Hundreds buy plots in historic Ocean Springs cemetery - - The News for South Mississippi

Hundreds buy plots in historic Ocean Springs cemetery


Hundreds of people looking for the place they'd eventually like to be laid to rest were at a historic Ocean Springs cemetery on Saturday. The graves at the picturesque Evergreen Cemetery date back to pre-Civil War. In the past, the city has offered very limited burial space but hundreds of plots were for sale through a lottery system.

For Melba Harris and her husband, purchasing burial plots in Evergreen Cemetery is about knowing when they pass away they'll be placed next to family.

"It's about time to be thinking about that," said Harris. "David Harris is my husband and his parents are here. So we'd kind of like to be together."

Evergeen dates back to 1854. For years Ocean Springs officials said demand for plots has been high but the availability has been low because of uncertainty about where unmarked graves might be located. So crews used sonar technology and found 350 available spaces that could be sold. City officials said about 200 people entered a lottery to determine who would have first choice.

City Clerk Shelly Ferguson said, "We started this in April of 2011. We started having it sonared and then surveyed and mapped. We're finally ready to sell and it's been rewarding to finally do this for the people of Ocean Springs because they've asked for it for a long time."

Hayden and Sandy Dent don't have relatives buried in Evergreen. However, the couple said they have spent so much of their lives in Ocean Springs they want to continue to be here after their deaths.

"It's a really beautiful cemetery and they just don't have many opportunities to get spots here," said Hayden Dent.

Sandy Dent said, "We've been in Ocean Springs for 20 years so we wanted to have a cemetery plot here and we're just looking for something that has room for our kids so we wanted four plots."

Although picking out their own graves might be uncomfortable for some people, those at the cemetery said they understand the reality of their mortality.

Tessie Batten came with her husband Phillip. "Dying is part of living. I don't think it's weird at all. It would take a lot of the worries from our children," said Batten.  "This is a beautiful spot. See the water behind your and all the live oaks and the century old cedar trees. I mean what better spot."

Ocean Springs officials said once the people who entered in the lottery have selected their plots, the rest of the urn and burial plots will be up for sale.

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