Longtime Gulfport resident searching for missing piece of history

Longtime Gulfport resident searching for missing piece of history

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Eighty-year-old Marion Booth has lived on Landon Rd. her entire life. Growing up in the area known as 'Side Camp' has given her great memories, including one that she forgot until recently.

After doing an oral report about her history for a Tulane course (yes, the 80-year-old attends college), Marion remembered the place known as Landon Cemetery. The octogenarian also remembered that she hadn't seen it in a long time.

"I'm 80 years old and when I come in to knowing, the cemetery was there," said Marion. "We know it's there, we know because we have personal family members and friends that are buried there. We know this, but we can't find it."

According to Marion, the cemetery is at least 100 years old and contains at least as many people; including close family and friends she desperately wants to find. The only problem - there's no official record of the cemetery, only the memories of long time residents like Marion and her friend Liz Rizzo.

Liz recalled fond memories of playing pranks on her friends on the grounds.

"The cemetery was very old, so a lot of the graves were caved in," said Rizzo. "I would lead them to the ones that were caved in, and they would fall into the place that was caved in, and I would leave them."

The cemetery was long forgotten after the Monroe plots opened up the road in 1955. Because the Landon Cemetery was no longer being used, it was no longer being kept up. The burial grounds eventually vanished into the woods.

Several of Marion's family members have gone to the general area multiple times with no success.

"It's mostly down trees, lots of limbs, rotted trees, brambles and trash. It's so thick that we probably need a path cut through there to get back to where we need to go," said Dr. Sandra Walker, Marion's daughter.

After racking Liz's brain, some believe they may have have honed in on the area.

"We need to rediscover it so that we can fix the place where people were buried. It's sacred ground," said Marion.

The family plans to go back out to the area on Saturday morning.

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