Several weeks ago, Aubrey Wren, a reader, contacted me about an abandoned cemetery in Madison County, Mississippi. Mr. Wren was kind enough to email me detailed information about the location of this old cemetery, as well as photos of three gravestones and transcriptions of the inscriptions on the stones. These old and weathered gravestones mark the burial places of four members of the Barwick family. The information and photos provided by Mr. Wren can be viewed on my other blog, Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek.
According to my contact, the cemetery is on church property, about 200 yards of Cauthen Road, near Highway 43. The area is fairly remote, with timber activity on pieces of property nearby. Although Mr. Wren is not familiar with the family name on the gravestones, he has been a faithful steward of this small cemetery he discovered. A couple of times a year, Mr. Wren tends the small burial place by cutting back the grass and removing brush from around the gravestones. Since the cemetery area is about 40 feet by 60 feet, Wren believes the cemetery likely contains more graves, but to date, he has found no other markers.
But who was this Barwick family whose graves have been abandoned for years? I decided that I wanted to know more, so I decided to do a little research to find out. Census records available on Ancestry.com seemed to be the first place to search, and that is where I began. According to the U. S. Census recorded in 1850, Henry K. Barwick, 35, and his wife, Jane, 33, were counted in the Richland District of South Carolina. Residing in the Barwick household were four children, William B. 10, Virginia E., 7, Henrietta A., 5, and Cornelia J., 1 year old. Next, I searched the 1860 U. S. Census and found H. K. Barwick and his family living in Madison County with a post office address of "Canton," the county seat and not far from the abandoned cemetery. The census record showed that H. K. Barwick was a 45 year old planter and the head of a Madison County household in which he lived with five females named Mary, age 27, Virginia, age 18, Cornelia, 11, Alice, 5, and Jane, age 3. Barwick was a wealthy man for the time, with real and personal property valued at $25,500. Although relationships were not shown on the 1860 census, it seems fairly safe to assume that Mary Barwick was H. K. Barwick's second wife. That assumption is validated by the gravestone in the abandoned cemetery bearing the name of Jane M. Barwick, who died September 16, 1853. According to the inscription on the stone, Jane's 12 day old infant daughter, Margaret Eleanor, is buried at her side.
While the two oldest children in the household, Virginia and Cornelia, were born to H. K. Barwick's marriage to Jane, it seems reasonable to assume the two youngest daughters, Alice and Jane, had been born during his second marriage to Mary and that three year old Jane most certainly was named for her father's deceased first wife. Further information about the Barwick family is substantiated by the second gravestone belonging to Mary Barwick. According to the inscription on the stone, Mary Barwick was born on May 22, 1783 and died on February 27, 1853, and was the mother of H. K. Barwick. The third gravestone pictured on Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek is inscribed with the name of W. B. Barwick (William B., according to the 1850 U. S. Census), showing that he was born on June 12, 1840 and died on December 17, 1868.
Tomorrow: The Barwick Family of Madison County, Mississippi - Part 2