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Foundation forms to benefit Rose Hill

DAILY LEADER / JOSH TILTON / Brookhaven officials recently erected this official historical marker obtained through the Mississippi Department of Archives

DAILY LEADER / JOSH TILTON / Brookhaven officials recently erected this official historical marker obtained through the Mississippi Department of Archives

Rose Hill cemetery holds in its grounds the heritage and history of many Brookhaven residents, and now a recently assembled Rosehill Cemetery Restoration Foundation is looking to refurnish the derelict landmark.

The cemetery has been falling into disrepair over the last few years, as the many branches of the graveyard, separated largely by religious background, were beginning to succumb to age and neglect. However, the organization has already begun fixing up the place by constructing an overhanging gate reading “ROSEHILL” for the previously unlabeled cemetery.

Karen Sullivan, Alderman at Large for the city of Brookhaven, heads up the organization.

“These enhancements have sparked an interest in restoring the cemetery and making it a place of beauty, a place that Brookhaven residents can really be proud to have,” Sullivan said. “The response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

The organization, proposed at an organizational committee in September 2014, states its purpose is to: “Assist the city of Brookhaven, Mississippi, in caring for the cemetery and working with families whose ancestors and family members are buried in Rosehill Cemetery.” Along those lines, the organization is also focused on promoting community awareness, unity, and upkeep.

In order to make tangible upgrades to the cemetery, prioritization is a necessity. The organization’s first goal is to raise funds through membership drives and fundraisers. Membership dues, at $25 dollars annually, are a vital component of financial backing for the project. Private donations are also a means to acquire funds for the organization.

“The Master Gardeners also sell engraved memorial benches that may be placed in the cemetery near a loved one’s grave for $500,” Sullivan said. “That is also true for any of the city’s cemeteries. Several of these benches can be seen at Easthaven Cemetery. That money is used to enhance whatever cemetery the donor designates.”

After the funds have been raised, the goals shift to more visible achievements, such as:

• Installing an iron fence across the front of the cemetery.

• Replacing the existing fence.

• Installing fences where there are none.

• Taking down a fence that separates groups.

• Landscaping.

• Naming streets in the cemetery for better location and directions for visitors.

• Restoring damaged markers.

• Identifying and marking unnamed graves.

Becoming a member of the Rose Hill Cemetery Restoration Foundation is as simple as paying the individual annual fee, paying for a household membership at $40 or paying for a Corporate Membership at $100 annually.  Sullivan invites all “those with relatives or friends buried there as well as those just interested in having a beautiful, 22-acre memorial park that is so visible.”

The organization welcomes anyone’s support, whether by backing the group with a donation or by liking them on their Facebook page.