As I neared the top of the hill where the earliest burials at Hillcrest began, I immediately was drawn to a family plot that contained the grave sites of members of the Nelson Family. The plot was surrounded by a wrought iron fence, rusty but still in fairly good condition. Based on the substantial size of the monuments located in the plot, I thought the Nelson family must have been among the more prosperous citizens of Goodman around the turn of the twentieth century.
But what really caught my eye was the word "Denmark," inscribed on the markers, which told me that Nelson family members had been born in Denmark. The fact that someone buried in Holmes County, Mississippi, in the very small hamlet of Goodman, was born in Denmark is significant. Of the hundreds of thousands of people who migrated through Mississippi during the 1800s in their search for land and new lives, the Nelson family would be in a very small minority of settlers who would have been born in Denmark.
How and why the Nelson family would have chosen Holmes County and Goodman as a place to settle fascinated me, to say the least, and I wanted to know more. So I photographed the gravestones of those buried inside and near the family plot, including Carlotta's. Those photographs led me on a research journey that ended just this week. I hope you will follow me here as I tell Carlotta's story.
Next: Carlotta Nelson's Beginnings