post I had written about one of her ancestors, Colonel James Drane. But before I go any further with this story, I need to provide some background.

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about Colonel James Drane, who lived near French Camp on the Natchez Trace. The post came about as a result of a name that appeared on the marriage record that I had found on file in Yalobusha County, Mississippi a few years earlier for my great-great-grandmother. The document named "Jim Drane" as the individual who had posted a bond for the marriage of "Mrs. M.V. Merriweather to her second husband, Newell Autry Felts. Since I had very little information at the time about Melvertie Merriweather Felts, I wondered if Jim Drane might be a relative, and began a search for Drane family information. Some time later, I found that "Jim Drane" on the marriage record was the son of Colonel James Drane. And later, I wrote a brief post about Colonel Drane and what I believed to be his burial place.

The reader who contacted me a couple of weeks ago is a great-great-great-granddaughter of Colonel James Drane, descending through Colonel Drane's son, Virgil. She was kind enough to tell me the full story of how Colonel Drane's grave monument, along with the monument that marked the grave of Matilda, his wife, had been re-located to French Camp and how new grave stones now mark the sites where the bodies are actually buried. She also included photos of the original Drane grave monuments and of the new grave stones. The new stones, located near where the old Drane house once stood, are inscribed with the same words that were on the old stones.

A new grave stone now marks the grave of Colonel Drane near the old home site.

New grave stone that marks the grave of Matilda Drane, wife of Colonel Drane, who is also buried near the old Drane home site.

The photo of the plaque on this fence was also supplied by my reader, who told me the story of the grave sites of approximately 25 slaves buried along the fence and a nearby tree line. Although objections were raised by some, the rough-hewn gray stones that marked these old graves were moved by the new owner after the sale of the land where the old Drane home site was located. A new house now stands near where the old Drane house once stood.

This is a photo of the original grave monuments that marked the actual graves of Colonel Drane and Matilda Drane near the old Drane home site. The Drane House and the original grave monuments were removed from the old home site around 1981 and are now located in French Camp on the Natchez Trace.


  1. Do you have an address for the new tombstone site, where the house is or the fence is? How can we go see these tombstones? What do they call the cemeteries involved? Did they just plow the slave graves under?

  2. The two obliques (tombstones) are next to the Drane house which was moved to French Camp, MS from Bankston, MS. There is a parking area off of the Natchez Trace at French Camp where you can see the house and the markers. I have a small section of the cast iron fence that originally surrounded the family plot. Re the slaves... I seriously doubt that their graves were plowed under as I understand Mississippi law protects cemetery plots.
    Col. James Drane's Great-great-great grandson,
    James DAVIS Drane Mauldin
    Sewanee, Tennessee