During February of this year my cousin, Tommy Wixon, and I began looking for a brick mason to rebuild two of the four brick vaults within the Marsalis Cemetery. Since we weren’t very successful, Tommy contacted the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in Jackson, Mississippi for possible suggestions. They provided us with the name of Michael Davidson who turns out to be a Scottish-trained master brick mason conservator. After visiting the cemetery he agreed to do the work. He not only rebuilt two of the vaults but also repaired the broken tombstones and reset them at the proper graves. Pictures of his work are attached. Visitors to the cemetery have been very impressed with the work as have we. I would personally recommend Michael to anyone interested in historical preservation and restoration.
Several examples of Michael’s prior work are as follows:
1. Renovation projects at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
2. Cathedral of St. John the Devine in New York City.
3. Salem Witch Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.
Michael’s contact information is as follows:
Address: P.O. Box 873
We are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Since January 2011, we have cleared the site, with the help of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, and completely enclosed the site with chain link fencing. All of the graves have been surveyed. If anyone would like a copy of the plat, it will be made available to interested parties. This year we have had two of the brick vaults rebuilt, the sunken graves have been filled and broken headstones repaired and put back in place. There are no stones for the graves of Peter Hutchins and Mary Magdeline Marsalis, John Henry and Mary Marsalis (children of James and Dorcas Marsalis) and Robert Brown and Phoebe Marsalis Dickey, and will have to be purchased. We have had several donations toward the purchase of stones but we are still in need of monies to complete the final plans of the cemetery. We have had some very generous donations in the past, however, with the cost of fencing, surveying, and vault and stone repair the coffers are very low. Any contributions toward the purchase of the stones will be greatly appreciated.
Pictures showing the original condition of the cemetery prior to starting the project were placed on the web page sometime ago. Pictures showing the condition as of the middle of May 2012 are attached with this progress report. The cemetery is to be visited this Monday, June 18, 2012, and additional pictures will be posted upon our return which will show the repaired headstones.
A dedication will be held once the heat of the summer is over. Information regarding the dedication will be posted on the web page.