The grave of Sonny Boy Williamson (Aleck “Rice” Miller) is in a small cemetery near Tutwiler, Tallahatchie County, Mississippi.
The photo above shows how the cemetery in which Sonny Boy Williamson is buried appears from the road. This cemetery was once a church cemetery, but the church building is no longer standing at this site.
There is no Mississippi Blues Trail marker for Sonny Boy Williamson at this cemetery. The Mississippi Blues Trail marker for Sonny Boy Williamson is in Glendora, Mississippi, which is on Highway 49E between Tutwiler and Minter City. The Mississippi Blues Trail added a second marker for Sonny Boy Williamson in downtown Helena, Arkansas in 2015.
Sonny Boy Williamson’s grave is at the back of the cemetery in the treeline.
The GPS location of Sonny Boy Williamson’s grave is N 34° 01.108′ W 90° 27.464′
This is the headstone on Sonny Boy Williamson’s grave.
The inscription reads:
BETTER KNOWN AS
WILLIE SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON
BORN MAR. 11, 1908
DIED JUNE 23, 1965
JIM MILLER AND MINNIE MILLER
INTERNATIONALLY FAMOUS HARMONICA AND VOCAL BLUES ARTIST DISCOVERED AND RECORDED BY TRUMPET RECORDS, JACKSON MISS. FROM 1950 TO 1955.”
Sonny Boy Williamson’s grave was unmarked until 1980, when this monument was erected by Lillian McMurray, the founder of Trumpet Records in Jackson, Mississippi, who had made the first recordings of Sonny Boy Williamson in 1950.
Despite its relative isolation and its not being included on the Mississippi Blues Trail, Sonny Boy Williamson’s grave still gets regular visits by blues fans.
Like many graves of blues musicians, Sonny Boy Williamson’s grave has been adorned with souvenirs and tokens left by visiting fans. Harmonicas and liquor are frequently left on the grave.
At Sonny Boy Williamson’s grave we met this fellow Mississippi Blues Traveller, who told us he is travelling to blues related sites throughout Mississippi with his dog, Maximus.
We will post more about Sonny Boy Williamson II in the next few weeks. In the meantime here’s a video on Sonny Boy Williamson performing Keep It To Yourself
2 November 2015