Marker dedicated to pioneering pastor
Soldier, storekeeper and newspaper editor. Josiah Boone proved a versatile man during his lifetime, but one vocation proved constant.
Local residents gathered at Rosehill Cemetery Saturday morning to erect a new headstone commemorating Boone and his service as a minister in the area. Notably, Boone founded Pearlhaven Baptist Church and served as its first pastor for two years.
“He was an incredible character, a man of faith and a man of purpose,” said the Rev. Anthony Yarborough, current pastor of Pearlhaven Baptist Church.
Boone was born in Pike County and enlisted in the Confederate Army. He was present at the siege of Vicksburg and was captured when the city fell. After the war, he enlisted into a different kind of service.
“He surrendered to be a soldier of the cross,” Yarborough said, describing Boone’s ministry.
Beyond his time at Pearlhaven, Boone pastored at churches throughout Lincoln, Lawrence and Pike counties. He was also deeply involved in the Fair River Baptist Association and with an association in Bogue Chitto.
Wilson Farhham, of Lawrence County, has been researching Boone since at least 2006. The site of Boone’s burial was lost, but the U.S. government will pay for a new marker for veterans if the proper documentation is provided.
Farnham was unable to locate the exact site of Boone’s remains, but could prove they were somewhere in Rosehill, which was sufficient to receive the marker.
Farnham has done the research for 25 veterans’ markers in the area, but Boone stood out.
“Being a minister, he was someone special,” Farnham said.
There was also a personal connection for Farnham. He attends Shiloh Baptist Church in Lawrence County, one of many area churches where Boone served as pastor.
Through his research, Farnham discovered the many ways Boone supported himself during his ministry. At one time, he ran a bookstore in Brookhaven where he sold schoolbooks and stationery. He’s known for giving away Bibles to any that could not afford one.
He also ran a newspaper out of Silver Creek for a while, the Silver Creek Star.
At his final residence in Wanilla in Lawrence County, Boone operated a store and a post office.
Farnham’s been researching genealogy since 2000, with emphasis on lost gravesites of area veterans.
“I try to remember them as fellow Mississippians and honorable men,” said Farnham.
His research has also taught him another lesson.
“History is everywhere,” Farnham said.