Recorded History of the Nashville City Cemetery

some images courtesy Dan Smith & Paul Cotton and Jeff Thorneycroft

Nashville Daily Press
January 26, 1865

Stone FlowersROBBING THE GRAVE YARD OF ITS FENCING- Within the past few nights, nearly all the fencing that encloses the City Cemetery, has been taken away and burned. Several parties living in the neighborhood were returned before the Recorder yesterday morning charged with the crime and a fine of $25 imposed on cach. The money thus obtained from those who committed the depredations should be immediately appropriated to rebuilding the fencing. The resting place of the dead should be held sacred, and it behooves the proper authorities to replace as soon as possible the enclosure which has ruthlessly been taken away, and it necessary hereafter, to appoint a special policeman to preserve and protect it from the hands of those whose consciences will allow them to lay in waste the hallowed grounds.


Nashville Daily Press
April 22, 1865

IMPROVEMENTS AT THE CITY CEMETERY
We notice with pleasure that Mr. Norvell, the City Sexton, is engaged in improving and decorating the grounds at the City Cemetery. He has recently sold and laid off a number of beautiful lots, which he has finished in exquisite style and in the most tasteful manner. We hope he will continue in his improvements until the sacred city of the Dead shall bear its once beautiful appearance.


Union & American
September 19, 1866

Soldier's Burials


Nashville Union & Dispatch
April 25, 1867

A Stroll Through City Cemetery


Nashville Union & Dispatch
June 16, 1867

Desolate Graves


Nashville Daily Gazette
October 30, 1867

City Cemetery

The Resting Place of the Dead Given Over to the Raids of Swine

The fence on the south side of the City Cemetery, constituting the dividing line between that place and the depot of the Nashville and Decatur railroad, having been entirely or partially destroyed, hogs and cows have easy access to the sacred City of the Dead and are not slow to avail themselves of the circumstances. It cannot, therefore, be a matter of surprise that tombstones are broken down and newly made graves a prey to the rooting propensities of filthy swine. The attention of the men claiming to be the city authorities has been repeatedly called to the fact but they do not seem inclined to abate the abuse of complained of. If the Mayor, or the City Council, or the Cemetery Committee, or somebody else having the necessary authority and a decent regard for the feelings of the living and the memory of the dead, would order the immediate and rebuilding of the fence, the trouble and money so expended would redound much more to their credit than if thrown away in getting up boisterous political processions and noisy ovations to Radical demagogues and pothouse brawlers; would be much more creditable to their sense of propriety and feelings of humanity than if wasted in bacchanalian celebrations of the “glorious fourth” or appropriated to the payment of hotel bills made by a herd of self-conceited and ungrateful school masters. The city authorities claim to have the government of the city in their own precious keeping. The control and care of the cemetery is embraced in the sphere of their official duty. Thousands of our citizens are sacredly interested in seeing that they do no longer disregard this important part of their obligation to the living and the dead.

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Republican Banner
June 1, 1867

City Cemetery Interments

The following figures, showing the City Cemetery during the month of May, are compiled from the official report of P.L. Marlin, City Sexton:

Writes:

Whites
Names
Disease
Age
Child of P.R. Tander
Consumption
Inf.
Miss M.A. Shelton,
Consumption
23
Nancy J. Lamb
Inflammation of Brain
22
Jas Roberts
Complication
29
Martha A. Lamb
Child bed
22
Nancy Delaney
Disease of Heart
35
Child of Jacob Kelly
Still born -
 
Child of N. Lowry
Still born -
 
Jno M Gregory
Typhoid fever
18
Mrs. Jane G. Curry
Apoplexy
75
Mary May
Inflammation of Bowels
27
Jno M. Wheat
Killed at Shiloh
32
P.B. Coleman
Dropsy
50
Mrs. Nancy Samuel
General Infirmity
84
James Logan
Diarrhea -
 
H.K. Bonds
Consumption
24

Colored
Names
Disease
Age
Teeny Johnson
Consumption
35
Child of Emily Cobert
Unknown
Inf
W. Graham
Yellow Jaundice
41
Child of Ann Mason
Consumption
Inf
R. Brooky
Unknown
25
Green Johnson
Still born -
 
David Roane
Dropsy -
 
R. Ward
Dropsy
70
Child of Miles Wright
Teething
Inf
Martha Lewis
Pneumonia -
 
Child of Lee Mays
Lockjaw
Inf
E. Winchester
Spasms -
 
Lewis Allen
Still Born -
 
Josephine Roper
Consumption
23
Child of Thos Thompson
Still born -
 
Mary Scott
Consumption
20
Ellen J Baxter
Pneumonia
8
Child of Mary Butterworth
Unknown
 
Addie Brown
Consumption
13
Polly E. Tate
Consumption
23
Child of Elisha Gouig
Spasms -
 

 

Recapitulation
Disease
White
Colored
Consumption
3
6
Still Born
2
3
Dropsy
1
2
Diarrhea
1
-
Spasms
-
2
Inflammation of Brain
1
-
Inflammation of Bowels
1
-
Disease of Heart
1
-
Apoplexy
1
-
Complication
1
-
Child Bed
1
-
Typhoid Fever
1
-
General Infirmity
1
-
Yellow Jaundice
-
1
Pneumonia
-
2
Teething
-
1
Lockjaw
-
1
Unknown
-
3
Reinterred
1
-
Total  
16
21

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Nashville Union & Dispatch
December 27, 1867

Cities of the Dead


Nashville Union & American
March 24, 1868

Bull in the Cemetery


Republican Banner
Sunday, June 21, 1868

THE CITY CEMETERY

Its Proposed Conversion into a Park—The Public Square as a Site for a Similar Purpose.

To the Editor of the Banner: Much has been said of a City Park, which we heartily indorse. We desire to say to the City Fathers and to the public that a petition is now being signed by large numbers of our citizens which we think is entitled to their favorable consideration.

The present graveyard on Cherry Street, South Nashville, has been full for years, and indeed crowded to such an extent, as any of the last Sextons can verify, that bodies were buried only by exhuming the bones of some predecessor. Nearly every one owning a lot in this cemetery would willingly have their dead transferred to the quiet and sequstered [sic] shades of some spot more remote from the city where the repose of the tomb could not be disturbed by the din and clangor of commerce, and where the sacred shades would not be desecrated by being made the den of every vice. Robbery, murder and lust have held their horrid orgies in and around this secluded spot; even now, nightly desecrated by being the rendezvous of lascivious love. Public morals, as well as the proprieties and solemnities due to the last resting place of the dead, demand that this nuisance be abated. It is not only a source of disease and death to our city by poisoning our air and water (for it drains into Brown’s Creek which empties into the Cumberland above the reservoir), but it has become a moral abomination, from which reeks to Heaven miasms [sic] more deadly to the well being of society than those with which it daily impregnates our atmosphere. These considerations should certainly receive attention whether we ever have a park or not. But located near the depots and on the Street Railway, and having already a beautiful grove of twenty or thirty years standing, it does certainly appear as eligible a location for a park, as the swamps near the race track, or the arid cliff of St. Cloud, without a solitary tree to temper the heat of the summer sun.

To purchase and adorn a park will require the outlay of a very large sum unless some natural advantages are secured. Twenty years will fail to secure as good shade in many of the localties [sic] mentioned as now waves the foliage of the cool, sequestered alleys of the Old Cemetery. Money will buy statues and raise the silvery jets of fountains, but it will not buy a grove. Time alone can supply it. There is no doubt that the increased revenues of the city would more than pay expenses.

With reference to the proposed improvement of the Public Square, we have only to say that it is certainly well conceived, as is also the adornment of the capitol grounds. And, perhaps, the making of the three parks in question, which certainly can be defended on economical principles, would give more general satisfaction than to expend a large sum in beatifying a large park remote from the centers of business and habitation. The continual noise of wagons, the shouts of auctioneers and rovers, the infernal rub-a-dub of electioneering music continually going on under the windows of the courthouse, certainly has been borne long enough. The business of the courts are interrupted constantly, and the interest of the community demand that silence should reign around the temple in which blindfold Justice sits. Economy, the public wish, the propriety of location, all appeal to the sound judgment of the powers that be in favor of these three parks.

Let the one on the square present to the wearied man-of-business the green sward and the bubbling fountains, o'er-shadowed by the shady oak. Let the terraced height upon which sits our noble capitol swell lovely with statues, and foilage, and flowers, for the fair citizens of Vine, and Summer, and Spruce Streets. And above all, turn the Cemetery into an Eden of shades, fountains and flowers, where health and innocent amusements may be dispursed [sic] to all, instead of those noxious influences which now disgrace the spot.

This is the voice of MANY CITIZENS


Nashville Union & American
July 15, 1868

The Old Cemetery and the Waterworks


Nashville Union & American
September 19, 1868

Cemetery a Nuisance


Nashville Union & American
December 10, 1868

Sexton Report December 1868


Nashville Union and American
Saturday, May 29, 1875

OVER THE DEAD.
A Memorable Confederate Decoration.
The Ceremony Participated in by Both Blue and Gray.
Music by the Church Choirs, Sunday-Schools, and 16th Infantry Band.
Eloquent Remarks by Presiding Elder Kelley.

The beautiful and touching ceremony of decorating the graves of the Confederate dead, came off yesterday. Committees of ladies were appointed to receive flowers at each of the cemeteries, and superintend their distribution. The following were the committees:

For the City Cemetery-Mrs. James Wilkes, Mrs. Irvine K. Chase and Mrs. F.G. Porter.

Catholic- Mrs. Buddeke, Mrs. Herriford, and Mrs. W.D. Kelley.

Mt. Olivet- Mrs. Louis Lanier, Mrs. George Cunningham, Mrs. S. Cooley and Mrs. Clark.

Free transportation was furnished to all visitors to the Catholic and Mount Olivet cemeteries. Trains began to run at 2 o’clock in the afternoon and went out every half hour till 7 o’clock. A large number of people visited all of the grounds and the graves were profusely decorated. After the flowers were strewn at the City Cemetery, the crowd took the cars and went out to Mount Olivet. Among the graves that attracted special attention at the City Cemetery were those of the gallant Gen. Felix K. Zollicoffer, Gen. James Raines, and Dr. F.W. Armstrong.

Many of the private graves in Mt. Olivet and Mt. Calvary cemeteries were also tastefully decorated. There was a gratifying attendance. In addition to the crowd that went out on the cars, many citizens went to the grounds in private conveyances.

A large number of ex-Federal soldiers were present. Among others on the grounds we noticed Col. Ed. S. Jones, Capt. J.E. Stacey, Capt. Michael Walsh, and other members of the Committee of Arrangements for decorating the Federal graves next Monday. Gen. Pennypacker was also in attendance with the Sixteenth Infantry Band, who volunteered their services and furnished some choice music appropriate to the occasion.

At half past four o’clock the band rendered a very solemn dirge. The choir and Sunday-schools then sang in an impressive manner, accompanied by Capt. J.M. Thatcher on the organ, “Let Us Pass Over the River.” A fitting prayer was next offered up by the Rev. M.B. DeWitt. Then followed Prof. R.M. McIntosh with a solo, “Loved Ones Gone Before.” After the conclusion of the solo Dr. D.C. Kelley followed with a most appropriate address…

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Nashville Republican Banner
May 29, 1875

FORGETTING THE PAST.

The Imposing Memorial exercises at Mt. Olivet Witnessed by 10,000 People.
Ex-Confederates and ex-Federals Unite in Honoring the Memory of the Martyrs of the Lost Cause.
Rev. Mr. Kelly Delivers an Oration Breathing Noble and Patriotic Sentiments.
The Post Band Make Sweet, Sad Melody at the Graves of the Southern Dead.
Scattering Flowers Here and There in the City and Mt. Calvary Cemeteries.

Federal Re-enactorA fairer day for so holy a purpose never dawned. The sun shone out with resplendence, only darkened now and then with an occasional cloud whose shadow seemed to suggest a day of mourning for the valiant men whose ashes repose under the clods of earth. It was a day for hallowed thoughts, of golden memories, and will long remain deep fixed in the hearts of all who attended. Early in the afternoon throngs of people were winding their way to the depot while carriages were rattling over the stony streets out from the city and buggies, wagons and vehicles of every kind were pouring in a continuous stream along every highway leading to Mount Olivet, every available conveyance being called into use to carry the fair and the gallant ones to assist in the memorial services of the day and do honor to the noble martyrs of the Lost Cause.

At 2 o'clock a train began making trips from the Decatur Depot every fifteen minutes, carrying out hundreds at a time and swelling the tremendous crowd that filled the whole cemetery grounds. From all sources, an assemblage of between eight and ten thousand people gathered, nearly all having large contributions of flowers which were placed on every grave in the grounds in great profusion. A great number of family vaults and monuments were decorated in the most becoming manner.

Many distinguished Federal soldiers were present as well as many who served as privates in the federal army, their families in most cases, being also present. Among the more prominent men present were Governor James D. Porter, General Pennypacker and the greater part of his staff, Captain Richards, Captain Ward, Colonel Jones, Captain Stacey, Mayor Howell and some members of the City Council.

General Pennypacker, with his usual gallantry, tendered the services of the Post Band which made one of the main features of the occasion, as will be seen by referring to the programme.

General Pennypacker is one of the brave soldiers that knows no ill feeling to the South nor her sleeping braves. His generous conduct and the kindness of the band did more to make the decoration a mingling of the blue and gray than any other occurrence.

The band played the Dead March, from Mendelsohn, after which the choirs and Sunday school children present gathered around the organ and sang, "Let us pass over the river.", a song founded on the words of General Stonewall Jackson when he lay dying on the banks of the Rappahannock. The chorus is as follows: "Though the dark waves roll high, we will be undismayed. We will pass over the river and rest under the shade, Rest under the shade, Rest under the shade of the trees."

Rev. Mr. DeWitt then offered a suitable prayer, after which the assemblage sang "Loved ones gone before." By this time about 3,000 people had gathered about the band and organ at which Captain Thatcher presided and were eagerly awaiting Rev. D. C. Kelly's oration. When the song was finished, Dr. Kelly made the following address, the sentiments of which were most heartily concurred in by every one present.

DR. KELLEY'S ADDRESS

In the midst of funeral wreaths and sad, tearful heart beatings, it is with a sense of the deepest gratification that I am able to hail this as an auspicious day. Not because we have ceased to mourn over our dead comrades who sleep here; not that we rejoice to bury out of mind the cause in support of which they fell, the victims of a pure and heroic patriotism. In our heart of hearts we shrine their memory and their fame shall be as precious to us as is the virtue of our wives or our hopes for our children. We know that their patriotism was pure, their self-sacrifice sublime; their devotion to what they believed truth and honor, as unsullied as is to be found on any historic page where the pen of immortality chronicles the names of the hero martyrs of liberty and truth.

We hail this, the commemoration day of 1875, as auspicious above the days on which we have heretofore kept this sad festival because in the many years which part us from the day of their sacrifice, each sad face and falling tear and deftly woven wreath hath said and echoed back, each to the other, the saddest of all refrains: "This sacrifice was all in vain." Today the despondent throng and even those who were the victims of despair begin to look upon the past in the light of a brighter hope for the future and thus we see in this dark past a winter, dark truly, but none the less as all winters are, the mother out of whose womb is to be born a new spring. The fierceness of the winter's storm blows chill yet upon our frames attenuated by the long years of hope deferred or dead but the bitterest howling of the tempest is being hushed by distance while warmer blood and more trustful visions arouse expectations and tint again the pale cheek of hope.

Carved RoseI never belonged to that class in whose heart surrender or after wrongs put out the light of hope for my country, my whole country; neither in the hurricane of feeling which swept us into war, nor in the midst of years in which passion and swords reveled in blood; not even on the black winter's night when I rode at the rear of General Hood's broken and crushed veterans across the raging Tennessee, over crazy and swaying pontoons; or the saddest of all days, when at Greenville, Alabama, I put my parole in my pocket, saw my comrades lay down their arms, our color bearer fold and place in his bosom our ball-riddled flag and in mute sorrow, turned my horse's head town the home of my boyhood 'midst the cedars and limestone rocks of the old Volunteer State. I say not even in those hours did I ever lose faith in the destiny of the South or the unity of the Nation.

To me, the war, its causes and its results, have ever been an episode, both painful and necessary, in the unfolding drama of our national existence.

I have never swerved in a belief of the necessary oneness of these Unites States. Yet, I saw a cause of agitation between them, foreign either to geographical position or diversity of interest or disposition. Statesmanship and patriotism struggled with the question in vain; the Constitution did not produce an authoritative argument; war became inevitable and I accept it as the only arbitration. I was utterly powerless to surmise what that arbitration would be but when it came I believed that both God and progress were in it and have been waiting with patience for the time when a memorial day such as this, would allow us to say that these, our comrades, died not in vain. They were necessary factors in working out one of the most momentous problems of social life and national existence.

Already has this war and its ensuing years corrected much that was a mistake in our mutual estimates of each other. Already has it removed a barrier from the plow of influence, from the one to the other, which, standing where it did, as we see clearly enough now, was so separating us in social life that there would have been no healthful reactionary and neutralizing power interpenetrating from one to the other. The distance between the people, North and South, gave opportunity for misunderstanding and yet this very stretch, North and South, gave the elements of character which the latest and profoundest studies of sociology indicate as necessary to be brought together in order to the highest National life. The North, on the page of history, gives birth to a people strong in energy, tending to compact and powerful National consolidation, liable, as a consequence to be driven on by irresistible currents of fanaticism.

The South, given more to deep contemplation and less action, more wedded to ____________ and thereby saved alike from the organic despotism of government and unchecked greed of fanaticism. The two, combined in one nation, make up the grandest of National compounds if here is no barrier to prevent the influence from one to the other. There was an insurmountable barrier while the Northern man looked upon his southern neighbor as not the architect of his own fortune; but the effeminate recipient of the labors of others, and while his Southern neighbor in turn, looked upon the material activity of the North as an antidote to all high and noble manhood, a check to chivalry and the mother of narrow views of life and degrading love of mere gain.

At another place and time, I might attempt to show the philosophy of the process by which the last war has cut away and the rising floods of the present are now floating out of the current of our National life this barrier. Then and now, we only point to the well known fact that at the close of the recent war, the soldiers knew each other better and respected each other more than any other class of citizens on either side. The cry of coward on the one side and effeminacy on the other, had been swept away in the gallant charge of the field and the patient marches through summer's suns and winter's snows.

That Sunday morning at Fort Donelson, when the Southern soldiers strived against an over-numbering power and were inferior both in number and size of guns to the Union forces, after a long struggle, when the first duel of artillery ever fought on Western soil ended in the first artillery victory for the Confederate forces, then the brave men who contended there, were ready to forever abandon the charge of effeminacy with which they had taunted the Southern men, and the South was unwilling ever again to doubt the courage of the North.

At the close of the war, when the Southern forces were out of food, their clothes in tatters and their blankets worn out; when, in their bare feet, they still kept on the road, tearing their ragged pants away above the knees that the deep mud might not hinder them, the brave enemy never taunted them with effeminacy nor cowardice.

The first check which came to the era of good feeling at the close of the war, came from those who had heard the whirr of a few bullets and the explosion of few shells. In the North, the hordes who were growing rich off the misfortune of war, backed by second and third rate politicians who had obtained first places by the accidents of the time, cried out in the abused name of patriotism for confiscation and blood while army followers left to prey on the South, like vampires sucking its life blood, assisted by the blatant unconquered from among the bomb proofs (if you will allow a soldier's expression) a few of whom I am compelled to admit wore clerical robes - all combined to roll the hopeful era of '65-66 back into the night of '70. Now again light streaks the horizon - a little more of such patient endurance as the soldier Gordon counseled to down trodden Louisianans; a little more of the prompt and soldierly energy with which John C. Brown followed up the Trenton murderers; a few more Southern tours upon the part of Congressional statesmen and committees, and speeches from other soldiers, such as Barrett and the heroic death of these men, our comrades, shall be seen to bear rich fruit in a National life more glorious than the old past.

The day dawns when the names of those truly good and great, on either side, will be _______ in the nation's history as a common heritage of fame.

The time is not far distant when the students of Harvard and Yale will be found to select as a theme for quiet school boy debate the question: "To which of the two Virginians shall we place the highest palm of American greatness - George Washington or Robert E. Lee?"

When the poet of the Pacific shall place upon the same page his songs with the Bayard like virtues of an Ashby and a Hancock and the coming historian of the South shall place upon his pages a philosophic discussion of the triumphs of military geniuses, illustrated alike from the ways of Joseph E. Johnston and McClellan.

Long years before the war, when I stood upon a far distant shore and saw the stars and stripes of America hoisted to the masthead on the 4th of July to the booming salutes from the men-of-war of all nations, my heart thrilled with the proudest emotions for the flag of my country. Though I am not so young now as I was then, I yet hope to live to see the time when all over this broad land there shall be enthroned in every heart precious memories of brave comrades and that the hearts of all shall again thrill at the sight of the National flag spread over a country where none are oppressed and all are moving forward harmoniously to the grandest triumph of nations.

But as I am getting to a point where it will be difficult to stop, I will close somewhat abruptly. We think the ladies for their attention and for their attendance and for their interest. They who stood so faithfully by the side of Southern chivalry in its greatest reverses, have been the best sympathizers in its defeat. Your beautiful flowers are a fitting tribute and an appropriate emblem of your new and overflowing grief.

A marble shaft should carry the fame of these men down the ages, the most polished of Italian shafts, for these were patriots of the first water. Or else the most enduring of Tennessee granite, for they were the sons of the volunteers and they are undrafted heroes of many a hard fought field.

"Beyond the Sunset" was then sung, and a beautiful prayer offered by Dr. T. A. Hoyt.

The "Sweet bye-and-bye," an old but favorite song, was then sung by the assembly in the best possible manner. Gottschalk's last song, and andante, was then rendered by the Post Band after which the band marched to the spot where the Confederate dead lie buried, playing Beethoven's Dead March on the way. A circle was formed around the mound, a beautiful and affecting andante played and after thus honored the sleeping Confederates, they marched away.

The exercises were terminated with a benediction by Rev. Mr. DeWitt, though many remained in the cemetery until very late, only leaving at the last moment the spot so full of sad, though sweet reflections.

The committee in charge attempted to make this occasion one in which all could mingle alike and nobly was their attempt pushed to perfect success. Let this be the bright harbinger of better days and kindlier feelings and we may all be glad for the Memorial Day of 1875. Many donations of flowers were made by those prominent in the Federal army, among them being handsome contributions from Colonel Jones and from Captain Stacy. Every officer from Ash Barracks was present except such as were compelled to remain in charge of the post.

MT. CALVARY

Quite a number of graves were decorated in Mount Calvary cemetery also.

CITY CEMETERY

Grundy LotCrowds were streaming through the City Cemetery throughout the afternoon and many of them brought flowers to place on the graves of their friends and on those of the Southern soldiers. The graves of several private individuals were handsomely decorated and those of the few noted Confederates, whose remains repose in this cemetery, were profusely covered with floral offering.

General Rains's resting place was the center of a throng during the whole evening. The iron frame that is erected on the grave was covered with evergreens and on each side was his name inscribed with white flowers. A rustic basket, containing flowers, was at the foot and from the top of the frame, flowers were suspended. A honeysuckle overhung the whole.

A monument from his comrades and admirers erected over his grave, would be a deserved tribute to the memory of so brave a General.

On the monument to General Ewell and wife, several bouquets, wreaths and an abundance of flowers had been placed and many a friend to the gallant General removed his hat as he stood silently reading the few short lines inscribed on the stone.

Some ardent admirer of General Zollicoffer had laid a large and beautiful cross, formed of flowers, on his grave. On the top of the plain tombstone was an artistic wreath while from the low mound of earth a rose bush in full bloom reared itself and cast a fragrant shade over the grave of General Zollicoffer.

Several bouquets were laid on the grave of Captain Henry Fogg, showing that he is still remembered by our citizens.

Other graves beside those above mentioned, were decorated and to the lady committee much praise is due for the artistic manner in which everything was done.

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The Daily American
Wednesday, February 6, 1878

SOUTH NASHVILLE'S MORTALITY
Is It Caused by the Poisonous Gases that Issue from the City Cemetery Vault?

The virulence which has marked most of the cases of diphtheria that have occurred in the vicinity of the city cemetery has now become a subject of anxious inquiry among the people in the extreme southern part of the city. Many think it traceable to a local cause and have settled down to the belief that it arises from the city permitting bodies to be kept in the city vault, which is in the immediate proximity of three or four hundred families. In this vault from twelve to twenty bodies have been kept through the winter, and a few in the summer. It is asserted that when the doors of the vault are opened the smell issuing therefrom is so offensive that for a time people dislike to venture into it even with a corpse. The vault has a ventilating roof, and out of this continually escapes the poisonous gases from the decaying bodies. A South Nashville gentleman, in speaking of this vault, yesterday, said that he had been on many a hard-fought battle-field, he had been forced to smell the odor arising from the dead bodies of soldiers in a hot summer's sun, but he had never been so nauseated as when standing before the open doors of this vault.

Another stated that bodies were allowed to remain in the vault too long. While the Mt. Olivet Cemetery Company permitted the use of its vault for only a limited time, the city had made no rule by which this matter was to be governed. Mt. Olivet was two miles away from the city; the vault in the City Cemetery was in the immediate vicinity of a dense population.

Councilman Wrenne says that, at the next meeting of the Board of Common Council, he intends introducing a bill to have the vault razed and even the bricks removed from the place, that no trace of the odors which would still cling to them might be left. In doing this he will be endorsed by every citizen in South Nashville.

Another positive evil exists in the Western portion of the city in the use, by the penitentiary, of Lick Branch as an open sewer. Active steps should be at once taken to either force the State or the county, or whoever is responsible, to adopt some practicable remedy.


The Daily American
Sunday, March 3, 1878

Demolition of the City Vault.

The Board of Health has ordered the vault at the cemetery to be disinfected, preparatory to tearing it down some time during the coming week.



Cemeteries of Nashville- Oldest Burial Places
Contributed by Sarah Armistead

From The History of Davidson County, Tennessee, by W.W. Clayton 1880

Stone BouquetIn the early settlement of Nashville the dead were buried on the open grounds that overlook Sulphur Spring Bottom, and at two or three country burial places in the neighborhood. At the former place may be seen a number of mounds erroneously called “Indian graves.” JOSEPH HAY, the first member of the little settlement killed by Indians, was buried a short distance to the east of Sulphur Springs, - not where it now appears, but a hundred yards towards the Capitol, where it issues from the rock beneath the surface of the ground. ROBERT GILKIE, the first who died from sickness, is said to have been buried in this ground.

The following reference to the early burying grounds was made by the late NATHANIEL CROSS, Esq., in a communication to the Tennessee Historical Society in 1850. “Being on the Bluff immediately above the Sulphur Springs this afternoon, which as is well known, was formerly a place of burial for our city, as we now consider it, …I observed that there is but one stone left with an inscription on it to tell who lies beneath. As this, which is a horizontal slab, and is already considerably defaced and otherwise impaired, and will probably be broken by rude hands, as the others have been, and disappear from the Bluff, and thus no monument to be left to attest the place where rest the bones of a considerable number of the early population of Nashville,… I was induced to copy the sole remaining inscription. The first words were defaced and partially obliterated, but still sufficiently distinct to be read, as follows:

“Erected by Sundry Brothers Officers and Comrades” “to the memory of Richard Chandler, late 1st Lieut. And Paymaster, 4th Regiment of Infantry, In the Army of the United States, who deceased on the 20th day of December 1801, aged 37 years, 7 months, and 16 days. He lived esteemed an honest man and brave soldier; he died regretted by all who knew him. Exalted truth and manly firmness shone Conspicuous in him beneath this stone.”

“His remains were removed, under the auspices of the Historical Society, form the Sulphur Spring Bottom to Mount Olivet Cemetery, with impressive ceremonies, in which Hon. E.H. East participated as orator of the day. Many of the graves are lying deep beneath the yearly deposits of the Tennessee, and their numbers or near location is only a point of conjecture.”

Before using the Bluff as a burial place, the dead were buried on the public square, between the court house and the site of the old inn. The late THOMAS CRUTCHER, who saw the last one buried there, was heard to say, years after, that the earth was so shallow it was difficult to obtain a sufficient quantity to cover the coffin. Two or three other and lesser burying places were used for a while in the surrounding country.

The City Cemetery was first used in 1822, and many bodies were removed from their first resting places for permanent buried here.”

Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy & History
Volume XXI, Number I
Page 26

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Nashville Banner
October 12, 1881

William Perry Makes Improvements


Nashville Banner
December 16, 1881

Cemetery Full

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Crew History of Nashville 1890

CHAPTER XIX
CEMETERIES.

First Burial Places- The City Cemetery- Epitaphs on Tombs of Distinguished Dead-Mount Olivet Cemetery- Nashville National Cemetery- Confederate Cemetery- Confederate Monumental Association and Confederate Monument- Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery- Mount Ararat Cemetery- The Hebrew Cemetery.

The first burial places in the vicinity of Nashville were on open grounds near the sulphur springs, and two or three country places in the neighborhood. The City Cemetery began to be used as a place of interment in 1822. The following table shows the number of interments from that year to 1859, inclusive. It was compiled by Professor R.C. Currey up to 1853, and for the later years by the publishers of the “Nashville City and Business Directory” for 1860, a rare book loaned the writer of this chapter by F.W. Weller, Esq.

The following is the record of burials in the City Cemetery:

Whites   Blacks
Year
Males Females Infants
Year
Males
Females
Infants
1822
27
10
14
1822
7
11
1823
22
5
23
1823
5
5
14
1824
19
5
35
1824
5
11
27
1825
18
12
13
1825
6
7
15
1826
17
10
28
1826
11
12
27
1827
24
9
37
1827
11
13
35
1828
33
8
52
1828
23
11
39
1829
34
16
70
1829
17
21
50
1832
14
19
41
1832
5
12
24
1833
78
34
86
1833
48
55
54
1834
42
19
52
1834
13
16
33
1835
74
55
79
1835
46
46
36
1836
33
28
76
1836
20
14
54
1837
40
29
57
1837
14
19
39
1838
29
22
60
1838
15
18
41
1839
43
25
53
1839
22
24
33
1840
42
26
63
1840
21
21
48
1841
34
40
78
1841
22
24
70
                                            
Year
Total
1822
69
1823
74
1824
102
1825
71
1826
105
1827
129
1828
166
1829
208
1832
115
1833
355
1834
175
1835
336
1836
225
1837
198
1838
185
1839
200
1840
221
1841
268
                  
Whites   Blacks
Year
Males Females Infants
Year
Males
Females
Infants
1842
42
28
49
1842
20
26
47
1843
42
43
72
1843
22
44
42
1844
61
43
112
1844
19
22
57
1845
44
41
67
1845
20
19
47
1846
70
50
139
1846
21
21
67
1847
70
65
198
1847
36
37
76
1848
82
64
179
1848
24
21
74
1849
171
168
190
1849
75
65
70
1850
190
155
231
1850
77
92
93
1851
63
50
145
1851
34
25
69
1852
85
63
221
1852
35
46
98
1853
77
58
149
1853
35
40
70
1854
120
102
178
1854
60
46
92
1855
89
75
164
1855
32
39
75
1856
62
62
161
1856
27
41
74
1857
59
69
147
1857
25
40
61
1858
68
55
166
1858
33
37
55
1859
83
60
162
1859
37
51
90
                                            
Year
Total
1842
212
1843
265
1844
314
1845
238
1846
368
1847
476
1848
446
1849
739
1850
838
1851
386
1852
548
1853
429
1854
598
1855
474
1856
427
1857
401
1858
414
1859
483

In the above table all under ten years of age are included in the list of infants.

There is no official report of mortality for 1830 and 1831, nor till May in 1832.
The City Cemetery embraces twenty-seven acres regularly laid out into streets. The above table shows 11,259 burials previous to 1850.

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Nashville Banner
May 1, 1897

In the Old City Cemetery.
Many distinguished Tennesseans Are at Rest There
Gen. James Robertson, the Founder of Nashville,
Gov. Carroll, Gen. Zollicoffer,
Duncan Robertson and Other Leaders.

Under the sod in the old City Cemetery in the southern portion of Nashville, is the dust of many who were once prominent in the affairs of Tennessee. Though they long since passed from the scene of their earthly labors into the great beyond, the memory of their lives of usefulness and honor is cherished by every true Tennessean. Their names will live forever in the annals of the state, and the reverence due brave and gallant sons of a proud and grateful commonwealth will ever be accorded. Taking an active part in the great drama of life, they won deserved renown, and now rest in peace, awaiting the morn of the resurrection.

The City Cemetery, the entrance to which is at the corner of South Cherry and Oak Streets, was opened for interments in 1822. The Sulphur Spring Bottom had been previously used as a burial ground, and many of the oldest settlers were laid to rest there. The population of the city at this time was 3,460, and after the subject had been thoroughly discussed the grounds referred to were selected as the site for the new city of the dead. The cemetery, which contains twenty-seven acres, is enclosed with a high wire fence, and although not in the best of condition, its appearance has recently been improved through the agency of a force of men under the direction of the city authorities, who have cut down much of the tall grass and weeds, and made the avenues smoother than they have been for many years. The care of the cemetery is in the hands of Mr. James Martin, who has long and satisfactorily discharged the duties of sexton. With no appropriation for the purpose of improvement in recent years, the cemetery has been kept in fair condition, but the place is deserving of more and better attention on the part of the city, and the proper steps should be taken to place and keep it in better order. This can only be done by the expenditure of a reasonable sum of money. Hundreds of the burial plots are carefully looked after by relatives of the departed, but there are hundreds of others in which are buried people who have no relatives here, and many whose families are extinct. The ravages of time have resulted in the partial destruction of many tombstones, and some of the lots are enclosed with wooden fences that are decayed and likely to fall any day.

James Robertson Tomb Among the graves is one which is likely to attract the most attention is that of Gen. James Robertson, the founder of Nashville, who breathed his last at the Chickasaw Agency on September 1, 1814, and whose remains, after resting at the agency till the year 1825, were removed to the City Cemetery. They were committed to the grave in the presence of a very large number of citizens, and an eloquent tribute to the life and services of the deceased was delivered by Judge Haywood. Eighteen years after the death of Gen. Robertson his wife died, and her remains were laid beside those of her husband. The lot is surrounded by an iron fence, and contains, besides the graves of Gen. Robertson and his wife, that of Mrs. Felix Robertson. It is said that Felix Robertson’s body is buried beside that of his wife, but there is no stone to indicate the fact. On the plain slabs are the following simple inscriptions:

“Gen. James Robertson, the founder of Nashville, was born in Virginia, 28th June, 1742. Died 1st September, 1814.”
Charlotte Reeves, wife of James Robertson, was born in North Carolina, 2nd January, 1751. Died 11th June, 1843.”
“To the memory of Lydia Waters Robertson, consort of Dr. Felix Robertson. Born in Ann Arundel County, Maryland. April 7th, 1788. Died November 13th, 1832.”

Gen. and Mrs. Robertson had eleven children, seven sons and four daughters. Two sons were killed by the Indians, and one daughter died at the age of 2 years. Felix Robertson, the first male child born in Nashville, was for many years a prominent physician in Nashville. He was born January 11, 1781, and served as Mayor of the city in 1818, and also in 1827 and 1828.

James Robertson was a native of Brunswick County, Virginia, and when he was quite young he moved with his parents to Wake County, North Carolina. He was united in marriage to Miss Reeves while a resident of that state. At the age of 28 years he left North Carolina and crossed the mountains. Among those with whom he hunted on the Watauga was Daniel Boone, and it is surmised that the two were together on the Holston in 1770. Robertson returned to North Carolina, but in 1771, accompanied by his wife and child, he left his home, and, aided by others, laid the foundation of the commonwealth of Tennessee. He took a very active part in expeditions, campaigns and engagements in Indian warfare, and while at Watauga held the rank of Captain. He was elected Colonel soon after his settlement on the Cumberland, and when the territorial government was organized President Washington commissioned him a General. Gen. Robertson was a member of the committee who drafted the memorial to the General Assembly of North Carolina, asking that Watauga be annexed to that colony. In 1777 he received the appointment of temporary agent of North Carolina and for some time resided at Chata as the accredited minister of North Carolina at the court of the Cherokee nation. Giving up this position, Gen. Robertson came to this state. He was chosen one of the justices of the County Court, upon the organization of Davidson County, in 1783, and was the first representative of the county to the General Assembly of North Carolina. He continued as such till the cession of Tennessee to Congress and its organization as the “Territory of United States southwest of the River Ohio.” On May 25, 1790, President WaDuncan Robertson Monumentshington then commissioned him Major-General of Mero District. In 1812 he was appointed agent to the Chickasaw tribe, and remained at his post among the Indians during the war, dying, as stated above, at the agency.

Near the grave of Gen.Robertson is the tomb of Duncan Robertson, who was one of the leading citizens of Nashville, and in memory of whom a monument was erected by the city. The inscription is as follows:

“To the memory of Duncan Robertson, a native of Scotland and resident of the United State forty-three years, who died at Nashville the 1st of May 1833, in the sixty-third year of his age, the citizens of Nashville have erected this monument.”
“This loss will be long and severely felt and his place will not be soon or easily supplied. Always first and best in every work of philanthropy and beneficence, to do good to his fellow men, entirely forgetful of himself seemed to be the great object of his life.”
“In the dungeon of the forsaken prisoner, at the bedside of the wretched and friendless, and in the abode of poverty and distress was the almost constantly found.”.
“In imitation of the example of his divine Master, he literally went about doing good.”
“No personal sacrifice was too great for him to make, when the calls of benevolence demanded it.”
“He was not only willing, but active and efficient in every good work of charity and disinterested beneficence. Such a man is among the wonders of the age - a blessing to any community- and his memory should be embalmed in the grateful recollections of his contemporaries, and preserved for the gratitude and veneration of posterity.”

Not far from the tomb of Duncan Robertson is the grave of Col. John Tipton, over which is a monument erected by order of the Forty-ninth General Assembly of Tennessee. The top of the shaft was broken a year or two ago by the failing of a limb from a tree close by. On one side of the monument is this inscription: “To the memory of Col. John Tipton, born in Washington County, Tenn., died October 8, 1831. Erected by order of Forty-ninth General Assembly.” On the other side appear these words:

“Sacred to the memory of the late Col. John Tipton, of Washington County, in the State of Tennessee. Placed here by the officers and members of the Forty-ninth General Assembly of that state, as a token of the regard for the talents and exalted worth of the deceased. An early adventurer in this country he was distinguished for his daring intrepidity in the sanguinary Indian wars of the day. He gave promise of the future by the deeds of his youth, and verified public expectations by the lofty stand he afterwards assumed and always sustained in the councils of his state. He was in incompatible patriot, bold in conception and fearless in execution. Covered with honors and with years he descended to the grave on October 8, 1831; in the sixty-fourth year of his age.” ______.

In one of the prettiest portions of the cemetery is situated the Zollicoffer family lot. It is enclosed by a neat stone curbing. Here rest the remains of Gen. Felix K. Zollicoffer, his wife, daughter, son-in-law and several grandchildren. At the head of the grave of Gen. Zollicoffer, who was at one time editor of the old Nashville Banner, and was killed in the battle of Fishing Creek, is a stone on which is the word “Father.” On a shaft beside it, is inscribed: “Louisa P. Gordon, wife of Felix K. Zollicoffer. Born February 21, 1819. Died July 13, 1857.” Close by is a stone on which are the words: “Mary D. Zollicoffer, wife of Nat Gaither, Jr. Born October 10, 1849. Died February 21, 1871.”

At the corner of Oak and City avenues is a monument erected to the memory of Gov. William Carroll. It is one of the most attractive in the cemetery and stands near the circular lot in which members of the Hill family are buried. The inscription on the monument reads: “To the memory of Gen. William Carroll. Born in Pennsylvania, March 3, 1788. Died March 22, 1844. He was distinguished in the battles of Talladega, Emuckfaw, Enotochpee, Tehopeka and New Orleans, and was chief magistrate of Tennessee for twelve successive years.

In close proximity to the tomb of Gov. Carroll is that of Hon. Robert Whyte, who was a native of Scotland and an excellent lawyer and judge. On the monument erected to his memory the following appears: “Hon. Robert Whyte. Born in Wigtonshire, Scotland, January 6, 1767. Died at Nashville November 12, 1844, aged 77 years and 10 months. Was Professor of Language in the College of William and Mary, in Virginia. Removed to North Carolina and practiced law; came to Tennessee and soon after was appointed Judge of Supreme Court of Errors and Appeals.” Judge Whyte vacated the bench of the Supreme Court in 1834 upon the adoption of the new constitution, and appeared no more in public life after giving up his duties as judge.

Gen. Samuel Smith tombstoneNear the grave of Gen. Robertson is the last resting place of Gen. Samuel G. Smith. The monument over his grave tells the passer-by that he was “A native of North Carolina, and at his death Secretary of State for the State of Tennessee. He was born on the 18th of September, A.D. 1794, and died on the 1st day of the same month, A.D. 1835.”

A short distance form the entrance to the cemetery is a shaft erected by Mr. Putnam in memory of Gov. John Sevier. The inscription is as follows: “Sevier, noble and successful defender of the early settlers of Tennessee. The first and for twelve years Governor, Representative in Congress, commissioner in many treaties with the Indians, he served his country forty years faithfully and usefully, and in that service died. An admirer of patriotism and merit unrequited erects this.”

Within a neatly kept enclosure is the grave of George W. Campbell, who was an early member of the Davidson County bar and a contemporary of Felix Grundy and Gen. Jackson during his early career. The inscription on his tombstone says that form 1803 until 1809 he was a member of Congress form the Eastern District of Tennessee. He was afterwards Judge of the Supreme Court of Errors and Appeals. In 1811 he was elected United States Senator from Tennessee and served until 1814, when he was appointed Secretery of Treasury by President Madison. He resigned this position in 1815 and was re-elected to the Senate in 1816. Two years afterward Mr. Campbell was appointed Minister to Russia by President Jackson (sic/should read “Monroe”) and served two years. He was one of the three commissioners to settle claims under the treaty of indemnity made with France. Mr. Campbell died in Nashville February 17, 1848.

Among the other distinguished men who are buried in the City Cemetery are Hon. Felix Grundy, Dr. John Shelby, Dr. Robert Porter, Hon. Ephraim H. Foster, and Gen. James E. Rains.

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Nashville American
April 29, 1898

Article about unusual ghost

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Modern Methods
Nashville, Tennessee
September 7, 1917. Article XI
“The City Cemetery” by Charles A. Marlin

THE CITY CEMETERY

Interesting Account of Some of the Prominent Men
and Women Who Figured in the Early
History of City and State

By Charles A. Marlin.

The Gunn Family.

On the Gunn Lot are buried the following:
Mrs. Mary Hewit Hooe, second wife of Capt. Turner Morehead, of Kentucky, who died in Nashville, Tenn., May 20, 1838. She was a woman of culture and ability and noted for her hospitality and noted for her hospitality. Her husband Capt. Morehead was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, being with Gen. Wayne at Stony Point and was presented with a sword by Gen. Washington for his acts of bravery. She was the mother of Mrs. Lyman Taft Gunn.

Dr. Lyman Taft Gunn - Born at Montague, Mass., April 1, 1810, died in Dresden, Tenn., December 1, 1890, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Sophia Gunn Moran. He was a descendent o the Montague’s of England, his mother being a Montague, and was also connected with the Taft family. He spent the early years of his life with Mrs. Taft (grandmother of ex-President Taft) after the death of his mother. Dr. Gunn was educated in Boston, Mass., and attended the Dental Department of the University of Pennsylvania where he graduated in dentistry. He came to Nashville a few years before the Was, and was one of the first dentists of Nashville, being associated with Dr. Morgan and practiced his profession over forty years, in this city. His office was on what was the known as Spring street, and was one of the leading citizens of Nashville, and a member of the First Presbyterian Church.

Caroline Morehead - first wife of Dr. Lyman Taft Gunn was born in Glasgow, Ky., November 21, 1817, and died in Nashville, November 10, 1855. Was the daughter of Capt. Turner Morehead and Mary Hewitt Hooe Morehead.

Mary Francis Gunn - daughter of Dr. Lyman T. and Caroline Gunn, was born December 9, 1844 and died January 1, 1845; also the following children of Dr. L.T. Gunn and Caroline Gunn:

Wm. E. Gunn, born October 15, 1849, died 1876.

Caroline Louise Gunn, born August 30, 1853, died, July 28, 1857.

Chas. Morehead Gunn, born September 30, 1855, died June 2, 1878.

Lyman C. Gunn, born in Nashville, Tenn., November 16, 1846, died in Nashville, Tenn., August 18, 1914. He was the last surviving member of a family of six children. When a boy 14 years of age he enlisted in the Confederate Army serving with Com- A, First Tennessee Regiment, with Gen. Forrest and the last two years of the War with General Simon Bolivar Buckner as Courier. He was a first cousin of General Buckner, their mothers being sisters. He surrendered with Gen. Buckner at Shreveport, La., in 1865. In recent years he was affiliated with Forrest Calvary [sic], being first Lieutenant of Troop C, and also a member of Frank Cheatham Bivouc [sic].. He was in service of the Express Company out of Chattanooga shortly after the War, being associated with the late Major John. W. Thomas. Was also with the T. & P. Ry. in its early history in Dallas, Texas, also the M.K. & T. Ry. at St. Louis, and he severed his connection with that road in 1900 to become Gen. Freight and Passenger Agent of the Tennessee Central Ry. He was a member of the Moore Memorial Church of Nashville at the time of his death.

Ellis Morehead Gunn - son of Lyman C. Gunn and Sallie Boyd Gunn, who died in Nashville, Tenn., November 6, 1902. He was a soldier of the Spanish American War, being Corporal of Company G, Sixth Missouri Regiment. He served in Cuba, and while there contracted rheumatism which effected his heart and was the ultimate cause of his death.

The Gunn lot is the third lot from the Memorial Gate on City avenue. Nearly every old inhabitant remembers Dr. Lyman Gunn and his book, “Gunn’s Family Medical Adviser,” which had such a sale a few years after the War.

C. Clara Cole.

The author of that beautiful book dedicated to Rev. R.B.C. Howell, and known as “Clara Poems,” is buried in section 28 near Central avenue. She was born February 3, 1807, and died April 30, 1883. She was distantly related to the author of this sketch. Her first husband was Samuel C. Marling, who was born in 1796 and died about 1845. She had one famous child by her first husband, John Marling, who was editor of the Nashville Union, and died while minister to Guatemala under President Pierce. He had a duel, or street fight with General Felix K. Zollicoffer, editor of the old Nashville Banner, in which both were wounded.

She later married a man by the name of Cole, but still made her living by her literary talents. You notice the peculiar way of spelling “Marling,” with a “G” on it. You must know that Samuel C. and Henry N. Marlin were brothers, (Henry N. was my grandfather) and sons of Archibald Marlin, who was granted 640 acres of ground on Stone’s Creek for personal bravery in the Revolutionary war. He spells his name “Marlin.” But Marlins are like the Ewins, and as soon as they get high-toned, they put a “G” on their names. City Attorney A.G. Ewing lives in the mounds of the city, the first time you see him ask him where he got the “G” on his name. It was thus - Andrew Ewin was a member of the County Court and the court elected him County Court Clerk, and he had to give a thousand pounds (not dollars) bond, and the next day he put a “G” on his name. But this is off the subject.

Clara Cole lived to a ripe old age and was much esteemed by the community. Her home was called Bird’s Nest Cottage and was on Eighth Avenue, N., near Union street.

Joseph Coleman.

At the corner of Maple and Oak avenue is the lot of Joseph Coleman, first mayor of Nashville. He is buried in this lot in an unmarked grave. He was mayor of the city in 1806, 1807 and 1808.

Thomas Crutcher.

The Treasurer of the Mero district which is now in Tennessee, was Thomas Crutcher. He is buried in at the corner of Cedar and Central avenues. He was born in Virginia, February 18, 1760; he was mayor of Nashville in 1819; treasurer of the Miro (sic) district 1803 and to 1836 - 33 years. His tombstone says “Treasurer of the State of Tennessee for twenty-five years,” this is erroneous.

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Nashville Tennessean
Sunday Morning, June 15, 1930.

MANY NOTED PIONEERS SLEEP IN OLD CITY CEMETERY.

Ancient Burying Ground Now Object of Veneration;
Stones There tell Nashville’s History.

Fell Into General Disuse Before War
Between States; Later Officially Closed.

Grave Still Dug Once In While For One
Whose Kin Already Lies There.

“Here sleep heroes of historic
    days
Who lived and wrought the
    South’s fair fame,
Their faith and courage
    through untried ways
Achieved the glory of a nation’s
    fame.”

The old Nashville city cemetery has been for generations an object of veneration and affection to those who are involved in its traditions and has been a storehouse of rare authentic information to those interested in recording the history of this city and this section.

The cemetery was established in 1822, comprises twenty acres and contains perhaps 20,000 graves. There is no way of telling accurately just how many inhabitants the ancient enclosure includes. Many official records are no longer in existence and it is impossible to discover definitely the number of re-interments or removals. Also many of the most authentic papers recording burials by the city public health department were destroyed several years ago by rats.

While the cemetery was opened for interment in 1822, many of the older graves show figures of deaths considerably prior to that time. This is accounted for by the fact that many interments of the earliest days consisted of removals of bodies from other cemeteries of even earlier existence. The original settlers employed the bluffs of the river overlooking Sulphur Springs bottom as well as the public square as burial grounds, and when the city cemetery came into existence many bodies were dug up from these older spots and transplanted in the new field. Also augmenting these were like re-interments from the private burial grounds in old family gardens.

It seems that the old cemetery’s capacity was pretty well exhausted by the time of the Civil War and with the establishment of Mt. Olivet it began to fade rapidly in popularity and prestige.

Further Burials Forbidden

An account appears in a newspaper article published shortly after the Civil War period of the crisis finally reached when the congestion period arrived. A city ordinance had been passed, it is stated, forbidding further burials in the cemetery. Shortly thereafter a test case resulted growing out of the death of an infant in a prominent family. The father, it seems, instructed the venerable undertaker, W.R. Cornelius to inter the child by the side of its mother, which was done, the result being that Mr. Cornelius was arrested, arraigned and fined $50.00. The matter finally was compromised, according to the narrative, the understanding being that thereafter interments would be permitted only in the case of families already owning lots. Of late years there have been intermittent burials under thus arrangement, and some old families still avail themselves of the privilege of placing their dead by the side of those in the immediate circle who have preceded them.

Notables Buried There.

Following there is presented without any claim of its comprising a complete catalogue, a list, with brief descriptive data, of those who might be considered worthy of comprising the cemetery’s hall of notables.

Robertson SundialGen. James Robertson, founder of Nashville; Dr. Felix Robertson, son of James Robertson, first white child born in Nashville, pioneer physician and professor of medicine at University of Nashville, Mayor 1818, 1827, 1828; Charlotte Reeves Robertson, wife of James Robertson; Lydia Robertson, wife of Dr. Felix Robertson; Tennessee Robertson, grand daughter of James Robertson.

Major John Cockrill, Lipsomb Norvell, Archibald Marlin, Anthony Foster, Samuel Chapman, John Bradford, Revolutionary soldiers.

Ann Robertson Cockrill, sister of James Robertson, wife of Maj. John Cockrill, taught school aboard the good ship Adventure, first teacher in Nashville, received war service land grant form government.

Henry Marlin, Creek war, War of 1812; Gen. Robert Armstrong, Indian Wars and War of 1812; George Washington Campbell, U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate, minister to Russia.

Capt. William Driver, master mariner, named the national emblem “Old Glory;” Gen. William Carroll, Indian Wars, War of 1812, governor of Tennessee 12 years, chairman of presidential convention of 1844; John McNairy, Mero district judge, member Tennessee supreme court of law and equity, U.S. district judge, U.S. circuit judge; Terry H. Cahal, first Florida war, speaker state Senate, chancery judge; Col. W .B. A. Ramsey, historian, author of Ramsey’s Annals of Tennessee.

Henry Middleton Rutledge, only son of Edward Rutledge, signer the Declaration of Independence; Septima Rutledge, wife of Henry M. Rutledge, daughter of Arthur Middleton, signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Lieut. [Note”should read “Lizinka, wife of”] Richard Stoddard Ewell, daughter of George Washington Campbell; Mrs. George Washington Campbell, daughter of Benjamin Stoddard, first secretary of the U.S. Navy.

Dr. Girard Troost, first state geologist, professor of chemistry, University of Nashville; Admiral Paul Shirley, U.S.N.; Thomas Crutcher, treasurer Mero Military distict, mayor of Nashville, 1819; Gen. Felix Zollicoffer, C.S.A., anto-bellum editor, killed in Civil War; Col. William B. Reese, C.S.A., lawyer, jurist and professor of law at Vanderbilt university; Rev. William Hume, clergyman, organizer First Presbyterian church, member of faculty Cumberland College, afterwards University of Nashville, second president Nashville’s Female Academy; Dr. Duncan Robertson, physician and philanthropist; Dr. C. D. Elliott, clergyman, president Nashville Female Academy, 1840-1861, Confederate soldier; Robert C. Foster, lawyer, speaker of state senate and candidate for governor three times; Ephraim H. Foster, lawyer, speaker both houses of legislature, Whig leader and United States senator; Charles Maddis, interpreter to General Jackson in War of 1812; Alfred Hume, son of William Hume, founder of the public school system of Nashville, whose name the Hune-Fogg school bears.

Francis B. Fogg, lawyer, civic leader and first president of city board of education, name also honored in designation of Hume-Fogg school.

Richard Claiborne Napier, founder Napier Iron Works; Robert Baxter, founder Cumberland Iron Works; Wilkins Tannehill, editor, mayor, grand master Masons; John L. Marling, editor who fought duel with General Zollicoffer, minister to Guatemala; Clara Cole, mother of John L. Marling, author of “Clara’s Poems.”

Alexander Porter, U.S. senator from Louisiana and member Louisiana supreme court; William Edward West, noted painter of Henry Clay portraits; Joseph Coleman, first mayor of Nashville, 1806-1808; Thomas B. Coleman, son of Joseph Coleman, mayor 1842; Robert Bell Castleman, mayor 1845-1855; Charles Clay Trabue, mayor 1839-1840; first deputy grand sire Tennessee Odd Fellows; Robert B. Currey, postmaster 26 years, from 1800 to 1826; Rev. Obedia Jennings, early Presbyterian clergyman. William B. Shapard, banker elected mayor in 1854 and resigned after serving three days; P. W. Maxey, mayor, 1843-1844; Andrew [Alexander] Allison, mayor 1847-1848; William Armstrong, mayor 1829-1832; Moses Norvell, Whig editor, publisher, beginning 1812; George Wilson, first editor and publisher Nashville Gazette, 1819; William G. Hunt, Whig editor, beginning 1822; William Fly Smith, Whig Editor, 1844-1850; James P. Irwin, Whig Editor, 1824-1826, postmaster 1826, challenged Sam Houston to fight a duel; Thomas Callender, Whig publisher, 1857-1861; Joseph [James] H. Thompson, first publisher American, 1848.

Dr. Charles Winston, professor of medicine University of Nashville; Andrew Ewing, Quaker, clerk to the government of the notables, 1783-1813; Nathan Ewing, son of Andrew Ewing, clerk of Davidson county court for many years; Timothy Kezer, first grand master Tennessee Odd Fellows; James Woods, banker, iron manufacturer and steamboat owner; Joseph Vaulx, banker and landowner; David Shelby, owner of large part of Edgefield, now East Nashville; John Shelby, son of David Shelby, physician.

Rev. William H. Wharton, pioneer minister Christian church, state librarian; Rev. John Rains, pioneer minister; Thomas W. Erskine [sic], Irish essayist visiting in this country; Samuel G.
Smith
, Secretary of state 1832-1835; Robert P. Curran, commissioner of public instruction; George Thomas Bowen, professor of chemistry University of Nashville; Peter Bass, pioneer manufacturer; and Col. John Tipton, Jr., son of Col. John Tipton of pioneer fame, died while member of legislature in 1831.

Well-Known Names

Cemetery records contain the names of a great proportion of Nashville’s early families which are still familiar to many of the present generation on account of the large number of names appearing which are yet prominent in the life and affairs of the city.

Some of these names are Adams, Akin, Alley, Allen, Allison, Armstrong, Bailey, Barrow, Bass, Bateman, Baxter, Bedford, Bolton, Bosley, Bradford, Burton, Campbell, Carroll, Castleman, Childress, Claiborne, Cockrill, Cole, Coleman, Cooley, Cotton, Cowan, Crutcher, Currey, DeMoville, Dickinson, Diggons, Dyas, Edmundson, Elliott, Ellison, Everett, Ewing, Fall, Farrell, Fogg, Foster, Fuller, Gale, Gennett, Gibson, Gilliam, Goodwin, Gowdy, Harris, Heriges, Hill, Himman, Hogg, Horn, Horton, Hough, Howell, Howard, Hume, Hunt, Irwin, Erwin, Jackson, Jennings, Johnson, Kirkman, Kirby, Lanier, Lawrence, Leake, Lewis, Littlefield, Litton, Marshall, Maxey, McAlister, McComb, McCrory, McDaniel, McGavock, McLaughlin, Morris, Moore, Morgan, Myers, Newell, Nichol, Parrish, Pilcher, Pillow, Porterfield, Price, Pritchet, Ramage, Rives, Robinson, Rogers, Seay, Simms, Simpson, Stainback, Stephens, Stewart, Thomas, Thompson, Todd, Toney, Turner, Vanleer, Wallace, Warder, Washington, Waters, Watson, Weber, Weller, Wheeless, Wilkinson, Williams, Wilson, Winburn, Winder, Wintson,Wood,Woodfolk, Yeatman.

Many Records Missing.

Records pertaining to the various old family vaults are in many cases missing. These collective sepulchers are nearly all subterranean. Generally ponderous stone slabs mark their entrances, these great coverings being flat upon the ground. The largest of the vault enclosures which generally are fenced in by iron railings, is the Jimmie Dick Hill sepulcher. It faces the main driveway and its boundaries comprise a circle about sixty feet in diameter. It is enclosed by a heavy iron railing embedded in thick stone posts placed at regular intervals. It contains the body of this prominent old citizen and those of his father and mother.

The McNairy vault is reputed to be the most populous, containing, according to historian Charles Marlin’s figures, twenty-nine bodies, including that of Judge John McNairy, founder of the family, who died in 1837 and his sons, Dr. Boyd McNairy and Dr. John Sims McNairy. Its occupants include also members of the Rutledge, Harding, Smith, Alloway and other related families. Many family slaves are said to lie with their masters and mistresses.

Others are the Shelby vault which holds the dust of David Shelby, who owned a large part of Edgefield, now East Nashville and his son, Dr. John Shelby and others, the Johnson vault over which is perhaps the handsomest vault monument, the Curran [sic] , Vaulx, Baxter, Whiteman, Clark and the Morris-Lanier-Cooley vaults. The occupants of the last named vault were removed many years ago.

McNairy Vault ColumnsThe main general facts relating to the noted McNairy vault, as far as facts are obtainable, have been narrated. One of the most interesting, one of the oldest and one of the most mysterious legends of the cemetery relates to this sarcophagus. The story of the secret connection of this subterranean chamber with old Fort Negley which presumably carried with it military significance, has never been verified. If such a passage existed in all likelihood it was sealed up or covered up at both ends when its alleged mission was completed.

The story of the beautiful monument which contains no inscription doubtless is authentic and truthful. The narrative runs that the tender and in fact impassioned tribute to a first wife which was on the shaft disappeared shortly after the bereaved spouse took unto himself a second wife. While the monument is now clean of inscription, the cemetery records show that the mysterious vanishing legend thereon read as follows: “To Mary Macon Bryan, whose epitaph is written upon the heart of him who has caused this marble monument to mark the place where her remains rest.” This monument is most artistic in design, is of Italian Marble, and occupies a prominent position just to the right of the main entrance to the cemetery.

General Zollicoffer and John L. Marlin who as rival editors of ante-bellum days fought their famous duel at what is now the corner of Fourth Avenue, north, and Cedar street, lie near each other, quite appropriate to the fact that after their street encounter in which Marlin was badly wounded, they expressed mutual gratification that neither was killed and remained good friends until Marlin’s death not long thereafter. [Note: could also read “Marling”]

The Zollicoffer lot is one of the best maintained in the cemetery and has spaces left for the surviving members of the family. Sons of Felix Zollicoffer Wilson family are buried there. The General Zollicoffer slab is a very modest one, merely containing his mane and the inscription “To Our Father.”

Even More Modest.

If the Zollicoffer slab is a modest one; however, that which indicates the last resting place of his fellow fiery editor is even more so. It is but a mite of a monument, only large enough in fact to contain the initials, “J.L.M.

Adjoining this shrinking little marker will be seen the simple head stone of the ante-bellum duelist’s mother, Clara Cole. Mrs. Cole, who obtained her last name from a second husband, was equally interesting and romantic a figure as her son. She was the author of “Clara’s Poem’s,” which still are to be found on the shelves of old Nashville libraries. The tone and tenor of these musings, naturally serious and dramatic in keeping with the spirit of the times, doubtless were exaggerated in emotional intensity by the tragic features of her son’s life. Nearly all of them are pitched in a somber and sepulchral key.

A twin picture of much human interest appearing in the accompanying group is that showing the children’s teacher conducting her class and the large boulder with ornamental iron mounting long known as “Lover’s Rock.”

There is no quainter nor more feeling testimonial to a beloved personage of Nashville’s earlier days than that honoring Miss Parmelia Kirk, a gentle, sweet and refined maiden lady of the old school who taught little boys and girls. The school room scene depicted shows the mistress sitting in her chair and three tots agonizing in class room work. One of them has a finger in her mouth in an attitude of embarrassment.

Where Lovers Quarreled.

Lover's StoneThe legend of the romantic stone has been told before but it is still new in keeping with the everlasting subject to which it relates. The great stone, so the fateful narrative runs, marks the spot where the young lovers quarreled with the result that the maiden later dashed herself to death on a rock below where their last tryst was held. Even the tragic spot in question is identified as having been on a bluff overlooking the Cumberland river near the Hermitage. The stone was placed there by the disconsolate and bereaved one as an eternal reminder of his passionate desolation. There is no inscription or mark of any kind on the huge boulder.

The oldest inscription discoverable in the cemetery is that on the well-kept Bass lot. It is the joint monument of Peter Bass and his beloved consort, Anna Stone Bass. While, as previously observed, the cemetery was not opened until 1822, Mrs. Bass’ epitaph shows that she died in 1808, while Mr. Bass’ indicates that he survived her twenty-one years. Naturally the presumption prevails that when the head of the family died in 1829 the dust of his helpmeet who had preceded him was re-interred with his body and a twin monument erected.

Monument Is Maintained.

This lot and monument are maintained by Mrs. Whiteford Cole of Louisville, who lived in Nashville until a few years ago and who is a descendant of this pioneer couple. The faded inscriptions recently were touched up with black paint and both now are plainly recognizable. This ancient shaft is in excellent general condition. It is located in the northeast corner near the Foster lot.

John Kane - StricklandPride of avocation and accomplishment were strong in those primitive days and funeral services of which the procession was an important accessory, as well as monuments, were inclined to portray conspicuously what the deceased was and did. A handsome monument is that of Robert Baxter, pioneer iron master. The photograph which accompanies this article is shown in part with special reference to disclosing how the Cumberland iron furnace, which Mr. Baxter established, looked in original days. It may be seen plainly sculptured on the lower part of the shaft.

One of the most artistic tributes in stone to be seen in the entire cemetery is that near the main gate on the left which was erected in honor of John Kane by surviving fellow stonemasons when the subject of the testimonial fell from a scaffold during the process of erecting the state capitol.

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Tennessean
June 24, 1931

CITY CEMETERY HOLDS MANY OF PIONEERS WHO MADE HISTORY.

Historic Ground Better Cared for Now;
Robertson, Zollicoffer Among Dead Placed There.

“The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”

In Nashville there are such graves of glory - shrines where dwellers in the past may worship. But the principal such shrine has suffered some neglect with the passage of the years. It is the old City cemetery in South Nashville - Resting place of Nashville’s illustrious dead.

True it is that neither of the two ante-bellum presidents, Jackson and Polk is buried there, but with these two exceptions there are few of Nashville’s first citizens of before the Civil War who are not buried in the City cemetery.

Many of the heroes of that conflict are also interred in the South Nashville burial ground - Felix Kirk Zollicoffer, Confederate general for example.

In the cemetery are numerous box tombs which resemble the sarcophagi of the ancients. These are made of four upright slabs of stone with the fifth laid across bearing the inscription. In many cases vandals have torn these apart and broken off chips of the granite or marble - either got souvenirs or for the sheer perverted pleasure of doing damage.

A windstorm once blew down a tree in the cemetery and the tree carried with it a heavy monument.

A lighter monolith was lifted off its pedestal and had never yet been set upright on that base.

To read the inscriptions on the tombs and the gravestones in the cemetery is to turn the pages of the “Who’s Who”: of the Nashville that was.

There is, of course, the Robertson lot, resting place of Gen. James Robertson and members of his family.

One monument with a rope entwined anchor carved on it, commemorates the achievement of Capt. William Driver, New England mariner, who sailed to the Antipodes and brought back some Americans to prevent their contracting a contagious disease raging there.

It was Capt. Driver who named the American flag “Old Glory.” In his later years he settled here and died in 1886, just two weeks before his eighty-third birthday.

Two legends of interest attach to the cemetery. One is that during Civil War days an underground passage connected it with Fort Nelgey.

Men and Women Famous in History Lie Buried In Nashville’s Old City Cemetery.

Old-fashioned box tombs over the graves of James Robertson, founder of Nashville and father of Middle Tennessee, and Charlotte Reeves Robertson, his wife. Gen. Robertson died at the Chickasaw Indian Agency on September 1, 1814, and his body was subsequently removed to Nashville. The Robertson were married in Wake county, North Carolina, January 21, 1768, Mrs. Robertson and her children came to the site of Nashville on the “good ship Adventure” in 1780. The first white child born in the settlement was their son, Felix Robertson, born January 11, 1781. Mrs. Robertson saved the first settlers of Nashville by turning out a pack of hounds on the Indians in the Battle of the Bluffs.

Beautiful Monument over grave of Robert Baxter, founder of the Cumberland Furnace. Robert Baxter died in 1850.

Tombs of Gen. R. S. Ewell, a Lieutenant-General under Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg, and George Washington Campbell, Secretary of the U.S. Treasury under Madison, Minister to Russia and one of the three Commissioners to settle the claims of indemnity in the treaty with France. George Washington Campbell bought Capitol Hill for a cow and calf and a pair of leather breeches and sold it to the city of Nashville for $30,000. The city turning it over to the State.

Tomb of Lipscomb Norvell, “Christian and Patriot, served his country as an officer in the army of the Revolution, from 1776 to 1783. Died November 2, 1813.” (Note: should read “1843”)
Grave of Col. George Wilson, publisher of the first newspaper west of the Cumberland Mountains.
Monument over the grave of Terry H. Cahal, officer under Jackson in the first Florida war against the Seminole Indians.

Tomb of Gen. William Carroll, soldier, statesman and businessman. He command the Middle Tennessee troops who formed the right wing of Gen. Jackson’s army at the Battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815. He was Governor of Tennessee six terms and was one of the owners of the first steamboat plying the Cumberland River, “The General Jackson.” Gen. Carroll was buried in the old city cemetery March 24, 1844.

Tombstone over the grave of Alfred Hume, the founder of Nashville Public School System.

Nashville has many interesting past chapters in her educational history, from those pioneer times when the foundation was laid for her greatness as the Athens of the South.

Parmelia KirkNumerous private schools flourished from time to time, and one of these which was held before the war between the states was a school termed in those days a dame’s school, kept by Mrs. Pamilla Kirk,[Parmilia] whose quaint old tombstone is one of the most interesting to be found in Nashville’s old city cemetery. It is ornamented with a bas relief carving which shows the old school teacher seated in her chair, book in hand, with three of her young pupils ranged before her to say their lessons, one of the wee toddlers on the path of learning having her finger in her mouth. The traditional teacher’s rod is represented in the carved school scene, but surviving pupils of the old school to-day tell of a regime of kindness in which the rod played no important part.

The age of the old teacher is not set down on the stone, but tradition fails to tell whether this was because her exact birth date was not known or whether because it was information Mrs. Kirk did not desire to make public. She died; however, at an advanced age. The inscription reads as follows: “Sacred to the memory of Pamilla A. Kirk, died Nov. 8, A.D. 1860.. Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.” A small cross and a garland also ornament the old tombstone.
The interesting photograph pictured above was made by the late Dr. John M. Bass, who was keenly interested in the history of this section, as was his father, the late Mr. John M. Bass. Mr. Bass and his two sisters, Mrs. W.N.R. Beall of St. Louis, formerly Felicia Bass, and Mrs. Henry W. Connor, formerly Mary Van Winder Bass, were all pupils of Mrs. Kirk.

HIGH STREET THE SITE.

The school was located on Sixth Avenue, north, then called High Street between Church and Broad street, and the school house was an old brick structure. The school was for primary pupils, and enrolled about twenty or more boys and girls.

Through a period of some months an effort has been made by some of those interested in the old school, to find some surviving former pupils here, and W.H. Callender of 2215 Grantland Avenue was the only one found to date. Mr. Callender who is in his eighty-first year, has very vivid and happy recollections of his first schooling under Mrs. Kirk. Tradition says that his is the figure of the little boy in the group of three pupils carved on the tombstone. He was one of a class of three, the other members two little girls, who always said their lessons together and one of these wee maidens had her finger in her mouth so frequently that this further identifies the little class who say their lessons perpetually to the carved image of the good old dame on the tombstone.

Mr. Callender attended the school in 1849 and 1850 and he pays high tribute to Mrs. Kirk as a kind and able guide to little feet on the path of learning. Each little boy and girl brought his or her chair at the beginning of the term and left it at Mrs. Kirk’s house until the end of the term, he says. The little girls sat in the first row of chairs and the boys in the second row.

Mr. Callender gives an interesting account of the method of discipline used by the kindly old teacher. The child who was in need of discipline was called to the platform and had to stand for a period designated by the teacher. If the offense was repeated the second time the youthful offender had to stand with his hand behind him. For the third offense the child culprit had to stand on one foot. “I got to be adept standing on one foot as a goose,” laughed Mr. Callender.

If the child being punished forgot and put his foot down he got a tap from Mrs. Kirk’s little rod, but I never saw a child undergo severe corporal punishment. She was invariably sympathetic. Even the little girl whose timidity brought her finger to her mouth was always told to take her “sweet” finger out.

BLUE BACKED SPELLER

“When we got to baker, heading the words of two syllables in the old blue-back speller,” said Mr. Callender, “we felt as important as if we had graduated, and could hardly wait to get back home to tell our families.”

School books were prized in those days, and Mr. Callender says to keep the children’s thumbs from wearing out the pages each child had a thumb paper attached to a loose string, on which he put his thumb when he had opened the book. Thoroughness as far as instruction went was practiced in this infants’ or primary school, which undoubtedly had its effect on the pupils in after life.

Mr. Callender put an inquiry in the Banner last summer asking anyone who remembered Mrs. Kirk to communicate with him and he received a most interesting letter from one of Mrs. Kirk’s old pupils, Robert I. Moore of Spring Hill, written in a hand-writing as clear as print, which reflects much credit on the penmanship instruction he received in his youth. Mr. Moore attended Mrs. Kirk’s school for two sessions, spring and fall, about 1851. Both Mr. Moore and Mr. Callender were Confederate soldiers, and in the list of pupils Mr. Moore sent in of the boys with whom he was most closely associated there are a number of names of those who though mere striplings a few years later at the outbreak of the war between the states, became gallant Confederate soldiers. Mr. Moore puts on his list who gave up their lives for the Confederate cause: John Carter, son of Daniel F. Carter, wounded in the Battle of Perryville, Boyle County, Kentucky, Oct. 8, 1862, who died Jan. 18, 1863: Tom Percy, killed in the line of battle, and Sam Morgan.

Other boy pupils of the old school named by Mr. Moore are: Joe and Henry Yeatman, Joe Hough, M.B. Fogg, Matt B. Pilcher, B.F. Nichol, Brad Nichol, Edgar Nichol, George Diggons, Vernon Stevenson, Jim and John Kirkman, Tobe Meigs, Frank Scott, Tom Washington, John Smith, Joe Stone, Billie Cunningham, Bob Lusk, Jack Dashields and Tom Gibson.

TRIBUTE TO TEACHER

To his old teacher, Mr. Moore pays the following tribute:

“Mrs. Kirk was heaven-born for that unappreciated profession, teaching what is now called kindergarten. She had the patience of a saint. Nothing that a dozen or more unruly little devils did seemed to upset her. Her temper never flared up. I have no remembrance of an outburst of violent temper from her. I do not remember that she ever slapped or used a switch on any of her scholars. Always a gentle, friendly, loving talk sent them to their seats, all in a good humor and friends with each other. She had to perfection the art of taking a child’s mind off the subject that the child had in its mind to a subject more interesting.”

“On my first entrance into the schoolroom I saw for the first time in my life an arm chair without rockers on its feet, with a soft pad in the seat, the chair upon a platform about eight feet square. It was quite a high honor for us kiddies to sit in that chair.

“The next wonder in the room was a wooden frame about two feet square, with several wires stretched through it. On those wires were 100, more or less, wooden buttons of various colors. The children used these buttons to count, pushing them left to right, as many buttons, one at a time, as they could count. As their knowledge of numbers grew they added and subtracted. This method of learning what figures meant was both pleasant and useful to them. They felt the buttons with their fingers and did not forget.”

Mr. Moore wrote that numbers of times he had seen the scene depicted on the old teacher’s monument - three children standing close by the old dame’s chair, her arm half around them while she taught them, talking in a soft, low, friendly tone of voice to them. He recalls that the chair shown in the bas-relief on the monument is an exact replica of the original chair.

Mr. Moore writes, “Seventy years is a long time ago for school memories. Of the school teachers of my life, Mrs. Kirk was the most lovable of all.” He refers to her great kindness and concludes: “I have passed my eighty-second year of life. I have not one harsh thought nor an unpleasant memory of these school days.”

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Banner Magazine
Sunday, July 18, 1937

Patriots Rest in Weeds
Old City Cemetery Harbors Graves of 30,000 Nashville
Resident in Jumbled Mass of Broken Stones, High Grass

By Mary Jane Brooks

Beneath the spreading trees that stand carelessly among the vaults and tombstones of the City Cemetery lie Nashville’s patriots their headstones rising above a faintly waving field of grass, knee high. Their last resting place is on of tumbled stone and weed- choked paths. Here and there the graves lie open and staring. Nashville has buried its sons and daughters here since 1822, and more than 30,000 now rest in the mouthful sea of weeds and scraggly iris.

The City Cemetery was Nashville’s third burial place. The first was located just east of the Public Square. The second was on the hill west of the French Lick Sulphur Spring near the present ball park. The cemetery is laid out in the streets, and neglected paths run between the lots. Many of the stones are broken, with their inscriptions long since obliterated by time and rain. A solitary old Negro mechanically chops at the high grass with a sickle, and a scrawny horse wanders among the graves.

One of the few carefully cared for lots is that of James Robertson and his family. Gen. James Robertson, “Founder of Nashville and Father of Tennessee,” lies with an iron-fenced plot tenderly kept by a local chapter of the D.A.R. Nearby is buried Anne Robertson, a sister of the General, who was connected with the first education in the little Nashboro settlement. Early records give evidence that she conducted a little school on the Adventure, the tiny boat of Col. John Donelson which brought the early settlers from Fort Patrick Henry on the Holston River to the French Salt Springs on the Cumberland in the winter of 1779 and 1780.

Journalist Buried In Nearby Grave

Not far distant from the Robertson lot is the grave of General Felix K. Zollicoffer, an early journalist. It was while Zollicoffer was editor of the Republican Banner that the famous duel between him and John Leake Marling, also buried at the City Cemetery, took place. Marling was editor and part owner of the Daily Union, a Democratic paper, and in a slanderous editorial in the fall of 1852, Marling charged Zollicoffer with “misinterpreting” the slavery views of Franklin Pierce and generally called him a liar. Zollicoffer demanded satisfaction, and the two met in front of the Union office and exchanged shots. Zollicoffer was wounded slightly on the hand, but Marling was more seriously injured with a head wound. The differences between the men seemed to be mainly political, and they were later reconciled. General Zollicoffer was killed during the Civil War at the Battle of Fishing Creek. The General, historical reports show, passed his own lines, meeting Federal troops under Col. Speed S. Fry. Zollicoffer’s aide-de-camp, although under orders not to use his gun, fired on Fry, and in the volley of shots returned by the Federals, Zollicoffer was killed. Marling died in 1856 in Nashville after serving as Minister to Guatemala under appointment from President Pierce.

Another Confederate general who is buried in the City Cemetery is Gen. Richard Stoddert Ewell, the often criticized general who led Lee’s center at Gettysburg. Genearl Ewell was captured at Sailor’s Creek and spent nearly four months in prison at Fort Warren. After his release, he returned to his farm near Spring Hill where he died of pneumonia in 1872.

Among the early settlers who find their last resting place in the Fourth Avenue cemetery is George Washington Campbell, an early lawyer and jurist who served as a United States Senator, Secretary of Treasury under President Monroe, and Minister to Russia form 1818 to 1820. Campbell is said to have bought Cedar Knob, present sight of the State Capitol, from the Indians for a cow, a calf, and a pair of leather breeches. He later sold the hill to the City of Nashville for $30,000.

Man Who Named Flag Rests Here

William Driver

Capt. William Driver, a retired New England sailor who named the flag “Old Glory,” is also buried in the cemetery. Captain Driver was a seaman since the age of twelve. He sailed around the world twice, and on a voyage to Tahiti in 1831, he rescued sixty-nine descendants of the Bounty’s mutineers and took them to Pitcairn Island. When the Federals took Nashville in 1862, Driver insisted that his original “Old Glory” be raised over the city. The flag had been quilted for safe keeping into a bed comforter previous to the capture. Captain Driver married a Nashville woman and died here in 1863. (Note: should read “1886”). He is buried under a monument of his own design.

Not far from Driver’s grave is that of Henry M. Rutledge, a son of Edward Rutledge who was the eighth signer of the Declaration of Independence, was the husband of a daughter of Arthur Middleton, another signer of the Declaration. Rutledge came to Tennessee as heir to 75,000 acres of land that had been given his father for Revolutionary services.

Another grave of interest in the cemetery is that of William E. West, a son of Edward West who built the first steamboat, fourteen years before Fulton launched his [_]lermont. West was a famous artist and a cousin of Benjamin West. He traveled with Washington Irving and painted celebrities in Europe. Among his portraits is a famous one of Lord Byron, and the only existing one of Shelly, according to the History of Homes and Gardens of Tennessee, a book compiled by the Nashville Garden Study Club.

Bedford Forrest, An account is taken of the fight between Forrest and Lieut. L. W. Gould, who is also buried in the cemetery. Lytle says Gould was the officer responsible for the loss of Forrest’s two “pet cannons” at the battle of Sand Mountain, and that one of his first actions on being promoted while in Columbia, Tenn., to Van Dorn’s position, was to order the transferral of Gould from his command. Gould demanded an explanation, and when Forrest refused, the young Lieutenant whipped out a gun and fired at his commander. Forrest opened the blade of a pocket knife he had been playing with during the interview and slashed open Gould’s stomach. The General then walked into a doctor’s office where he was told that his wound was dangerous. “No damn man can kill me and live,” Forrest was quoted saying, and he took a pistol and ran toward the tailor shop to which Gould had fled. The Lieutenant tried to escape by jumping out a back window but Forrest fired on him. Gould fell as though killed and Forrest himself staggered. Both men were carried away dangerously wounded. Subsequently doctors advised Forrest that he would live, but Gould lay up on his death bed. The young man asked for the General and the latter was carried on a cot to Gould. Both regretted their hasty actions and they forgave each other freely.

Mrs. Hester Jefferson McKenzie
, of the famous actor family, is also buried at the old cemetery. She was one of nine children of the original Joseph Jefferson, and was an aunt of the Joe Jefferson who immortal [Rip Van] Winkle on the stage. [Words missing] was the wife of [words missing] manager. She, too was on the stage and scored successes in her productions.

Prominent Names On Headstone

In addition to these already named whose graves lie beneath the ruined markers, are William Carroll, Governor of Tennessee for twelve years and second in command to Jackson at New Orleans. David Shelby, to whom the State of North Carolina granted what is now East Nashville; Felix Robertson, fourth child of James and the first white child born in Nashville; Lipscomb Norvell and Archibald Marlin, Revolutionary soldiers. Gen. Robert Armstrong, to whom Gen. Andrew Jackson bequeathed his sword; Joseph Coleman, first Mayor of Nashville; Col. George Wilson, the first editor west of Cumberland mountains; and scores of others.

They have all contributed to the history of Nashville and it seems strange that they should not be remembered, who are responsible for any claims the present has to offer. Yet their last resting place remains as mute testimony of disregard. It is only a tangled field of waving grass, broken tombstones, and forgotten men.

****

Luther Luton, member of the
Board of Public Works, said the
City Cemetery was maintained
out of the appropriation for pub-
Lic property, and without any
specific amount. He said that
W. J. Wallace was in charge at
a salary of $75 per month, and
that two Negro helpers also
worked under him. Mr. Wallace
has been ill for several weeks,
he said, and his son has been
acting in his place.

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P.O. Box 150733
Nashville, TN 37215
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