Rowland Cemetery, Benton County Mississippi
Rowland Cemetery

Benton Co., Mississippi

Capt. Robert William Smith's Grave

Back in the woods in the northeast quadrant of the intersection of highway 72 and Pottery Road is an old abandoned cemetery. No one has been buried here since 1919 and until recently even people living near it did not know its official name. It is carpeted with periwinkle and said to be beautiful when in bloom. The cemetery is not easy to find and there is no road leading to it.

This land was once a part of about 1000 acres owned by Robert William Smith, a wealthy man from Virginia who owned 67 slaves at the time of the 1860 census. The area was known as Smith's Grove. Robert's house was once about a half a mile north of the cemetery. When the Civil War began, Robert's son, John Waverly was attending Virginia University. He enlisted in Co. E 13th Tenn. Infantry and was wounded in the right shoulder at Richmond, KY 30 Aug. 1862. He came home and after recovering for six months, joined Forrest's Cavalry, becoming Lt. Col. of the 18th Mississippi Cavalry. Sons Richard Edward and Marion Skipwith also enlisted at the beginning of the war and were in the 18th Mississippi Cavalry as well. Robert did not immediately join himself. During the winter of 1862 and 1863 some Yankee looters came to his house demanding food. Robert told them he had given them all he had and that they should return to camp. They tried to force their way into the house and in the ensuing scuffle, Robert killed at least one of them. Robert immediately sent his wife and small children to neighbor's and went to join up with his son's unit. That night the Yankees returned and burned his house. Robert was made Captain of Co. D of the 18th Mississippi Cavalry. His son Richard was 1st Lt. and son Marion a private in his company. Robert was killed in a battle on Yellow Rabbit Creek just south of Ashland and near what is now the border of Benton and Tippah County 1 May 1863.

A part of the cemetery is enclosed with a wire fence and contains all of the Rowlands buried there. William T. Roland, son of Charles, served in Co. D of the 18th Mississippi Cavalry and is buried in the Rowland section of the cemetery. Another son, Joseph E. Rowland was also in Co. D but is not buried in this cemetery.

There was a Smith family reunion held in 1998 and they placed a government marker on Robert's grave. After the war R.E and M.S and R.G. moved west. They were the first settlers of what is now Sterling CO. Later M.S returned to Grand Junction TN. Over the years the Smith had lost contact with each other and were reunited through genealogy. They were able to meet at the family reunion. Another reunion is planned for Labor Day 2003 at which they will discuss a book on the Smith family.

This land was recently purchased by Sammy Bell ( ) of Ashland. Sammy contacted me and told me of the cemetery and said he would like to know more about the people buried on his land. I was able to visit the cemetery while on vacation in April 2003 and took two pictures before the batteries in my camera ran down.

Marker placed  on  the grave of  Capt. Robert W. Smith at a Smith Family  Reunion in  1998

Andrews, Benjamin, 08/15/1882, 08/22/1882, (family stone)
Andrews, Dollie Rowland, 08/29/1873, 08/25/1907, Gone home to heaven where there is no more sorrow (family stone)
Andrews, Joseph, 08/15/1882, 08/15/1882, Come to me saith the Lord for such is the kingdom of heaven (family stone)
Fite, Dau, , 10/05/1875, dau of W.R. & Letitia (Bogard) Rosebuds are sweet thought they never bloom this one lies beneath the tomb
Fite, Son, 01/17/1877, 04/02/1877, age 2 mos 20 days infant son of W.R. & Letitia (Bogard) Our darling one hath gone before us to greet us on the blissful Shore
Hunter, Morton F., 06/03/1879, 08/23/1879, Infant of L. J(erome) & L(illian) V. (Smith) Hunter [1]
Jackson, Franklin E., 02/25/1852, 08/23/1853, son of G.B. & M.F. aged 1 yr 5 mos 21 days
Jackson, George B., 10/19/1823, 12/17/1871
Jackson, Margarette, 02/22/1823, 02/09/1855, To the memory of... She is not dead but sleeping
Mixon, Kirk Owen, , 10/16/1854, son of Wm. & Sarah H. 2 yrs 7 mos 23 days
Rowland, Charles, 01/14/1814, 12/25/1862, To wife and children I must leave you leave yes leave you all alone but my blested Saviour calls me to a heavenly home calls me
Rowland, Charles J.,11/26/1870,09/10/1877, Rowland family stone
Rowland, Charles W., 07/26/1846, 03/01/1877, Rowland family stone
Rowland, Edgar L., 12/24/1874, 09/16/1877, Rowland family stone
Rowland, L. B., 03/26/1880, 10/29/1901, At home
Rowland, L. H., 07/05/1841, 03/08/1919, at rest
Rowland, Lucy M., 03/18/1876,08/05/1880, Rowland family stone
Rowland, Nancy R., 06/15/1872,10/09/1877, Rowland family stone
Rowland, Sally M.R. Witten, 02/09/1844, 06/25/1907, Rowland family stone
Rowland, W. A., 03/24/1865, 03/01/1888, Gone home
Rowland, W. T., 12/17/1837, 02/20/1911, Death has lost its sting and the grave has victory
Smith, Edward, , 11/13/1889, 1 yr 5 mo 17 days sons of J.E. & Ida (marker with infant) [3]
Smith, Infant dau., 01/01/1878, age 10 days infant dau. of J(ohn) W(averly) & T. E(lizabeth) Smith [2]
Smith, Infant dau, 12/17/1892, 01/08/1893, dau. of J.E. & Ida
Smith, Infant sons, 08/28/1890, 08/28/1890, sons of J.E. & Ida (marker with Edward)
Smith, Robert W., 06/10/1817, 05/01/1863, Capt. 18 Miss. Cav. Confederate States Army

[1] Lillian V. Smith was the daughter of Robert W. and Dorothy Ann Smith. She married Rev. Jerome L. Hunter Nov 13, 1873 in Benton Co. Lillian and Jerome are buried in Grand Junction Cemetery, TN.
[2] John Waverly was the son of Robert and Dorothy and is buried in Grand Junction Cemetery, TN.
[3] Ida Smith, daughter of Robert and Dorothy married J.E. Smith Dec 14, 1873 in Benton Co. MS., buried Grand Junction Cemetery, TN.

1860 Tippah Co. MS census of the Robert Smith family:
1308   Robert Smith        43  M Farm  64,000/95,000   Va.
D(orothy) A(nn) 40 F Va.
R(ichard) E(dward) 20 M Va.
Emma 18 F Tenn.
J(ohn) W(averly) 18 M Tenn.
M(arion) S(kipwith) 16 M Tenn.
Robert G(raves) 12 M Tenn.
L(illian) V. 8 F Tenn.
Ida 5 F Tenn.

Members of the Smith family buried in Grand Junction Cemetery, TN
Smith, Col. J.W.                   5 May 1842-2 Dec 1909
Smith, Elizabeth T. 11 Nov 1846-22 Jul 1911 (w/o Col. J.W.)
Smith, Dorothy Ann 23 Nov 1818-17 May 1903 w/o Capt. Robert W. Smith
Smith, Ida "Muddie" 9 Apr 1857-22 Mar 1948 w/o James E. Smith
Smith, Marion S. 24 Feb 1844-7 Jul 1910 h/o Martha Perkins Smith
Smith, Martha Perkins 16 May 1847-17 Jun 1922 d/o R.C. & M.O. Perkins w/o Marion S. Smith
Hunter, Lillian Smith 17 Feb 1852-8 Aug 1927 w/o Rev. Jerome L. Hunter
Hunter, Rev. Jerome L. 14 May 1851-7 Mar 1922 born VA h/o Lillian Smith Hunter

1880 Census of the John Waverly Smith Family, Hardeman Co., TN
Name          Relationship Marital Sex Race Age Born Occupation     Father Mother
Status Born Born
J. W. SMITH Self M M W 38 VA Farming VA VA
T. E. Wife M F W 34 TN Keeping House NC TN
Irene Dau S F W 12 TN At Home VA TN
Walter Son S M W 10 MS At Home VA TN
Gaither Son S M W 9 MS At Home VA TN
Ethel Dau S F W 7 MS At Home VA TN
Edward Son S M W 5 MS At Home VA TN
Florance Dau S F W 4 MS At Home VA TN
Dau S F W 4 MS At Home VA TN

Pictures of the Smith Family

Capt. Robert William Smith

Dorothy Ann Smith

Lt. Col. John Waverly Smith

Pvt. Marion Skipwith Smith

My thanks to Charlotte Holloway who allowed me to use her Grand Junction Cemetery informtion. You can find other Hardeman County Cemeteries in the archives at