NCCA November Newsletter 2016
Letter from the President
Dear NCCA Members and
As I gaze through this gorgeous Autumn Foliage
here on the grounds, I am reminded how lucky we are to have such a
significant and beautiful treasure in the Nashville City Cemetery. I want
to thank each of you for your tremendous support throughout the year. By
your generosity, we may continue to improve facilities, research, and services.
This year’s Living History Tour was a splendid
success! If you missed the fun, you may check it out on YouTube. And
drop by to see our live sheep, the Nashville Chew Crew. Thank you too, to
author Brian Allison. Plans are already underway for 2017, so please mark
your calendars for October!
We are also thrilled to announce that cleaning
of our next block of monuments is well underway. And we will fortunately
be able to fund nearly a score of replacement tombstones this year. Also
look for exciting news on the horizon in the Grundy lot, as well as new Kiosk
pages. Improvements have already commenced in the General James Robertson
lot, with more to come there as well.
Our Arboretum Guide for the Nashville Tree
Foundation, has been recently revised and restocked. And we have had the
exciting donation of three priceless ‘Restoration’ American Chestnut trees,
which will someday grace the grounds again with their massively spreading
Finally, plans are in the making for a
beautiful, brand new old City Cemetery book. If you have photos,
information, or maps that may be of use, please do not hesitate to get in
touch. Underwriting support is welcome as well.
Hope to see each of you for the camaraderie and
warmth of our Annual Holiday Membership Party, December 8th.
It shall be a lovely evening.
NCCA president 2016
On the Tour - Susan
portrayed by Councilwoman Jacobia Dowell
Susan was an enslaved woman working in the household of
Sarah Childress Polk. She slipped slowly into insanity following an illness in
1861. Despite efforts to watch her, she managed to smuggle a knife from the
kitchen. Susan murdered her children, then used the knife on herself. They
sleep together in an unmarked grave, one of the many forgotten souls whose
story has slipped away with the years.
Susan’s children were buried in an unmarked
grave in mid-November 1861 in City Cemetery. Three days later, the grave was
opened and Susan was buried with them. The names and ages of her children were
not recorded. Their graves rest among nearly 2,000 unmarked graves of people
who died while enslaved in Nashville. These graves were dug between 1846-1865.
When doctors told Susan
that she had “congestion of the brain,” it meant cerebral swelling. In modern
medical terms, that could be meningitis, encephalitis, or a type of fever.
There is no way to be certain anymore. Her symptoms were not recorded since she
was enslaved. The newspapers reported that “derangement was hereditary in that
family of servants,” but noted that she showed no signs of illness before. The
same article mentioned that she had “always been kind to her children.”
Record Breaking Crowds at the 2016
“Tales from the City
By LHT Co-Chair Ashley Poe
On October 15th, the Nashville City Cemetery
Association hosted the annual Living History Tour. The theme of this year’s tour was “Tales from
the City Cemetery”- true tales of murder, scandal, and retribution. Highlights from the tour include a duel
between Thomas J. Overton and John Dickson- fought by our own board members
Albert Austin and Jim Hoobler, respectively- William Heffernan, a city
contractor who was murdered in cold blood in 1865, and Dr. Jack Macon, an
enslaved doctor who refused to stop practicing medicine. The focus this year was the untold story of
several who are buried in City Cemetery.
For example, Susan was an enslaved woman in Sarah Childress Polk’s
downtown Nashville home. After a bout of
illness, she murdered her two children, then herself. With around twenty thousand burials at the
cemetery, the NCCA feels that it’s important to give every individual a chance
to be remembered by history.
It was a great day, with an estimated 500 plus
attendees. The tours began later than
usual this year, running from 3:00pm to 7:00pm.
We were able to catch a giant, beautiful orange moon after 6:00, setting
a perfect scene for the tour. Attendees
also got to stop and see Zach Richardson and the Chew Crew. The Chew Crew are hair sheep who are used to
maintain grass in an environmentally friendly and safe method. They were a huge hit!
NCCA wishes to thank all of our interpreters, tour guides,
volunteers, and most importantly, the attendees. The Living History Tour is our largest annual
fundraiser, and the goal is to promote awareness about the cemetery and its
residents. We seek to educate and
entertain at the same time. A huge
number of tour attendees had never been to the City Cemetery before, and were
able to learn about the cemetery, its hours of operation, and residents. We look forward to many more years of
educational, entertaining tours. Be on
the lookout for news about the 2017 Living History Tour!
Metro Nashville Network for rebroadcast of the LHT 2016 interpretations.
Learn more about the adorable Chew Crew. They are "in the system" now and the Nashville City Cemetery was their second job on a Metro Parks property. Metro is actually in the process of soliciting bids for a 5-year contract to provide Controlled Grazing on Metro-owned property county wide. We may be seeing a lot more of the Chew Crew at NCC.http://nashvillechewcrew.com/meet-our-team Zach was the shepherd during the LHT http://nashvillechewcrew.com/
President Master Gardeners of Davidson County
& Co-Chair of the City Cemetery Project. Master Gardener Corner & NCCA Board Secretary
Fall is here finally! This does not mean our work in the
yard and garden is over. Get rid of those old leaves and stems that have
fallen, especially near plants that might have had disease problems this
season. In general, healthy plants will benefit from a good mulch of leaves
around the stems and trunk. That little blanket of mulch helps the plants
winter over and hold in moisture. Mulch also blocks out the sun on your
perennial plants and keeps them dormant until spring as well as weeds from
getting a head start on your spring gardens. Don’t forget your
compost pile. Come spring you will be glad you have composted (don’t
forget to turn the leaves).
Wait until late winter (February) to do any pruning on
trees and shrubs, otherwise you might stimulate new growth that winter’s
freezes will kill off and weaken your plants. This is why we wait until
February to trim the Boxwood at the Nashville City Cemetery. We’ll fill
you in on the proper way to trim you Boxwood in February.
Winter months do not mean you cannot enjoy your gardens.
Witch Hazel, Nine-bark, American Beauty-berry and Blue star are among the
many shrubs that change the color of their foliage. Hubricht’s blue star
(Amsonia hubrichtii) has amazing clusters of light blue blooms in the spring
and soft, fine-textured mounts of green, narrow, almost needle like leaves all
summer. in fall, they change from green to luminous gold that seem ablaze
in the sunlight. Hubricht’s blue star prefers full to part sun and
well-drained soil, slightly on the dry side. This is one of several native varieties available in our area,
include in the gardens at the Nashville City Cemetery.
The “Cemetery Sweepers” Project:
Cemetery provides work opportunities
for the Men of Matthew 25.
Jim Finchum, the Director of Matthew 25 writes that “[o]ne
might ask the question “Do you know what we get to do today”? I find that there
is only one answer, “We get to make an impact in someone’s life.” Matthew 25 is celebrating 30 years of service
to homeless men in our community and has made an impact on more than 5000 lives
with 50% of those men being veterans.
With a mission that provides emergency, transitional, and
permanent supportive housing, Matthew 25 provides services to homeless men in
the Nashville-Davidson County area, who have the desire to help themselves move
from the streets to become productive and self-sufficient members of society,
through structured programs that Matthew 25 identified as work, save, learn,
Work is a top priority as the unemployment rate plays a
key role in homelessness. Matthew 25
helps find our residents employment opportunities. The Nashville City Cemetery
is one such blessing to Matthew 25. Each month The Nashville City Cemetery
allows Matthew 25 to bring 5 men to sweep grass clippings after the city mows
the lawn and remove branches that have fallen on the tombstones. While the men receive the opportunity to be
employed they receive much more of a personal benefit as well.
One area of interest the Men of Matthew 25 have is
history. This employment opportunity has provided just that. Our men were able
to hear the history of The Nashville City Cemetery from Fletch Coke, one of the
founders of Matthew 25. These history lessons range from the breakdown of who
is buried where, to the tomb of William Driver and the history of naming the
flag “Old Glory”. The history provided
has instilled a great amount of respect with the men who have had the
opportunity to work there. A respect that has led these men to share the
experience they are having at the Nashville City Cemetery with others.
One resident says:
“I was on a personal roller coaster. I had serious medical and drug
problems. My family had lost faith in me. Matthew 25 provided me a drug and
alcohol free environment and helped me find full-time employment. I am now able
to visualize getting my life back together, and being united with my wife and
Thank you Nashville City Cemetery for caring about our
community, caring about the unfortunate circumstances that surround our
community as stated by one resident above, and thank you for taking active
participation in changing lives of homeless men by allowing such a great
opportunity to Matthew 25.
Director Matthew 25
To learn more about Matthew 25,
visit their website www.matthew25helps.com
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