Gulfport man discovers a 95-year-old tombstone in his backyard - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport man discovers a 95-year-old tombstone in his backyard

Gravestone from 1919 found in Gulfport. (Photo source: WLOX News) Gravestone from 1919 found in Gulfport. (Photo source: WLOX News)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Gulfport resident Charles Gay was searching for driftwood in the canal behind his home Sunday when he came across something he never expected to find. Underneath a few tree limbs and some leaves was a gravestone from 1919.

"I just thought maybe it was a piece of granite from somebody's decoration," Charles Gay said, "but I got a little closer and it had a name and time of birth and time of death."

The words still as clear as when it was etched in the concrete 95-years-ago, it reads Mamie, wife of J.P. Ross, born November 11, 1881, died February 9, 1919. Below the dates is a short poem, Gay wiped off part of the mud and read, "Like a flower she passed away, destroyed in all her bloom."

Near the tombstone Gay found two more concrete blocks, one read Ross, the other did not have any words.

"Looks like where they put a flower or vase something like that because it has a divot right here," Gay said.

Gay could hardly believe what he found and his family was quite shocked too when he told them about his discovery.  

Gay's stepson, 12-year-old Conner Bates said, "I thought he was playing at first and then when I found out it was real I was freaking out."

"I thought it was an actual marker that you write with, but it wasn't. It was a cemetery marker," 10-year-old Rebecca Bates said.

Several searches online led WLOX News to find Mamie Ross with the same birth date and death date, according to FamilySearch.org Ross was buried in Coalville Cemetery which is ten miles from Gay's home.

As the mystery deepens into how the tombstone ended up in Gay's yard, he hopes to locate Ross's relatives and give the tombstone back.

"I know if it was my family member I'd want someone to let me know about it so that way we can put it back where it goes, put it back wherever she may be," Gay said.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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