Kirksville, Louisiana
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Entrance to walled section

Just a few hundred yards south of Osyka, Mississippi, after crossing the border into the state of Louisiana on U.S. Highway 51, stands a small sign designating the entrance to German Cemetery Road. The cemetery, which has seen better days, is the only known remnant of the little town of Kirksville, Louisiana which stood near this spot of forested land around the turn of the 20th century.

The Jewish community in nearby Osyka was probably established in 1854, the year the railroad from New Orleans reached Osyka. The community was obviously hit hard by the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1878. The town of Kirksville bordered the railroad and it is believed that the town grew up around a sawmill once located there. When the sawmill closed, those people who were left moved away.


Within the boundaries of the German Cemetery stands a walled and gated section containing graves of what is presumed to be former Jewish residents of the area, including natives of Alsace. Many of the stones have epitaphs in Hebrew and bear such names as Simon Cohn, Samuel and Harriet Wolf, Moses and Sara Heuman, Emile Cahn, and Hannah Levy. Others are noted below.

Although the sawmill, the inhabitants and the town are gone, the stones within the walled section of the cemetery bear silent witness to what is believed to have once been a large Jewish population in Kirksville.

Burials in the Jewish section include: Lehmann Dryfous, born at Duppigheim Elsass in 1855, died October 1878; Isaiah Cerf, born at Haguenau Alsace May 15 1823, died at Osyka, Mississippi October 7, 1878; Lazar Wolf, born at Buchsweiler Alsace in 1826; Samuel Wolf, born at Buchsweiler, Alsace; Ernestine Young, nee Grunau, born in Germany May 8 1861, died October 5, 1900.

[Sources for some of the information above: Deanna Dowell - Covington, Louisiana; Chuck Sanders - KSU.]

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