Welcome to The Brandon Children

On the weekend of Mother's Day, 2006, myself, my sister, and my mother made a trip out to the Natchez Trace to do some exploring and sight-seeing. The very first thing we stumbled upon touched us so deeply that the rest of our excusions paled in comparison.

Just off the Trace we found a small cemetery surrounded by a beautiful wrought-iron fence and ringed with somber oaks. As we marveled at the beauty of the elaborate tombstones, we realized we were looking at the graves of a single, ill-starred couple's children; nearly every grave bore their names marking the children as their own.

Seven youths lay interred in this peaceful, yet sorrowful, place and it left a deep impact on each of us. We returned again the next day and lay a peach rose on each grave.

I became determined to learn who these children, and their luckless parents, were. I wanted to know what had taken their young lives, and how they came to rest in this small, unmarked cemetery off the Natchez Trace. It bore no name, no mention on our tour map, or along the road which it sat a ways back from.

All I had were names and dates, and so began my journey to learn what had become of the Brandon Children. The fruits of my research gave birth to this site.

I'm sure others have been as touched by the lovely, little cemetery - surrounded by strong oaks like a mother's embrace - as we were. Who could not be moved by the brokenhearted yet beautiful verses a grieving mother wrote and had etched into each grave? For those that wanted to know more, as we did, I am sharing the information I have found.

- Shanna Riley (click to contact)

If you would like to see all of the photos I took of the cemetery during my trip there, you may view my Brandon Hall Cemetery Set at Flickr.



On Nov 11 2008, my mother, sister, and I made a return to trip to Brandon Hall Cemetery and visited Natchez City Cemetery. New photos were taken and new discoveries made. To learn more, visit the Return Trip page.

This site was last updated on March 3, 2017