UNKNOWN GRAVES CEMETERY

Provencal, Natchitoches Parish, LA


As pioneers moved into the western woodlands of Natchitoches Parish, LA, they left behind evidence of their passage through the vast forested acres: hand hewn cornerstones of abandoned dwellings, winding rutted wagon trails, a worn and chipped axe, a dented tin cooking pot. They left behind also burial plots of their loved ones who succumbed to life's travails.

Often these graves went unmarked; often they were marked only with a large rock, many of which crumbled and eroded over the years. Sometimes a small cedar tree was planted to mark the spot, the tree eventually melding into the surrounding forests. But the memories were kept and passed along in the oral family history.

And so two graves are marked along the side of Harmony Road, about four miles south of the town of Provencal, in Natchitoches Parish: two small rocks, a few wildflowers and a lettered sign erected in recent years: UNKNOWN GRAVES. No one living now seems to be able to give a name to these burials, but the spot is known, and respect is paid by various community residents and the parish highway workers who assisted in placing the sign and who keep the woods at bay.

Location: From Natchitoches, travel west on LA 6 to Hagewood, LA; turn south on Hwy 117, travel five miles to Provencal; continue on Hwy 117 about one mile to Harmony Road, marked by a Harmony Church sign. Travel southeast on Harmony Road for about three miles to the Harmony Church. The site of the Unknown Graves is about one mile past Harmony Church and Cemetery.


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****** Submitted by R.S. Liles, May 1998 ******

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