Queen Kelly MitchellTuesday, January 10, 2012
I've been taking pics of the Kelly Mitchell (who was queen of the Romas here) monument in Meridian MS for several years now. The offerings that people leave here are an interesting mix.
Queen Kelly Mitchell died in 1915 while giving birth at a camp in Coatopa, Alabama, and her family brought her to Rose Hill Cemetery in Meridian to be buried. A recollection of that event is in the February 7, 1915 issue of the Meridian Dispatch:
“At one side of the parlors, with candelabra at the head and foot stands the magnificent silver-trimmed metallic casket. Hermetically sealed within, in all the barbaric splendor of a medieval Queen lays Mrs. Callie (Kelly) Mitchell, Queen of the Gypsies of America. Her swarthy face with its high cheekbones is typical of Romany tribes and the head, the upper portion of which is covered with bright silken drapery pinned at the back with pins, rests upon a cushion of filmy silk and satin. The hair is braided Gypsy fashion and the dark tresses shine. The body is attired in a Royal robe of Gypsy Green and other bright colors contrasting vividly with the somber hues usual under such circumstances. Two necklaces are around the neck, one of shells, an heirloom that was descended through generations. The lower part of the body is draped with “Sacred Linen” treasured by Gypsy bands for the use only when death overtakes one of their numbers. When the children arrive, each will put a memento of some kind in the casket and it will devolve upon the youngest child to place her mother’s earrings in the ear.”
The story goes on about the burial customs and that the grave was reinforced with steel bars and concrete so as to discourage thieves (since so many fine things were buried along with her body for use on the other side of the Styx).
This photograph below looked like this in 2005: