A Walk Among

the Tombstones

By Emily Hilliard


Hello, my name is Emily Hilliard, and this is the story of how I got involved with erecting memorial for blues artist Nathan Beauregard. On Sunday, September 3, 2022, I made the first of many trips to make contact with the members of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Ashland, Mississippi. This would turn out to be more of a challenge than I realized. One of the main issues being that Nathan Beauregard (or Bogard) was not buried with an actual headstone.

Luckily for me, I received some help from Dr. T. DeWayne Moore, so I was able to save a few steps. Thanks to the research from Dr. Moore and a few of his colleagues, the location of Mr. Beauregard’s burial site had been pinpointed in the cemetery of the Shiloh Missionary Baptist church. It was at this location, that I would discover more headstones that bore the same last name as Nathan Beauregard. Most notably, I came upon the headstone of the late Rose Beauregard. It is believed that Rose was a distant relative of the late musician. With this information in hand, it was now time to organize a meeting with the members of the church. 

Unfortunately, after walking around in the  cemetery all morning, I was not presentable for church attendance. Regretfully, I would not speak to anyone on this day. It just so has it, my luck would soon change.

After locating the site of Beauregard’s burial, I had to get in contact with the church. Without their support, there would be no way of getting a marker placed on the grounds. My first attempt at making contact turned out to be a bust. I drove down to the church only to find there was no one there. I would later learn they only met on certain Sundays a month. Determined not to get discouraged, I decided to make some phone calls. After hitting a few dead ends, I was finally able to get in contact with a couple members from the Shiloh M.B. Church.

To say they were a little hesitant to speak with me was an understatement. It was only after explaining that our organization simply wanted to preserve the history of the church as well as help maintain the upkeep of the cemetery, that the congregates seemed to warm up to the idea.  That still didn’t mean I had permission to erect a marker though. The members of the church had a chain of command, and if I was going to make any progress, I’d have to climb it. My next step would be to present my request in front of the congregation. There were still many obstacles in my path, but at least I was headed in the right direction.

Looking To The Future

I’ve met some amazing clients who have become almost family to me. The numerous travels and projects abroad haven’t diminished my love for the unknown, but only heightened it. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I just lucked out with being able to take mine early on in life. And I want to help you with yours. Let me help you start that journey… from one single step to a thousand. Here’s to you.