Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Nashville City Cemetery, 1927

This information is from an article published in the Tennessean newspaper, Sunday, September 18, 1927. There was a full page layout on City Cemetery including several photos. The newspaper is available on microfilm at the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
Nashville Tennessean
September 18, 1927


A partial list of noted people buried in the City Cemetery follows:
Joseph Coleman, 1806-7"9; Wilkins Tannehill; Robert B. Curry, 1822-23"25; Charles C. Trabue, 1839-40; P. W. Maxey, 1843-44; W. B. Shapard, three days, in 1854; Felix Robertson, 1818-27"28; Thomas Crutcher, 1819; Wm. Armstrong, 1829-30"31-32; T. B. Coleman, 1842; Andrew Allison, 1847-48; Robt. L. Castleman, 1854-55


Isaac Paul, 1851-53; W. R. Wilkerson.

Andrew Ewing, clerk to the government of the notables, 1783-1813; Nathan Ewing, son of Andrew, clerk of Davidson County Court for many years.


Ann Robertson Cockrell. She taught the little school on board the Adventure and was the first teacher here.
Dr. Felix Robertson, professor of medicine, University of Nashville.
The Rev. Wm. Hume, second president of Nashville Female Academy.
Thomas Crutcher, Nashville Female Academy.
C. D. Elliott, President, N. F. A., 1840-61.
Francis B. Fogg, first president of education, city schools.
Robert P. Curran, commissioner of public instruction.
Dr. Charles Winston, medical department, University of Nashville.
Gerard Troost, first geologist of Tennessee; professor of chemistry, University of Nashville.
Pamella Kirk, a noted teacher, primary school.
Andrew Hynes, Hynes school.
Joseph Knowles, Knowles school.
Porter Howard, son of M. H. Howard, Howard school.
Frederick F. Foy, student in medical department of University of Nashville, 1858.
George Thomas Bowen, professor of chemistry, University of Nashville, 1825.


George R. Forsyth, first Grand Treasurer.
Col. George Wilson.
Timothy Kezer, first Grand Master, Tennessee.
John Coltart.
Wilkins Tannehill, Past Grand Master, Masonic Fraternity of Tennessee.
Charles C. Trabue.
Joseph Norvell, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee Free Masons.
Moses Stevens, by Grand Lodge of Tennessee, Grand Royal Arch Chapter.
James L. Howell, Woodmen of the World Memorial, and many others.


Gen. James Robertson.
Capt. John Bradford.
Samuel Chapman, Revolution Soldier.
Lipscomb Norvell, Revolution Soldier.
Anthony Foster, Revolution Soldier.
Col. Joel Lewis, Revolution Soldier.
A. Marlin, Revolution Soldier.
Henry Marlin, Nashville Blues, 1812, Creek War, New Orleans.
Gen. Samuel G. Smith.
Col. Wm. B. Ramsey.
Col. John Tipton.
Gen. and Gov. John Sevier.
Gen. Robert Armstrong.
Gen. Wm. B. Carroll.
Charles Longenotti, interpreter, Battle of New Orleans; now called Charles Maddis. Tablet, Daughters of 1812.
Terry H. Cahal, Florida War.
Dr. Samuel Hogg (see remark of his mother to General Tarlton after the Battle of the Cowpens).
Capt. William Driver.
Admiral Paul Shirley, U. S. A.
Gen. Felix K. Zollicoffer, C. S. A.
Gen. R. S. Ewell.
Col. William B. Reese, C. S. A.
C. D. Elliott, C. S. A.
Lieut. J. W. Gould, C. S. A.
Capt. Alpha Kingsley.


James Robertson.
John Cockrell.
Ann Robertson Johnson, widow, afterward Mrs. John Cockrell.
David Shelby.
Andrew Ewing.


Judge John McNairy.
Judge Robert Whyte.
Judge Thomas N. Morgan.
Alexander Porter, Judge of Supreme Court.
George W. Campbell (served in a great many ways).
Francis B. Fogg, lawyer.
Ephriam H. Foster, lawyer and senator.
Terry H. Cahal, chancellor of Tennessee.
John Somerville, banker.
Joseph Vaulx, banker.
James Woods, banker-Iron Furnace.
William B. Shapard, banker.
Robert Baxter, Cumberland Furnace.
Richard C. Napier, "Oldest Iron Master in State."
A. Johnson.
Judge William B. Reese.
Anthony Foster.
David Shelby and John Shelby.
Captain Belsnyder.
Robert B. Curry, second postmaster, 1800.


John L. Marling, Nashville Union.
Felix Zollicoffer, Nashville Banner.
Col. George Wilson, first editor west of Cumberland Mountains.
Wilkins Tannehill, editor and famous book store.
Col. W. B. A. Ramsey, historian.
Col. and Judge William B. Reese, historian.
Thomas W. Erskine, Irish essayist.
George W. Harris, author of Sut. Lovingood.
Wm. Edward West, famous artist.
Edward Ewing.

Wilkins Tannehill.
Timothy Kezer, by Grand Lodge.
Dr. Duncan Robertson, by City of Nashville.
Gen. William Carroll, by State of Tennessee.
Abram Husle, by State of Tennessee.
John Sevier, by A. W. Putnam.
John Tipton, by 49th General Assembly.
John Kane, stone cutter of State Capitol (designed by Strickland).
Robert Wilson, by fellow workmen.
Robert Armstrong, by a friend.
The Rev. Alexander A. Winbourn, M. E. Church Conference.
Alexander G. Brown, by Nashville Fire Co. No. 1, 1839.
William Sneed, by a numerous circle of friends, 1827.
The Rev. William Hume, by the citizens of Nashville.
Rev. William Hume, Presbyterian.
Rev. Obadiah Jennings, First Presbyterian Church.
Rev. John Rains, son of Pioneer John Rains.
Rev. Aex. A. Winbourn, M. E. Church.
James A. Diggons, first male member of Christ Church.


Charlotte Reeves Robertson.
Mrs. Hester Jefferson McKenzie, aunt and foster mother of Joseph Jefferson, Tennessee Robertson.
Rebecca Ewing, wife of Edward Ewing.
Harriet Campbell, daughter of first Secretary of Navy.
Hannahetta West Norvell.
Bamella Kirk.
Mothers of many of us.
An old Southern "Mammy".

The City Cemetery contains monuments to the following persons who are not buried there:
William Gilliam (lost at sea).
John Sevier
John Tipton.
David Crockett. (Was this the famous David or his son? The lot is owned by Mr. Putnam, the historian.)




In the early settlement of Nashville the dead were buried on the open ground that overlooked the Sulphur Spring bottom and at two or three country burial places in the neighborhood, and even on the public lot (our Public Square).
Joseph Hay, the first member of the little settlement killed by Indians, was buried a short distance to the east of the Sulphur Spring—not where it now appears, but a hundred yards toward the Capitol where it issued from a rick beneath the surface of the ground. Robert Gilkie, the first who died from sickness, is said to have been buried in this ground.
In a communication to the Tennessee Historical Society, 1850, Nathaniel Cross said: "Being on the bluff immediately above the Sulphur Spring 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 was but one stone left with an inscription on it to tell who lies beneath, as this will disappear like the others.

"I was induced to copy this sole remaining inscription:
"Erected by Sundry Brother Officers and Comrades"
"To the memory of Richard Chandler, late 1st Lieutenant 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 10 days.
"He lived esteemed an honest man and brave soldier.
"He died regretted by all who knew him.
"Exalted truth, and manly firmness shown.
"Conspicuous in him beneath this stone."

A few of the dead were buried on the Public Square, between the courthouse and the site of the Old Inn. The dear old Thomas [p.2] 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.

The City Cemetery was first used in 1822, and many bodies were removed from their first resting places for permanent burial there. When located it was thought to be beyond the reach of the city.
The twenty-seven acres inclosed are regularly laid out in streets named like those in a city of the living.
"The soft sunlight here falls through the delicate foilage of Southern evergreens and deciduous trees upon grand monuments, picturesque shrubbery, grassy mounds, and bright green carpets of trailing myrtle. A last palisade of cedar excludes the outside world, whose only approach is through the massive iron gates by which its sleeping tenants enter."
After the War of the States during that terrible readjustment time the Old Cemetery was neglected. Later many families removed their dead to the beautiful new Mt. Olivet. Then an agitation arose to induce the city to remove all the graves and turn the place into a park, or divide it into lots to be sold.
That aroused the sleeping spirit of sentiment and common sense all over the city and county. The fight was on in the City Council. It lasted through many months. The newspapers of that time partially reflect it. In the end, as we thankfully see, the so-called progressive spirits lost, and this precious old "God's Acre" is ours today.
The women of the South Nashville Federation gave the strongest aid in that work. To them also we owe the beautiful entrance gate and through the influence of our present mayor who was the mayor at that time the city built that beautiful and appropriate stone fence.
The names of those who gave freely of their time and money to the cemetery at that time, the workers in the federation and those who planted the roses and some of the trees, will be published later. Mayor Howse is now intensely interested in this movement and is ready to assist in every practical way. Some families have given loving care to their old lots. The Belsnyder, the McCrory, the Winston, the Baxter, the Ewing lots, and several others have been well preserved.
And now the James Robertson Chapter, D. A. R., have taken the cemetery under its special care and protection.
The Gen. James Robertson tomb is the first to receive attention. The work of restoring and beautifying it is now in progress. The Cumberland Chapter, the Campbell Chapter, the McCrory Chapter, D.A.R. and S.A.R will be asked to cooperate. Then it is hoped that a cemetery association will be formed. But all that will bide its time and come when due.



Near the monument of Gov. William Carroll there is a large rock with a graceful iron ornament on top. No name nor date can be found upon either rock or iron to show its meaning. In true legendary style its story has begun to branch out into different versions. Here is one told me when I was a child:
A beautiful young girl lived up the river in the Hermitage neighborhood. On which side of the river I was not told. She had a devoted lover. They were young and very happy. Their favorite place of meeting was among the rocks on top of one of the highest bluffs of the river bank.
The place became very dear to them. It was sweet up there in every season of the year. From it they watched the sunset or the moon rise. They loved it in the sunlight or moonlight or starlight.
There was no objection to their marriage. It gave happiness in the homes of both. But one day something happened; we know not what. A little lover's quarrel followed. It must have seemed to the young girl that the end of all things had come for in her misery and hopelessness she jumped from the bluff into the river below.
Her body was recovered and she was buried in this place. Then the miserable young man had this rock from the top of the bluff removed from its place and hauled to the cemetery. He allowed no name or date upon it. He knew and that was to him sufficient.
This story ended: "And he never "
The other version is in the beginning the same as the foregoing. But it says that they were married and that after a short time the young wife died that she requested that the rock near which "their courting was done" should be placed at her grave. And this the sorrowful young husband did. It is said that she is buried near the boulder.
This article was originally transcribed by Debie Oeser Cox and published on her website for the Friends of Metro Archives on Feb. 6, 1999.  It was retrieved by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

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