Chapel of the Cross, Madison County, MS
We had the opportunity to visit The Chapel of the Cross in Madison County earlier this week. The church is by far one of the most beautiful in the state. Consecrated on September 19, 1852, the Chapel thrived for the next ten years, holding services regularly and providing religious education to all. Many, both slave and free, were baptized, confirmed, and buried at the Chapel. All worshipped together each Sunday. The Chapel survived the Civil War with only a loss of dignity—its bell was melted down for Confederate bullets. In the years after the Civil War, however, the Chapel began a slow decline that would last for fifty years. It suffered from bouts of neglect and abandonment until it was finally declared extinct by the Diocese of Mississippi in 1904. The Johnstone persuaded the Episcopal Dioceses of Mississippi to reactivate the Chapel in 1911, and the Chapel opened its doors once again.
It’s also carries one of the most famous ghost stories in the state with it as well. Helen Johnstone was Henry Vick became engaged to be married in 1857, with the day set for May 21, 1859. Vick was subsequently killed in a duel in Mobile, Alabama on May 17, 1859. His body was brought back to Annandale and buried in the churchyard to the rear of the church. It is claimed in the story that the ghost of Helen now weeps at his grave. This beautiful, peaceful location is a diamond among historic locations in our state.