St. Savior Cemetery, Natchitoches Parish Site Visit

Our class met Ashley Constance  at the church cemetery, which is her thesis-project site. She is working with the church to both map and clean up the cemetery.

The site is the African American Baptist cemetery referred to on RootsWeb www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~lanatchi/cemetery.htm It is the cemetery associated with the church on the east bank of the Cane River at 137 John Gains Rd, off of Hwy. 494.

St Savior Cemetery at a distance

St Savior Cemetery at a distance

Ashely said that the church cemetery dated to “the late 1800s,” but I didn’t see any marked graves that corroborate this claim. Most of the stones indicated burial dates ranging from the 1940s-1980s. Perhaps the earlier graves used wooden markers or the stones have been completely destroyed.  The Church and graveyard land were purportedly built on land that was donated or bequeathed by a white man. I look forward to hearing corroborated interpretation of the site.

Mitchell headstone

Mitchell headstone

Ed Mitchell headstone with lamb

Ed Mitchell headstone with lamb

The site visit provided an opportunity to see a downriver black protestant cemetery.

an angel on either side of the headstone

an angel on either side of the headstone

Ashley explains the use of the Trimble

Ashley explains the use of the Trimble

Ashley showed us how she uses the Trimble to map each gravesite. But the visit left more questions than answers: 1.) Was the church and grave-site built after the donation of land, or was there a history of usufruct predating the donation? If the latter is true, then what was the relation of the donor to the congregation?

2.) Why is the sole fenced-in grave site in such disrepair?The site's only fenced grave

3.) Did the Church conduct river baptisms in Cane River Lake?

4.) What is the relationship, if any, to this and the other St. Savior Church?

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