To see the #grave of Kelly Mitchell, aka “Queen of the #Gypsies,” it’s off to the Rose Hill #Cemetery in Meridian, #Mississippi.
The #Romani people (Gypsies), originated in India in the Middle Ages. After leaving their homeland, they first migrated to Europe, and today are spread around the world.
At the time of Mitchell’s death, most gypsies lead an itinerant lifestyle. Her death occurred on January 31, 1915, while she was camped with her family near Coatopa, Alabama (approximately 40 miles east of Meridian). At age 47, she died giving birth to her 15th child.
Because Queen Kelly’s family was so widely scattered, the decision was made to delay the funeral as long as possible to allow far-flung relatives to attend. And because Meridian was the closest city with enough ice to preserve her body for six weeks, it was chosen as the site for her funeral and burial. Members of the Mitchell family, one of the largest Romani groups in the country, came to the Rose Hill Cemetery from all over to pay tribute, and it’s estimated that 20,000 people viewed the body of the dead Gypsy Queen.
These events occurred in 1915, but from the offerings and gifts left on her grave, it’s obvious that lots of people still believe the myth and folklore. Believers think that the Romani people have psychic powers, and consequently, can see the future. Today’s devotees also believe that an offering will entice Mitchell’s spirit to visit them in a dream and provide answers to their problems.
After the burial of Queen Kelly, the Rose Hill Cemetery became one of the main Romani burial grounds in the Southeast. Her husband, Emil, King of the Gypsy nation, her successor, Flora, and numerous other Gypsies have been buried alongside her.