Queen Kelly

Last month on the way back from Jackson, I stopped in Meridian at Rose Hill Cemetery where the Royal Roma Mitchell family is (they’re seriously Roma royalty).

Roma Royalty, Rose Hill Cemetery

Queen Kelly Mitchell died in 1915 while giving birth at a camp in Coatopa, Alabama (which is west of Demopolis). Her family brought her to Rose Hill Cemetery in Meridian to be buried. A recollection of that event can be found at this very good site that also refers to the rest of the family of Emil Mitchell, who was Kelly’s husband, the “King of the Gypsies”.

Along with Kelly Mitchell are buried her husband, Emil, who died in 1942 close to Attalla (AL), Flora Mitchell (Emil’s sister), Joe “Sharkie” Mitchell and Princess Diana Sharkey Mitchell, Slatcho Mitchell, Helen and Frank Mitchell, Mehil Mitchell, Lawrence Mitchell, Nicholas Gulumba, Costa George Bimbo, and Ovdoikia George Bimbo.

People leave things there — Mardi Gras beads, coins, fruit, jewelry, dolls, liquor, you name it:

Roma Royalty, Rose Hill Cemetery

I’ve been photographing this same site three or four times a year since 2004 or 2005.  This is the way Kelly’s picture looks today:
Roma Royalty, Rose Hill Cemetery

…and this is how it looked when I photographed it in 2005:
Kelly Mitchell, Queen of Gypsies (Romas); in Meridian, MS

Among the collection this day include a superhero doll, a tin of gum, and a lighter:
Roma Royalty, Rose Hill Cemetery

A set of the pics is on Flickr here.

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