Love Joy Cemetery Monument Dedication

Published 10:00 am Friday, May 26, 2017

Love Joy Cemetery Monument Dedication

The Love Joy Methodist Church was founded in 1884 by early Panola settlers in the southeastern part of the county. The church was built near a cemetery established around 1854 by members of the McCullar and Magee family. A service at the cemetery last Sunday dedicated a monument to mark the entrance and record the history of the cemetery. Love Joy Church will celebrate homecoming Sunday with a service at 10:30 a.m.
The Panolian photos by Ashley Crutcher

By Ashley Crutcher

The Burton family offers the crowd interesting facts about the development of The Love Joy Cemetery. Pictured (l to r) includes Beverly Burton Mendicello, Debbie Burton-Orton and Mary Stubbs Burton.

Love Joy Church in the southeastern corner of Panola County has sat alongside a cemetery without an official name since the church was established in 1884. But that has all changed after a monument was placed naming the cemetery “The Love Joy Cemetery.” The stone was dedicated in a ceremony Sunday by descendants of those buried there.
Mary Burton along with her daughters Beverly Burton Mendicello and Debbie Burton-Orton organized the dedication as descendants of John M. McCullar, who purchased the land that is now known as the Love Joy Cemetery.
“I want this monument placed here in case anything happens to the church,” said Mrs. Burton.
According to the Burtons’ research, John McCullar purchased the land in 1847 and his son, James Lewis McCullar, donated the cemetery, which was established in 1854, to the Love Joy Cemetery Association.
Love Joy Methodist Church was founded near the spot in 1884, and will celebrate homecoming this Sunday with a service at 10:30 a.m., followed by a picnic.
McCullar Family
It is believed that John M. McCullar Sr. and his second wife, Catherine Magee, are buried in the Love Joy Cemetery, but there are no markers to indicate their final resting place.

J. Stephen Sanders, a Memphis musician, performed at the dedication.

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The McCullars’ journey began when their father, Alexander McCullar Sr., immigrated to the United States from Antrim, Ireland as a small boy in the 1770’s, after having previously immigrated from Scotland to Ireland.
Everyone buried in the Love Joy Cemetery is either a descendant of or related by blood or marriage to Alexander McCullar Sr., according to Burton.
Love Joy is the largest known family cemetery in Panola County. There are 14 known Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery with Confederate flags marking their graves.
After the monument was unveiled, Memphis bagpiper J. Stephen Sanders closed the service with  “Amazing Grace.”
(Check out Sanders’ performance on The Panolian’s website at or The Panolian’s Facebook page.)