The Unusual Grave of Florence Ford

On the banks of the Mississippi River in Natchez City Cemetery is a gravestone that's the most unusual one in Mississippi. Florence Irene Ford was 10 years old when she died in 1871 of Yellow Fever, the viral disease spread by mosquito bites that ravaged the South during the Civil War. Not much is known about Florence, but one thing that her mother revealed was that she was terrified of thunder and lightning, running to seek comfort from her mother whenever storms began to roll in. That’s why Ellen Ford, Florence’s mother, asked that a small window be put in her daughter’s coffin and a set of stairs installed that would lead down into the casket. From then on, when thunderstorms threatened, Ellen would go to her daughter’s tombstone and go six feet below and into the grave of little Florence. A metal trap door covered the narrow stairway, built to protect Ellen from the elements. Although Ellen is long gone, the special gravestone has been looked after, and in the 1950s a small concrete wall was added, covering the glass in the coffin to prevent vandalism.