Stopping by Macon, Ga.’s Rose Hill Cemetery: And The Rest, Part IV

Do you remember the old TV show “Gilligan’s Island”? During the show’s first season, the  theme song, near the end, included a lyric that goes, “And the rest!” That was the Professor and Mary Ann. As a bit of trivia, Bob Denver (who played Gilligan) demanded his costars be included in the song so it was changed in future seasons.

That early lyric fits the mood of today’s post as I wrap up my series on Macon, Ga.’s Rose Hill Cemetery. Here is “the rest” that deserves to be mentioned and talked about.

It should come as no surprise that there are a lot of Confederate soldiers buried at Rose Hill Cemetery. Some died in battle, others in hospitals of disease and the rest who survived the war and died later in life. According to a plaque, Macon became a key location for Confederate hospitals during the Civil War. Only Richmond, Va. is thought have had a greater number of wounded.

Visiting Soldiers’ Square

The first Confederate dead interred at Rose Hill were four of seven Macon soldiers who were killed in battle in Pensacola, Fla. in 1861. They are in the first row of what is known as Soldiers’ Square at Rose Hill. According to one witness, a thousand people attended the funerals.

An estimated 1,746 are buried in Soldiers’ Square at Rose Hill Cemetery.

After the war, Ladies Memorial Association president Jane Lumsden Hardeman initiated an effort to move those Confederate dead buried at various hospitals around the area to Rose Hill. She erected wooden headboards with the name, company, regiment and date of death for each soldier. She also helped organize the first Confederate Memorial Day at Rose Hill on April 26, 1866.

A plaque describes the efforts of Jane Lumsden Hardeman to bring the Confederate dead buried at other sites around Macon to Rose Hill Cemetery.

An estimated 884 soldiers are buried in Soldiers’ Square. Another 882 known Confederate soldiers are buried in private lots throughout Rose Hill. That brings the grand total to 1,746 known Confederate soldiers buried at Rose Hill. There are likely a number of unmarked graves but it’s uncertain how many.

The Book of Life

Sometimes I like something just because it’s different than the norm. The grave marker for Edwin Summers Davis and his wife, Camille Johnson Davis, fits the bill.

Born around 1877, Edwin was the son of Confederate veteran Capt. William A. Davis, who was a prominent banker in Macon and a member of just about every fraternal organization from the Masons to the Odd Fellows to the Elks.

Capt. William A. Davis was Grand Master of his Masonic Lodge between 1898 and 1899, along with being a member of several other fraternal groups.

Edwin got his degree at Macon’s Mercer University and married Camille Johnson in 1898. Most of his career was in selling insurance. The couple had three children.

Camille died first in 1931 of a cerebral hemorrhage. Edwin lived another 29 years before dying in 1960. Their “open book” marker is in the Davis family plot. It’s a clever way to present all the pertinent information.

You can even see the indentations of the “pages” on the side.

When I was looking into the history of Rose Hill’s Hebrew Burial Ground, I learned that the cemetery actually has a total of seven different Jewish areas. Not all are labeled. The Hebrew Burial Ground, established in 1844, was the first Jewish cemetery established in Macon.

Rose Hill’s Hebrew Burial Ground was established just a few years after the cemetery opened.

The Hebrew Burial Ground is located just across from Soldiers’ Square.

The first burial there was Leopold Bettman who died in August of that year in Perry, Ga. The second burial was his brother, David Bettman, who died in Hawkinsville, Ga. in October of the same year. In 1859, when Congregation Beth Israel was established, it took over the cemetery.

One of the markers I photographed there was for Lena Sack Roobin (1875-1896).

“She is Now Sweetly Sleeping”

Lena was born in 1875 in Bialystok, Poland, although it was part of Russia at that time. She emigrated to American and married Abraham Roobin. They settled in Cordele, Ga., and had one child together before Lena died of typhoid fever in September 1896. There’s some question as to the exact day.

Lena Roobin married and had a child before dying at the age of 21.

This was her obituary from the Sept. 19, 1896 edition of the Macon Telegraph. Although it says she was buried in the Edward Wolff cemetery, she was buried in the Hebrew Burial Ground at Rose Hill. It also says she died on Thursday, Sept. 17 but her marker says Sept. 19, 1896.

Lena Roobin’s death notice from Sept. 19, 1896 says she died on Thursday, Sept. 17 but her marker says she died on Sept. 19.

By 1879, a new Jewish cemetery had opened within Rose Hill called the William Wolff Cemetery. According to the Jewish Federation of Macon and Middle Georgia’s web site, the Hebrew Burial Ground was not generally used after that, though there are some graves there that date into the early 1900s.

William Wolff Cemetery Opens

Larger than the original Hebrew Burial Ground, William Wolff Cemetery was named after the benefactor who donated the land for it. A slice of the predominately black Oak Ridge Cemetery next door was sold to him in 1879 to use as a burial ground for Temple Beth Israel Synagogue. Wolff was a prominent dry goods merchant in Macon for many years. He and his brother, Edward, were German immigrants who came to Macon in the 1860s. Both became very successful businessmen over the years.

One side of the gates to William Wolff Cemetery within Rose Hill Cemetery.

There’s a story behind the monument to the wife of William Wolff, Bertha. She was born about 1852 to 1854 in Europe, and died Sept. 15, 1904. It only has her name on it with no dates. When I saw it, I knew at once who might have carved it but didn’t think to search it for a possible signature. Turns out it was on the back.

Bertha Wolff’s monument has no dates on it.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, this monument might look familiar to you as well. When I looked up her name on Stephanie Lincecum’s Rose Hill site, she confirmed that it was indeed done by sculptor John Walz. His best known work is probably the much loved (and photographed) monument of Gracie Watson in Savannah, Ga.’s Bonaventure Cemetery.

“The Heart’s Keen Anguish”

The woman holding calla lilies theme is one he favored a great deal. They usually represent marriage and fidelity. You can see similar figures Walz carved in the Davis plot at Laurel Grove South Cemetery in Savannah, the McMillan plot at Bonaventure Cemetery, and the Wolff’s in Macon. Only the heads are different, although the base of the Davis monument is markedly unique from the others.

Was this the likeness of Bertha Wolff?

Walz made an effort to replicate face of the deceased on the face of the monument’s statue based on photographs he was given.

The epitaph reads:

“The heart’s keen anguish only those can tell
Who have bid the dearest and the loved farewell.”

William died almost six years after Bertha on March 5, 1910 and was buried in the Wolff plot with her. His brother, Edward (a cotton broker and “linter”), died Aug. 25 of the same year after suffering a heart attack. He is interred in one of the few mausoleums in the Wolff Cemetery with his wife, Ricka, who died in 1936.

Edward Wolff, the brother of William Wolff, was a very successful cotton merchant and “linter” when he died a few months after his sibling in 1910. Note the winged disc with snakes above the door, often a symbol of the Masons.

Fortunately, I was able to get a good photo of the stained glass inside the Wolff mausoleum.

The Hebrew Aid Society burial ground was started in 1899 by newly arriving Eastern Europeans. Congregation Sherah Israel, who opened their adjacent section in 1923, gradually took it over by removing the wall separating the two areas, dividing the lots among the owning families in 1929.

Small areas for Congregation B’nai Israel (1870), the Workman’s Circle (1920) and the new section of Sherah Israel that opened in 1987 are also within Rose Hill Cemetery.

Origins of Oak Ridge Cemetery

Earlier I mentioned Oak Ridge Cemetery. When Simri Rose designed Rose Hill Cemetery in the 1840s, he set aside 10 acres for slave owners to purchase and bury enslaved people and to bury city-owned enslaved people. On Sept. 12, 1851, the Macon City Council officially designated that land as Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Most of the graves in Oak Ridge Cemetery are unmarked.

Of the 961 burials recorded between 1845 and 1865, only two names were recorded. “A free man of color named Hannibal Roe” was buried in 1846 and “Essex” because he was allegedly disinterred by local medical students in 1858. At least 1,000 formerly enslaved people are thought to be buried in unmarked graves at Oak Ridge. After the Civil War, many poor whites were also buried there.

One of the few markers I saw in the Oak Ridge area was for Julia Ann Brooks, the wife of John W. Brooks. She was born around 1824, Julia was a native of Richmond, Va. Julia and John are both listed as “mulatto” (an antiquated term thankfully no longer in use) or of mixed race. The 1880 U.S. Census lists John as being a retail grocer and their household included John’s sister, Mary Ann Brooks. It is interesting to note that Julia was at least 10 years older than her husband.

A hand with forefinger pointing down represents God reaching down for the soul.

Julia Ann died on May 8, 1883. She was probably around 60 years old. Her marker says she was a “member of the A.M.E. Church and a consistent Christian.” A finger pointing down from the clouds (often thought to represent God reaching down for the soul) clasps a few blooming flowers.

At the end of the afternoon, I was hot, sweaty but very happy. It’s often how I feel after I’ve spent a wonderful day visiting a historic cemetery like Rose Hill with such a variety of marker styles. It also left me wishing I could spend more time wandering the rows and discovering more of the stories.

Perhaps that’s what is so compelling about visiting cemeteries, knowing you may someday return and learn more about “the rest” that’s quietly waiting to be discovered.

Stopping by Macon, Ga.’s Rose Hill Cemetery: Only the Good Die Young, Part III

Yes, we’re still at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, Ga. I could write a book about this place and yes, some people already have. So let’s dive back in and visit some more graves.

“A Brave Little Fireman”

I often find myself drawn to the grave markers of the children and young people who left the Earth too soon. Rose Hill has quite a few. One that hit me square in the heart is this one for John B. Ross Juhan. I challenge anyone who sees it not to get choked up.

This tribute to John B. Ross Juhan’s dream of becoming a fireman was sculpted by John Artope.

Like many little boys, John wanted to be a fireman. His fascination made him a frequent visitor to the Defiance Fire Company No. 5 in Macon, and they made him their unofficial mascot. I could find little about them, but I believe they were established around 1868.

John B. Ross Juhan’s monument features a fireman’s cap with “Defiance” inscribed on it.

Sadly, little John’s dream was not meant to be. He died on July 26, 1875 at the age of eight. In tribute to his love of firemen, this monument was made by stone carver John Artope (whom I talked about last week). The detail in the fireman’s uniform is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

I’m sure there wasn’t a dry eye at this little boy’s funeral.

Not far from John’s marker is an equally eye-catching monument for a little one. When you catch sight of the intricate marker for 10-year-old Anna Gertrude Powers, you will be drawn to it instantly.

“Angels Her Companions”

The daughter of Virgil and Anna Jenkins Powers, Anna Gertrude was born in 1848 in Washington County, Ga. At the time of her death, she was one of six Powers children. Her father was a railroad superintendent. According to an article in the April 12, 1859 edition of the Macon Telegraph, Anna Gertrude died of scarlet fever as many children did in those days.

Anna Gertrude Powers didn’t make it to her 11th birthday.

Part of her obituary reads:

Possessed of a bright and sparkling intellect — quick and tender sensibilities — an affectionate disposition and winning manners, Anna won her way irresistibly to the hearts of all who knew her. — She was the pride of a fond father’s heart, the cherished object of a mother’s love — her teacher’s boast, and the dearest companion of her schoolmates. Now God is her Father and Teacher — angels her companions — and heaven resounds with her hallelujahs of joy.

The carving of Anna Gertrude born aloft by two angels is of so intricate, it was hard for me not to touch it. One feature that’s not easy to see is the little necklace with a cross encircling the child’s neck.

I’ve seen many “child in the arms of an angel” grave markers before, but this one is much more detailed than most.

The history behind the Heartwell/Tarver plot is a bit complicated but thanks to Stephanie Lincecum at Southern Graves, I untangled it.

“In Christ She Sleeps”

Let’s start with this monument to Cinderella Crocker Solomon Tarver Heartwell. She was born on August 22, 1832 to William Solomon and Frances Crocker Solmon. At the age of 22 in 1853, she married Paul Tarver, son of General Hartwell Hill Tarver and Ann Wimberly Tarver. General Tarver was thought to be one of the largest slaveholders in Georgia at the time.

Cinderella Crocker Soloman Tarver Heartwell knew much heartache in her short life.

“She Was Indeed a Precious Bud”

In 1855, Cinderella and Paul had a daughter named Dollie, and another daughter, Rebecca, was born in 1857. Son Paul Henry Tarver was born on Nov. 23, 1858. On May 15, 1858, Rebecca died. Then on June 19, Cinderella’s husband, Paul Tarver, died. Both he and Rebecca were buried at Rose Hill Cemetery. Rebecca’s death is recorded in the June 8, 1858 edition of the Macon Telegraph:

Our heart bleeds in tender sympathy with the parents of the bright little being whose death we chronicle. She was indeed a precious bud, whose leaves had not yet opened to the day.

Apparently Paul knew his end was near and had his will drawn up accordingly. Without his knowledge, with her brother Henry’s help, Cinderella purchased Cypress Pond plantation next door to their 5,000 acre estate. After Paul’s death, she and Henry sold off her home and she moved into Cypress Pond with daughter Dolly.

Rebecca Tarver did not live to see her first birthday.

Tragedy struck again on July 24, 1859, when son Paul died. He was buried in the Tarver plot with his sister and father.

Paul Henry Tarver was the third and final child of Paul and Cinderella Tarver.

After Paul’s passing, Cinderella married Dr. Charles P. “C.P.” Heartwell of Virginia in 1861. His first wife, Martha, had died in 1850. In 1863, Dr. Heartwell purchased the Cypress Pond under his name (from Henry Tarver as Paul’s executor) at auction. In 1864, he and Cinderella welcomed the birth of their son, Charles P. Heartwell, Jr.

For reasons unknown, Cinderella died on April 4, 1866 at the age of 33. Having endured the death of a husband and two of her children, along with surviving the Civil War, she had faced more tragedy that many young women her age.

Cinderella Tarver Heartwell’s monument features her writing in a book,

The angel figure on Cinderella’s monument stands beside an open book, which may symbolize the Bible or another religious text, or the Book of Life, which refers to a biblical passage in Revelation proclaiming that only the dead whose names are contained within will receive entrance into heaven. The book is perched on top of a tree, indicating a life cut short.

The monument’s inscription reads:

Thou is gone, but we will not deplore thee,
Whose God was thy ransom, thy guardian and guide
He gave thee, He took thee and He will restore thee,
And death has no sting, for the Saviour has died.

Dr. Heartwell remained at Cypress Pond with Charles Jr. until he remarried to Mary Wimberly in 1872. He died on Feb. 9, 1890 in Albany, Ga., but his burial site is not listed on Find a Grave. I don’t know what happened to Cinderella’s daughter, Dollie, but a Georgia State Supreme Court case in 1870 involved some issues regarding her inheritance between Dr. Heartwell and her uncle, Henry Tarver. Charles P. Heartwell, Jr. lived a long life and I believe there is a C.P. Heartwell IV.

A Confederate Naval Hero

This double grave for two children has a hearbreaking story behind it.

The parents of these little ones were Confederate Naval hero John McIntosh “Luff” Kell and his wife, Julia Blanche Munroe Kell. Before marrying Blanche, Kell had already served in the Mexican War and was a member of the expedition of Commodore Matthew Perry to Japan in 1853, and Master of the flagship USS Mississippi on the cruise home.

John McIntosh “Luff” Kell was First Lieutenant and Executive Officer of the CSS Alabama during the Civil War.

Kell married Blanche in Macon on Oct. 15, 1856. Their first child, Nathan Munroe “Boysie” Kell was born on Dec. 6, 1857. Another son, Johnny, followed in 1859. Daughter Blanche “Dot” Kell was born on Dec. 9, 1860.

An 1861 photo of Blanche Munroe Kell with her children. Eldest Nathan “Boysie” Munroe Kell is to the left, daughter Blanche “Dot” is on her mother’s lap, while son Johnny is on the right. (Photo Source: John McIntosh Kell of the Raiders by Norman C. Delaney, from the collection of Munroe D’Antignac)

As a Navy man, Kell was often at sea, away from his family. By 1861, he had resigned from the Navy and joined the Confederate forces. He commanded the Georgia state gunboat CSS Savannah but received a Confederate States Navy commission as First Lieutenant the following month and was sent to New Orleans. He then served as executive officer of the CSS Sumter during the ship’s commerce raiding voyage from 1861 to 1862.

Far From Home

In Blanche’s journal, she wrote of her worries about her husband’s departure in May 1861:

“When my bright boy awoke, he asked for his father and I told him he had gone far away, but that he kissed him many times for “Goodbye” the night before. He then said, “My poor Papa, I’ll never see him again.”

CSS Alabama was a screw sloop-of-war built in 1862 for the Confederate States Navy. First Lieutenant John M. Kell was on board in September 1863 when two of his children died.

Another three years and four months would pass before Kell saw Blanche again. Daughter Dot died at the age of two on Sept. 24, 1863. Firstborn Boysie died a few days later on Sept. 28, 1863 at the age of six. Only son Johnny was left alive. I don’t know the causes of their deaths.

Munroe “Boysie” Kell and his little sister Blanche “Dot” Kell are buried next to each other at Rose Hill.

First Lieutenant Kell was on CSS Alabama throughout her career and was present when she was sunk by USS Kearsarge in June 1864. He was rescued by the British yacht Dearhound and taken to England. When he finally got back to his family in August, it was a tragic homecoming.

Promoted to the rank of Commander, Kell commanded the ironclad CSS Richmond in the James River Squadron in 1865. After the end of the war, Kell returned home to Blanche and became a farmer. They had several more children, most living to adulthood.

In later years, the family settled in Spalding County, Ga., and Kell served as Adjutant General of Georgia. He died in 1900 at age 76 and Blanche passed away in 1917. They are both buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Griffin, Ga.

I have some loose ends to wrap up next week in Part IV, so I hope you’ll come back.

Stopping by Macon, Ga.’s Rose Hill Cemetery: A Final Salute to Lieutenant Bobby, Part II

Last week, I shared the story of Southern Rock band the Allman Brothers’ connection with Macon, Ga.’s Rose Hill Cemetery. This week, we’ll go back a little further in history to explore the lives of some more of its residents.

Some of the information in today’s post is from work done before I ever visited Rose Hill. Stephanie Lincecum has been exploring and researching Southern cemeteries for 15 years. She has a few different blogs going, along with her main page Southern Graves. Her information has proven invaluable in my quest to get the stories behind the stones at Rose Hill. Thank you, Stephanie!

What looks like a plain brick box is actually the first grave at Rose Hill Cemetery from 1840.

One thing I forgot to include last week was the first recorded interment at Rose Hill, which happened after the death of Caroline Danielly Wilson on Feb. 28, 1840. She was the wife of Col. David Wilson. The lot was owned by her brother-in-law, Alexander McGregor. Col. Wilson is not buried with her. I did find out he was one of Macon’s first aldermen, elected in 1833.

Caroline’s sister, Elizabeth, was McGregor’s first wife. He was a carpenter who died in 1856 of “bilious colic” at the age of 60.

I don’t know where Col. Wilson is buried. It is likely he remarried.

One of the first grave markers I saw after we’d driven through the front gates and parked was for a dog. That’s something you don’t see every day in an older “human” cemetery. But clearly this canine was special and it soon became clear that he was.

This photo was from a 1930 Atlanta Constitution article about the 121st Infantry’s summer training at Fort Foster in Jacksonville, Fla. You can see a tiny saber attached to a harness on Lieutenant Bobby’s shoulder.

The brown terrier that became known as “Lieutenant Bobby” belonged to Capt. David Clinton (D.C.) Harris, Jr. Born in Macon in 1897, Harris served overseas during World War I. Shortly afterr, he was attached to Company C of the 121st Infantry Division of the National Guard stationed at Fort Benning, Ga. They were known as Floyd’s Rifles, a nickname from their Civil War days.

This 1933 photo of Lieutenant Bobby was part of a photo montage in the Atlanta Constitution. Again, you can see the saber on his shoulder.

Capt. Harris took Bobby with him everywhere and he soon became a favorite with the soldiers. Bobby received his commission as lieutenant in 1928 when papers were submitted stating that the dog had given years of faithful service. Apparently, President Calvin Coolidge signed the request and the terrier became the first dog to be commissioned in the U.S. military.

Death of a Loyal Friend

On Jan. 28, 1936, Capt. Harris brought Lieutenant Bobby with him when he went to visit friends at Macon’s Dempsey Hotel. Somehow, Lieutenant Bobby got away from him and the dog plunged down an elevator shaft to his death. Capt. Harris was devastated, as were all the men of Company C. Lieutenant Bobby was thought to be 12 years old at the time.

Lieutenant Bobby was buried in the Harris family plot at Rose Hill with full military honors on Feb. 9, 1936.

Several stories were written about Lieutenant Bobby’s death in the Atlanta Constitution.

This is an Atlanta Constitution photo of Lieutenant Bobby’s funeral at Rose Hill Cemetery on Feb. 9, 1936.

After Capt. Harris died on July 6, 1943 at the age of 46, he was buried beside Lieutenant Bobby. He was 46. I have no idea if Capt. Harris was married, had children, or how he died. His father, David Clinton Harris, Sr., is buried in the same plot.

“Just a Brown Dog” Lieutenant Bobby was much loved by the men of the 121st, Company C.

Not far away from Lieutenant Bobby and Capt. Harris’ graves is the Hammond family plot. I include them because not only does it contain what I believe is the only one of two white bronze (zinc) markers in the entire cemetery, it also includes two cast iron grave coves and those are even more rare.

Not a great photo of the family plot but you can see Rosa Ida Hammond Barnes’ white bronze monument on the left.

A native of Pickens County, S.C. born in 1806, Dudley Whitlock Hammond married Martha Eleanor Speer. He studied medicine in Charleston, S.C. before they moved to Monroe County, Ga. The Hammonds settled in Macon in 1853 and later, Dr. Hammond treated many Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.

Dr. D.W. Hammond was one of the state’s oldest surgeons still in practice when he died in 1887.

One of the Hammond daughters was Rosa Ida, who was born on May 2, 1854. She married Wiley Barnes on Oct. 14, 1875 and the couple had two daughters. Sadly, Rosa died at the age of 30 on Oct. 14, 1884.

An Atlanta Constitution article about Rosa Ida Hammond Wiley’s demise. No cause of death is listed.

Rosa’s handsome white bronze monument is topped by a figure holding a Bible.

Rosa Ida Hammond Wiley died of unknown causes, leaving behind a husband and two little girls.

A Flower Just Blooming Into Life,
Enticed an Angel’s Eye
Too Pure for the Earth, He Said, “Come Home,”
And Sade the Floweret Die.

Buried beside Rosa is her oldest daughter, Minnie Barnes Bradley. She died in 1927 at the age of 51.

Younger daughter, Nettie, married twice and her husbands were brothers. First husband Henry Ross, an insurance salesman, died in 1905 when he fell from a moving train. Some thought he might have been pushed. Their daughter, Rosa, was named after her grandmother but died at the age of three in 1902.

Nettie then married Dr. Samuel Ross. She died in 1925 at the age of 44. She is listed as being buried at Rose Hill but there is no photo of her marker on Find a Grave. Henry Ross and Dr. Samuel Ross are both listed at a different cemetery in Jones County, Ga. Find a Grave has a photo of Samuel’s grave but none for Henry, whose obituary states he was to be buried at “the old family burying ground.”

This white bronze (zinc) monument to Rosa Ida Hammond Barnes is one of only two white bronze markers that I saw at Rose Hill.

Very close to Rosa’s monument are two very rare cast iron grave covers whose name plates have been lost to time. But I think they were most likely two of her sisters who died in infancy.

These cast iron grave covers, the brainchild of Joseph A. Abrams of Birmingham, were made for a short time in the 1870s.

Abrams’ cast iron grave covers were meant to protect the final resting places of children.

As I wrote some time ago, Joseph Abrams patented his cast iron grave covers in the 1870s and they can be found mostly in the Southeast. They were usually meant to protect the graves of children. Because of the fragile nature of the fretwork on the nameplates, many of those have vanished over the years. Several are also missing the finials on the top center of the cover, as are these. The finials were often molded in the shape of a sleeping child, a seashell, or the Bible.

“A Pure and Upright Man”

Dr. Hammond died in 1887 at the age of 81, still practicing medicine in his last days.  Elizabeth Hammond died in 1890 at the age of 75. Son-in-law Wiley Barnes and her grandchildren were still living with the Hammond family at the time of her death, her obituary notes. Wiley eventually remarried to Nona Nix in 1896.

On Dr. Hammond’s marker is the epitaph:

He Died as He Lived
A Pure and Upright Man

One of the more tragic stories I found came from looking up information on the marker for Lt. Robert Burgess and his wife, Rebecca Artope Burgess. Southern Graves provided much of the story you will read below.

Born around 1834 in England, Robert George Burgess was the son of Robert Burgess and Jessie Miller Burgess. The family soon moved to America and were settled in New York by about 1838. After the father’s death, the rest of the Burgesses moved south to settle in Macon around 1856.

“Snatched From Earth”

In 1862, Robert joined the Confederate Army with Capt. Massenburg’s Battery, Jackson Artillery. On March 10, 1864, Robert married Rebecca Artope in Macon. James B. Artope and Susan Raine Artope were her parents.

James was a marble cutter and stone mason who hailed from Charleston, S.C. In fact, you can see some of his work at Rose Hill Cemetery. Until I started looking more closely at my photos this week, I hadn’t realized it. In one of the Jewish sections at Rose Hill, the Waxelbaum boys share a marker with James Artope’s name on it. You can see it to the bottom right beneath “Waxelbaum”.

Most grave markers are not signed but James Artope left his name on this one for the Waxelbaum boys.

Brothers Solomon and Samuel “Bubbie” Waxelbaum died within two years of each other. Their parents are buried in Salem Fields Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Tragically, Robert and Rebecca’s marriage only lasted five months. Robert’s obituary in the Macon Telegraph on Aug. 27, 1864 explains why:

Death in any form is sad, but to be suddenly snatched from earth while in the enjoyment of health and usefulness is sad indeed. Lieut. R. G. BURGESS, the subject of this notice, while examining an Ammunition Chest in Massenburg’s Battery, was almost instantly killed by the explosion of the chest, on the 12th inst. He lived about four hours after the accident occurred, and death came and relieved him of the intensest agony.

Robert G. Burgess was only 24 when he was killed in an explosion in 1864.

The Artopes would grieve again when Rebecca’s unmarried sister Julia Elvira Artope died in 1868. I believe she was in her 30s. Her monument is located in the Artope plot. I am fairly certain that her father, James, carved it himself but I did not see his name on it. At the top, it says “Meet Me In Heaven.”

While Julia Artope’s monument appears to be unsigned, her stone carver father most likely did the work.

Julia was most likely in her 30s when she died.

James died in 1883 and his wife, Susan, died in 1901. They are buried together with several of their children at Rose Hill.

Rebecca never remarried after Robert’s death. In her later years, she shared a home in Macon with her mother, her spinster sister, Susan, and her bachelor brother, William. She died in 1925 and was buried at Rose Hill.

I’ve got more stories from Rose Hill to share so Part II is soon to follow.

Stopping by Macon, Ga.’s Rose Hill Cemetery: The Allman Brothers’ Lasting Legacy, Part I

There are several cemeteries that I often talk about visiting, but find myself not being able to make it happen. Rose Hill was in that category for years. Located about 100 miles and 2.5 hours from my house, it’s not that far away. But I don’t usually have that kind of time to set aside when I’ve got a house to run and a family to take care of.

Rose Hill Road Trip

But in April 2018, I finally made the trip. My husband and son were on a Boy Scout camping trip all weekend. My friend and fellow taphophile (cemetery enthusiast) Cathy and her roommate, Lynn, wanted to come along. When Cathy volunteered to drive, I was flying out the door.

We set out on a Sunday morning, the weather already promising to be hot and humid. That’s just a given in Georgia, even in April. You’re going to sweat!

An undated postcard of Macon’s Rosehill Cemetery.

Rose Hill is not the oldest cemetery in Macon but it is the largest at about 65 acres. In 1836, Macon was growing so a committee was named consisting of Simri Rose, Jerry Cowles, J. Williams, and Isaac Scott. They selected its location on the banks of the Ocmulgee River.

Simri Rose played the largest role in its planning, wanting to model the cemetery after the park-like grounds of Cambridge, Mass.’s Mount Auburn Cemetery. He set about planning the carriageways and plots, and planting many trees and shrubs, some of which were imported.

An ambitious newspaperman, Simri Rose was also instrumental in planning the city of Macon and the cemetery that would eventually be named after him.

A newspaperman who founded what would become the Macon Telegraph, Rose was also a botanist, horticulturist, and florist. Because of his efforts in planning the cemetery (and other parts of the city), the mayor and council voted to name the cemetery after him and gave him his choice of lots.

This is how the front gates looked in April 2018.

Undoubtedly, the most famous residents of Rose Hill are the Allman brothers, Duane and Gregg. The two were part of the Southern Rock band the Allman Brothers. Buried with them is bandmate Berry Oakley. Thousands visit their gravesites every year.

That in itself would make them appropriate to write about. However, the Allman Brothers stand apart because they had a strong bond with Rose Hill Cemetery from the time they arrived in Macon in 1969 from Florida. It was a place of inspiration they valued and returned to often, especially in their early days when money was scarce but music was flowing freely.

The nature of that time was not always about music. Gregg Allman went so far as to say, “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my way with a lady or two down there.” While I’m hopeful that’s not going on at the cemetery now, I’m sure Gregg was not the only fellow doing so back in those days.

I won’t got into the history of the band. But I want to share some of the lasting legacy of their relationship with Rose Hill and how Southern Rock pilgrims continue to make the journey to their graves to pay their respects.

Duane Allman’s death devastated bandmate Berry Oakley (left), sending him into a dark depression before his death the next year.

Before our visit, I was not an especially big fan of the band and didn’t know much about them. My favorite song of theirs has always been “Jessica”.  Their songs “Whipping Post”, “Midnight Rider”, “Statesboro Blues” and “Melissa” are probably better known.

Slide guitar player and founding band member Duane Allman died at the age of 24 on Oct. 29, 1971 in a motorcycle accident. He was the first to be buried at Rose Hill. Bass player Berry Oakley died (or was “set free” as his marker says) on Nov. 11, 1972, also in a motorcycle accident that was only a short distance from where Duane died. He is buried beside Duane.

Southern Rock Pilgrimage

Because of the large numbers of fans that visit the graves, a fence was erected around them as protection. But it is easy to get a good photo through the fence posts and you can easily make out the inscriptions. A steady stream of visitors came by when we were there.

The gravesites of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley as they looked in April 2018.

Gregg Allman passed away at the age of 69 from liver cancer in 2017, bringing enormous crowds to Rose Hill to pay their respects at his funeral. His former wife, Cher, was present among the many celebrity mourners.

Photo of Gregg Allman attending an event in 2009. (Photo source: Lester Cohen via

When we visited Rose Hill, work had not begun on combining Gregg’s plot with Duane and Berry’s. It was cordoned off with plastic-flower encircled chains at the time, as you can see.

In April 2018, work had not yet begun on incorporating Gregg Allman’s grave into the plot with his brother and bandmate Berry Oakley.

The chains around Gregg Allman’s grave were wound with plastic flowers. Fans left several mementos. Notice the peace sign made out of sticks.

When I checked recently to see if progress had been made, I saw that much work had been done. Thanks to the photos of Mike Goldwire and Lou Evatt on Find a Grave, I was able to see it. Gregg’s new stone had been installed. The Allman family funded the entire project. It’s uncertain who the other empty plots are planned for.

Gregg Allman now rests inside the fenceline with his brother, Duane, and bandmate Berry Oakley. (Photo Source: Mike Goldwire, Find a Grave)

Gregg Allman’s marker was placed in spring 2019 at Rose Hill Cemetery. (Photo Source: Lou Evatt, Find a Grave)

The band’s song “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” is actually based on a woman band member and guitarist Dickey Betts was dating at the time he wrote the song in 1970. To hide her identity, Betts named it after a woman buried at Rose Hill, and her grave is located not far from the band’s plot. But many think the song was based on the real Elizabeth Reed herself.

Was Elizabeth Reed Real?

I didn’t know where Elizabeth’s grave was was when we visited so I’m using a photo from Find a Grave. As the band’s first instrumental number, I wasn’t familiar with the title but when I pulled it up online to listen to it, I remembered it at once.

I had not heard of the title “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” but when I found it on Youtube, I recognized the tune as soon as it started. (Photo source: Dave Kyle, Find a Grave)

Elizabeth Jones Reed came to Macon to attend Wesleyan College. She married Confederate Army Captain Briggs Hopson Napier on April 26, 1865 and they had 12 children. Three died before reaching adulthood. The couple were farmers and Briggs Napier was at one point editor for the Monroe County newspaper. The couple also operated a local pub in Macon in the early 1900s. Elizabeth died at the age of 89 on May 3, 1935.

“Little Martha” and Duane Allman

The song “Little Martha” has a similar situation attached to it as the one with Elizabeth Reed. Many web sites claim the monument to 12-year-old Martha Ellis was the inspiration for the song. Again, that’s not exactly true. While the band members passed by Martha’s monument often and knew her name, the tune was considered by Duane Allman to be an ode to his then-girlfriend Dixie Meadows. He sometimes called her Martha because of her affection for vintage clothes. Duane would tell her, “You look like Martha Washington.”

Born in 1883 to Theodore and Eugenia Ellis, Martha was the youngest of their seven children.

But like Elizabeth Reed, Martha Ellis was real. Her father was a Civil War veteran who worked as a druggist before becoming a lumber merchant. Mother Eugenia Rogers was the daughter of Dr. Curran Rogers of Thomaston, Ga. Born in 1883, Martha was the youngest of their seven children.

Martha Ellis died of peritonitis in 1896.

Only a month before her 13th birthday in January 1896, Martha died of peritonitis (inflammation of the tissues of the stomach). The funeral was held at the Ellis home and she was buried at Rose Hill. Her parents died within two months of each other in 1923 and rest in the plot beside Martha.

“In the Sweet Bye and Bye”

The inscription on Martha’s monument reads:

She was love personified
and her memory is a sweet solace by day,
and pleasant dreams by night
to Mamma, Papa, brothers and sisters.
We will meet again in the sweet bye and bye.

The back cover of the Allman Brothers’ first album, aptly titled “The Allman Brothers Band” features the Bond family tomb, which was the last place in the cemetery that we visited. I had no idea that this site was so important when we were there but I’m glad I photographed it.

Here is the actual Bond monument above the tomb. Time, vandalism, and tornadoes have had their way with it over the years. At one time, there were supposedly four figures surrounding the base but they are long gone.

Joseph Bond was a prominent cotton grower who died at the hands a former employee.

Born in 1815, Col. Joseph Bond was thought to be one of the wealthiest men in middle Georgia before the Civil War. According to Find a Grave, he was the state’s largest cotton grower and most successful planter. I’m not sure if that’s true. It’s reported that in 1857, he set a world record with a cotton sale of 2,200 bales for $100,000. On March 12, 1859, at the age of 44, Bond was killed by a former overseer he had employed by the name of Brown.

The Bond angel is missing part of her arm.

You take these steps from the Bond monument down to the tomb. The Ocmulgee River is in the background.

Here’s the back cover of the Allman Brothers Band album.

Take a look at what the tomb looks like today. As you can see, it gets a lot of attention from fans and at times, there’s been graffiti spraypainted on it over the years.

The view of the Bond tomb as it looked in April 2018.

After our visit to Rose Hill, we enjoyed a very late lunch at H&H Soul Food Restaurant. It was another favorite haunt of the band. Founded in 1959 by Inez Hill and Louise Hudson, H&H briefly closed when Mama Hill died but reopened with Mama Louise’s blessing. The two were life-long friends of the band, and photos of the musicians are all over the restaurant.

I know when we walked out into the hot Macon sun with full stomachs that I can see (and taste) why people return to H&H year after year to chow down on their home-grown goodness.

At the same time, there’s a lot more to Rose Hill than the Allman Brothers. I’ll be back with more of that next time.

Faces of the Past: Taking a Spring Stroll in Chattanooga’s Forest Hills Cemetery, Part III

I’m back! I took some time off from the blog to travel with family and friends since summer is the best time. I visited A LOT of cemeteries, too!

I’m still writing about Chattanooga’s Forest Hills Cemetery. For this final installment, I’m featuring people whose monuments actually resemble them. Many times, it’s an angel or a cross but in this case, it’s a statue or bust that is meant to be the deceased.

This first young woman was born on July 23, 1873 to parents James W. Oliver and Louisa Dikeman Oliver. I could find very little about them, only that James was born in New York and Louisa was born in Pennsylvania. They do not appear in census records. Eldest daughter Grace was born in 1873 and another daughter, Pearl, was born in 1879. There is mention of a son, Edward, in James’ will but he was already deceased when James died in 1892.

Grace Oliver’s monument holds a lyre on her lap, signifying a love of music.

I did learn that James was a conductor for various railroads in Chattanooga over the years, from the S&W Railroad (most likely the Savannah and Western Railroad) and the Piedmont Airline.

“A Voice We Loved is Stilled”

Grace died of typhoid fever on Dec. 5, 1890 in Chattanooga at the age of 17. I found an article about her death and burial in an issue of The Conductor and Brakeman describing Grace and her musical spirit. I suspect James Oliver’s fellow railroad co-workers may have assisted in paying for Grace’s monument.

This article from the December 1890, Vol. 8 issue of The Conductor and Brakeman magazine describes how James W. Oliver’s co-workers attended his daughter Grace’s burial.

While no photograph of Grace survives, I believe her monument likely resembles her and features her love of music since the figure is holding a lyre on her lap.

The inscription on the side of her monument reads:

A precious one from us has gone
A voice we loved is stilled.
A place is vacant in our home
Which never can be filled.

Grace Oliver died of typhoid fever at the age of 17.

James W. Oliver passed away a little over two years later at the age of 62 in 1892, leaving his estate to Louisa and his daughter, Pearl. Louisa and Pearl lived together in Chattanooga for several more years, with Pearl working as a music teacher. Louisa died in 1925 at the age of 75 of cardiac problems. Pearl died in 1957 at the age of 79 having never married.

The obelisk has roots in Egyptian architecture and culture, representing a ray of sunlight. The drapery provides the added sentiment of mourning, the death shroud, or the thin veil between Heaven and Earth.

James, Louisa, and Pearl Oliver are buried with Grace at Forest Hills, a large obelisk standing beside her monument.

A more prominent resident of East Tennessee was Daniel Coffee Trewhitt, a vocal opponent of secession during the Civil War era. He was the son of Judge Levi Isaac Trewhitt and Harriet Lavender Trewhitt, born in 1823 in what is now Cumberland County, Tenn.

Daniel C. Trewhitt was a vocal critic of Tennessee’s secession.

Daniel espoused the beliefs of his father, who was a Unionist. During the Confederate crackdown following the East Tennessee bridge burnings in late 1861, Judge Trewhitt was arrested and jailed on suspicion of aiding the bridge burners. Despite pleas for his release, he died in a Confederate prison in Mobile, Ala., in 1862.

Daniel studied law with his father and was licensed to practice in 1847. He worked as a lawyer in Harrison, Tenn. After facing defeat in running for district attorney general and state senator, Trewhitt was elected to Hamilton County’s seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1859.

A Unionist Voice

Throughout the first half of 1861, Trewhitt canvassed the Hamilton County area, speaking out against secession. He was a delegate to both the Knoxville and Greeneville sessions of the East Tennessee Convention, and represented Hamilton County on the convention’s powerful business committee. The convention sought to create a new state in East Tennessee that would remain in the Union.

Trewhitt was elected to Hamilton County’s seat in the Tennessee Senate in August 1861, but the state having seceded, he fled to Kentucky to join the Union Army. Trewhitt served with distinction, rising to the rank of lieutenant, and fought at the Battles of Stones River and Chickamauga.

Trewhitt married Mary Melissa Winnee in 1841. They had four children including two who died in childhood. After his first wife died in 1861, Trewhitt married Mary Melissa Hunter in 1865. They also had four children.

In 1864, Governor Andrew Johnson appointed Trewhitt chancellor (judge) of the state’s second chancery division, which included Chattanooga and surrounding areas of southeastern Tennessee. He held this position until 1870, when the new state constitution restored the voting rights of former Confederates, and he was defeated in his bid for reelection. He then returned to private practice in Chattanooga.

Trewhitt died in January 1891. He is buried with his second wife, Mary, and two of their children.

My final story is about a man who is not buried at Forest Hills because his remains were never recovered. Yet a large obelisk honoring him was placed there. Samuel M. Patton’s brief life and tragic death are still worth remembering.

Samuel Patton was only 40 when he died in a fire that started in a building he had designed. (Photo Source: The Tennessean, April 6, 1897)

A native of Mississippi, Patton was born in July 17, 1857. His father, Col. William Patton, was a prominent newspaperman and a Confederate veteran. Samuel worked in the business with his father until he began studying architecture and found he was quite good at it.

As a junior partner in the New Orleans architectural firm of Sully, Toledano and Patton, Samuel came to Chattanooga to supervise the construction of the $200,000 Richardson Building in 1888. His obituary mentions he was somehow related to the family. Patton himself was a bachelor and eager to build his budding career.

Samuel Patton designed the Tennessee State Penitentiary in Nashville, Tenn., completed after his death in 1898. It is no longer used as a prison but as a facility for storage as well as headquarters for the Department of Corrections investigations/compliance division. (Photo Source: The Tennessean)

At that time, Chattanooga was a mecca for ambitious young architects like Patton. Attracted by the prospects for success, Patton established his own office in the newly completed Richardson Building.

A Rising Star

Among the buildings Patton designed in Tennessee were the Lookout Mountain Inn, Mountain City Club, Loveman Building, Temple Court Building and Fourth National Bank in Chattanooga, and the Tennessee State Penitentiary in Nashville (see photo above).

Boyd Ewing, a prospserous executive who lived in the Richardson Building, also perished in the fire. (Photo Source: The Tennessean, April 7, 1897)

Sadly, Patton’s life ended far too soon. A fire started in the basement of the Richardson Building during the pre-dawn hours of April 3, 1897. While others managed to escape down a back staircase, Patton and local businessman Boyd Ewing (who also lived there) found themselves trapped. Ewing attempted to escape via a window but fell to his death from the fifth floor. Patton never made it out and perished. His remains were never found amid the rubble.

Although his remains were never found amid the Richardson Building’s rubble, Samuel Patton’s friends had this obelisk erected in his honor at Forest Hills.

Close up view of the bust of Samuel B. Patton.

I don’t know who provided this obelisk, topped with a bust, in his honor. But it is a handsome monument to the life of a man who left his mark on Chattanooga and the state of Tennessee in ways that are still in evidence today.

There are countless other stories I could share from Forest Hills but it’s time to move on. But I will always remember the pleasure of spending an April morning strolling this beautiful cemetery’s landscape.

Who’s in the Mausoleum?: Taking A Spring Stroll Through Forest Hills Cemetery, Part II

This is not a game most people play, but if you’re a cemetery hopper like me, it comes up more often than you might think. It’s called Guess Who’s in the Mausoleum.

While doing research on Forest Hills Cemetery’s mausoleums, I found myself eye-deep in this game. That’s understandable because they’re locked up and it’s sometimes difficult to see inside. As I did last week, I had to use Forest Hills’ online records (which includes pictures of the actual ledgers with details on who was put where and when). It was fascinating to read the notes.

The Price mausoleum has a class and style that I’m drawn to.

The figure on the door of the Price mausoleum has an Art Deco feel but from what I could figure out from the records, the mausoleum wasn’t completed until June 1953. Some Prices who’d died earlier were disinterred from their graves and moved into the mausoleum at that time. I was curious to learn who made it inside.

If I didn’t know better, I would have guessed this mausoleum was constructed in the 1910s or 20s.

Born in 1840, Dr. Samuel Vance Price was a native of Tennessee who spent his adult years in Walker County, Ga. He married Sarah Jane Bonds a few years before serving in the Confederate Army. Together, they had 12 children and only one died in infancy.

The Doctor Meets a Violent End

Dr. Price’s life was cut short at the age of 45 after he presented a bill to a patient, named William Powell. According to a Jan. 26, 1886 newspaper article, “Powell was shot in the abdomen and Price’s skull was crushed with a billet of wood. Both are fatally injured.”

Dr. Price died about a month later on February 27 and is buried at Garmany Memorial Gardens in Walker County, Ga. Sarah did not remarry but lived another 40 years, dying in 1926. She is buried at Forest Hills but not in the Price mausoleum.

The Price brothers are pictured in an undated photo. Some headed to Oklahoma but others remained near Chattanooga. (Photo source: Mitzi Yates,

Some of the brothers remained in the North Georgia/Tennessee area, but three headed west to (then) Oklahoma territory and two married Native American brides. The youngest of the Price children, Paul, met a tragic end. He married and divorced, running a pool hall in Chattanooga in his final years. He committed suicide at the age of 47 in 1932. He is buried at Forest Hills in Section K with his mother, Sarah.

Second son Samuel Sterling Price, who married Lula Hixson in 1896, was operating a saloon in Chattanooga by 1900. His mother, a sister and two brothers (one of who helped him in the saloon) were also living with them.

A Young Life Cut Short

Sam did well, operating as a liquor dealer in his later years, having four children with Lula. Their youngest son, James died in 1925 at the age of 18 while attending the Tennessee Military Institute in Sweetwater. He and his classmates were on the firing range when a student accidentally discharged his weapon, striking and killing James. Sam died in 1948 at the age of 86 and Lula died in 1958 at the age of 82.

If you look through the door of the Price mausoleum, you can get a glimpse of the beautiful stained glass.

So who actually rests in the Price museum? Inside are Samuel S. Price, his wife, Lula, his sons, James, Henry, and Charles, and Charles’ wife, Elsie. I did find it interesting that after the mausoleum was built in 1953 that his mother, Sarah, was not moved inside. When his unmarried sister, Fannie, died in 1959, she was buried with their mother, Sarah, and brother, Paul, in Section K. My guess is that there simply wasn’t enough room.

A Look Through the Glass

In the case of the Wills mausoleum, there are only two occupants. I figured that out by looking through the door. William Frederick Wills and his wife, Eva “Elsie” Wills are interred within. He was an auto parts supplier and later worked in finance. Elsie died in 1965 in Chattanooga and William died in 1970 in Florida. Census records don’t indicate they had any children.

As far as I can tell, William and Elsie Wills has no children.

The outside of the Wills mausoleum has some beautiful scroll work on the doors. But when you look inside those doors, you can see that the stained glass looks quite a lot like the Price mausoleum but Jesus is praying in the opposite direction. Even the Bible verse at the base of the glass are the same. It’s highly possible they were made by the same company.

The praying figure in the Wills mausoleum looks a lot like the one in the Price mausoleum.

Despite their immigrant origins, the Scholze family had deep roots in Chattanooga. Wilhelm Robert Scholze, born in 1843 in Germany, emigrated to America with his family to Pittsburgh, Pa. He and his bride, Anna, operated a dairy before opening a tannery in Chattanooga. His brothers, Ernst and Julius, ran other businesses nearby, including a soap factory, an ice plant and a packing house.

Pillar of the St. Elmo Community

Robert and Anna had five children together and the business prospered. He was known as a generous employer and once quietly purchased a debt-laden Lutheran church about to be auctioned off, giving it to the congregation as a gift. He was also one of the St. Elmo schools’ directors, often helping financially.

Robert Scholze died in 1907 when his horse bolted and he hit a telephone pole.

Robert died on April 7, 1907, as he and his son, George, pulled out of their driveway, and their horse bolted. Robert was thrown from the buggy into a telephone pole. He died that evening of a ruptured blood vessel in his head. He was 63 years old. Anna died 30 years later in 1937 at the age of 91. Robert and Anna are buried next to each other at Forest Hills.

In his will, Scholze left the tannery and saddlery his five children. In 1931, a fire destroyed the tannery so George Scholze bought out the other shares and continued to manage it until he died in 1947. His son, George Scholze Jr., assumed control. The tannery ceased production in 1987, and the buildings were demolished.

The Scholze mausolseum has its own unique look, with four columns and seating on each side of it.

The Scholze mausoleum was completed in July 1947.

George Scholze and his wife, Elizabeth Windsor Scholze, had two children, Nell and George Jr. Nell was much loved by her parents and they were devastated when she died at the age of 24 in 1931 from a bowel obstruction. She was buried at Forest Hills.

George died on March 8, 1947 from coronary issues. According to cemetery records, his body was placed in the “public receiving vault” until the mausoleum was completed in July 1947. If this vault is located at Forest Hills, I did not see it. Daughter Nell’s remains were also moved into the mausoleum at that time.

The door to the Scholze mausoleum has a similar Art Deco feel to it as the Price door.

When George’s wife, Elizabeth, died in 1951, she was also placed in the mausoleum. The other occupants are the first wife of George Jr., Virginia Reeves Scholze, who died in 1963. George Jr. died in 1972 and is also interred there. His second wife, Maurine Davis Schulze, died in 1982 and was placed in the last vacant crypt in the mausoleum.

Struck by Lightning

The outside of the Miller mausoleum isn’t particularly impressive but peeking inside, I saw a beautiful angel on the stained glass window. I also saw a bottle of Windex and a broom but oddly enough, I see a lot of those in mausoleums (including gangster Sam Giancana’s in Chicago).

The motif of an angel standing at the empty tomb of Jesus is rare.

I learned that Mike, a native American, was born in Oklahoma in 1896. He married Annie Williams and they lived in Chattanooga. He died on August 27, 1941 when he was struck by lightning. I could find nothing else about his death. He was buried at Forest Hills but according to records, the family mausoleum was completed in September 1962. His remains were then moved into it.

The Miller mausoleum was completed in 1961.

I was guessing that Annie must have died that same year but she actually passed away in Texas in 1966. Only she and Mike are interred within the mausoleum.

The last mausoleum I’m going to talk about today is the Milne mausoleum. Older than the others, it has a special charm to it.

The Milne mausoleum was completed in September 1925, about 10 months after its first occupant, Walter Scott Milne, died.

Thanks to Harmon Jolley, I learned a lot about Walter Scott Milne. A native of Ontario, Canada born in 1864, Walter purchased the Cleveland Chair Company in Cleveland, Tenn.) in its fourth year of operation in 1893. He renamed it the Milne Chair Company. After a fire at the factory, Walter moved the operation to Chattanooga and built a new one on 35 acres in the Avondale community. He boasted in a Chattanooga Times advertisement that his factory was “the most modern electrically-equipped chair factory south of the Ohio River.”

At the factory opening in 1913, Walter’s daughter, Margaret, turned the switch to activate power throughout the plant. Guests were given chair spindles as souvenirs.

The Chattanooga site of the Milne Chair Company opened in 1913. (Photo source: Chattanooga Times Free Press Photograph Collection)

Walter married fellow Canadian Mary Butland in 1894 and together they had five daughters. Walter died after an extended illness in 1924 and the business was put in the hands of a son-in-law and a brother to manage but both died in the 1940s. The business closed in May 1951, and the auction of the Milne property included brick buildings totaling 245,000 square feet of space and 34 acres.

The Milne mausoleum has no religions themes but features flowers.

When Walter died in November 1924, his body was placed in a temporary mausoleum at Forest Hills  (I could not make out the name) until the Milne mausoleum was completed in September 1925. When wife Mary died in 1961, she joined him.

The other occupants are eldest daughter, Sterling Milne Morrison, who died in June 1961 shortly before her mother. Sterling’s husband, Hal Morrison, died in 1949 and is interred within. Daughter Mary Milne Holton, who died in 1975, and her husband, William Holton, who died in 2000, are also inside. Daughter Margaret Milne Record, and her husband W.D.L. Record, died within about a month of each other in 1983, are interred in the Milne mausoleum.

Part III is coming soon so stay tuned for more stories from Forest Hills.

Not Always What they Seem: Taking a Spring Stroll in Chattanooga’s Forest Hills Cemetery, Part I

When I think of visiting Chattanooga, Tenn.’s Forest Hills Cemetery in April 2018, it reminds me of a few things. Number one, I had my sweet and spunky mother along with me and she proved quite helpful!

That week, Mom and I were I supposed to have gone to Ohio on a cemetery/family visit but our plans didn’t work out (it finally happened in October). We decided on an overnight stay in Chattanooga after dropping off my son with my awesome mother-in-law, Sue, so he could enjoy his spring break in Knoxville.

Number two would be some things are not always what they seem, which played out while doing research for this blog post.

Mom and I enjoyed some special time together in Chattanooga last year.

Mom and I enjoyed a terrific massage at Natural Body Spa (shameless plug), which was within walking distance of our hotel. They treated us like celebs. But she knew I wasn’t leaving Chattanooga without visiting at least one cemetery! We headed to Forest Hills the next morning after we checked out.

Located in the St. Elmo neighborhood at the foot of Lookout Mountain, Forest Hills Cemetery was established in 1880 by a group led by Col. Abraham Malone Johnson.  A Georgia native, Col. Johnson and his wife, Thankful, are considered St. Elmo’s founders. Besides Forest Hills, Col. Johnson played a role in forming other local organizations and companies, including the water company that would become Tennessee American Water and Chattanooga Medicine Company (now Sanofi).

Col. James Whiteside didn’t approve of Col. Johnson (pictured above) when he met his daughter, Thankful, who was engaged to a law student. Two days before her wedding, she eloped with Johnson. (Photo source: CityScope Magazine)

Originally named “Oakland,” the cemetery name was changed to “Forest Hills.” The first burial took place in August 1880. Englishman Walter Hayter, who was hired to survey the cemetery, died suddenly and was buried in Section 1, Lot 1. I did not see his grave on our visit.

Spring at Forest Hills Cemetery

With about 45,000 burials, Forest Hills Cemetery covers about 100 acres so it is definitely big. Since spring was starting, trees and flowers were just starting to come out of their winter hibernation.

Col. Johnson’s family monument is one of the largest at Forest Hills, not surprising considering his wealth and influence. But his origins were humble in nature. Johnson was working as a tinsmith and railroad postal agent when he met Thankful Whiteside in 1857.

The Johnson monument is so large, I had to photograph it in segments.

The Johnson union (they married the year they met) was frowned upon by Thanksful’s father, Col. James Whiteside. She eloped with Johnson two days before her marriage to a law student. Col. Whiteside reportedly did not speak to his daughter until after she gave birth to her first two children about a year later, a set of twins named Anderson and Minnie.

The Colonel Who Wasn’t a Colonel

While one source I saw reported that Johnson rose to the rank of colonel in the Confederate Army, I found no records confirming he ever donned a uniform. More likely, it was honorary. Johnson operated several railroads in Georgia serving under the Confederate government. The title “Colonel” is also nowhere to be found on Johnson’s monument, either. These honorary designations were not uncommon during the era, “Major” Eugene Lewis being another example of a railroad magnate who garnered a military title he never earned.

The Johnsons had seven children and all of them but Anderson are accounted for on the monument. One account I read was that Anderson was in a fight over a woman that resulted in a friend being cut in the neck, and the man died of infection two weeks later. Fearing he might be charged in the man’s death, Anderson fled Chattanooga and became a drifter of sorts. The last record I could find him listed on was the 1880 U.S. Census.

Thankful Johnson died at the age of 51.

Thankful Whiteside Johnson was in poor health in her later years as the result of the hardships she suffered during the Civil War, the 1878 Yellow Fever epidemic, and child birth. At age 51, she died on Jan. 28, 1890. Abraham died on April 21, 1903 at the age of 73.

Two angels flank the sides of the Johnson monument.

There was a grave at Forest Hills that I was keen to find, and it took Mom and I quite a while to locate. It is tiny compared to the Johnson monument but the story of the woman who rests there has a place in the history books.

No Flash in the Pan

A native of Chattanooga, Virne Beatrice “Jackie” Mitchell grabbed local attention as a young pitching star when she was signed in 1931 by Joe Engel (also buried at Forest Hills). He owned the Chattanooga Lookouts, a double-A minor league team in the Southern Association that still exists today. Baseball did not look kindly on women players at the time so Jackie was often regarded with scoffing and amusement.

But Jackie was the real deal, the 17-year-old having been coached by her neighbor future Baseball Hall of Famer Charles “Dazzy” Vance when her family lived in Memphis. Her father, an optician, encouraged his daughter to play ball at a tender age.

An exhibition game featuring Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig made Jackie Mitchell a star. (Photo Source: Starr Cards)

On April 2, 1931, Jackie took to the mound during an exhibition game the Lookouts played against the New York Yankees. She followed pitcher Clyde Barfoot, who had given up a double and a single. Wearing a custom-made uniform, she stared down the already legendary Babe Ruth. Her first pitch was a ball, he swung at the next two, then the fourth pitch was called a strike.

Ruth reportedly threw his bat down, argued with the umpire, then stormed back to the dugout. Next up was “Iron Horse” Lou Gehrig, who swung and missed all three pitches.

Joe Engel played for the Washington Senators, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Cleveland Indians. In 1930, he became the owner of the minor league Chattanooga Lookouts. Engel Stadium, where the Lookouts played until 1999, was named after him.

“Too Strenuous” For Women

After Jackie got a standing ovation, she walked the third batter and was pulled from the game. The sensational story was quickly reported across the country. Days later, her contract was voided by Baseball Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis with the reason given being that baseball was “too strenuous” for women.

Some have argued that Jackie’s defeat of the Babe and Iron Horse that day was a set up, but sports writers and historians tend to support that it was real. Knowing what happened later in her life indicates to me that Jackie took her talent seriously and wouldn’t have agreed to such a thing.

Jackie Mitchell was considered a novelty but her talent was genuine. This is a photo from the infamous day in 1931 that she struck out Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. (Photo source: Library of Congress)

Jackie kept playing in exhibition games before retiring from baseball at the age of 23 in 1937. She was fed up with being used as a side show, once being asked to pitch while riding a donkey. She took an office job at her father’s company, and refused to come out of retirement when the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League formed in 1943.

Jackie Michell’s grave marker is quite humble considering her role in baseball history.

Although her professional career lasted only two-thirds of an inning, her story has become legend in both baseball and women’s sports history. In 2000, a book about her story called “The Girl Who Struck Out Babe Ruth” was published. She died in January 1987 at the age of 73. Her stone is small and worn, with the last name of “Gilbert” on it. I could find no record of her marriage or if they had children.

Rare White Bronze Marker

The last marker I wanted to talk about is this white bronze (zinc) one, a rarity in a Southern cemetery. Finding information about the family proved difficult but I finally sorted it out. Where there were thought to be three sons, however, there is only one.

The acorns on top of this white bronze monument signify wisdom.

Three people are memorialized on this marker. John Timberlake Jackson (1859-1883) and Stonewall Jackson (1863-1896) were sons of William Jasper Jackson, a lumber merchant from Rutherford County, Tenn. who spent his later years in Jackson County, Ala. His first wife, Judith Primm Jackson, was the mother of John and Stonewall (and other children). She died in 1882 and is buried in Jackson Cemetery in Rutherford County.

Remarriage in Alabama

William remarried in 1883 to wealthy widow Paralee Edwards Moody in Alabama. Her son, Jesse Moody, born in 1869 during her first marriage to Alexander Moody, is the third person on this monument. He grew up in Scottsboro, Ala. and lived with his mother and step-father, William, after their marriage in 1883.

John T. Jackson died in August 1883 at the age of 24, I could find very little about him. Stonewall worked closely with his father at his lumberyard in Langston, Ala. and died there suddenly at the age of 32 in 1896. His obituary notes he was buried in Langston but does not specify a cemetery by name.

According to his obituary, Jesse died as a result of exposure and a fever he contracted while a soldier serving in the Philippines. The Spanish American War that only lasted a few months in 1898 dragged on into the Philippine American War, and it appears Jesse took part in both. His obituary notes that he’d only been back in America a short time when he died at the Jackson home in Chattanooga on Jan. 23, 1902. His official Tennessee death record lists “consumption” as his cause of death.

Jesse Moody, son of Paralee Edwards Moody Jackson, died in 1902 shortly after returning to America following his involvement in the Spanish American and Philippine American Wars.

William died in 1913 and is buried in Langston Cemetery in Alabama. Paralee died in 1925 at the age of 84 of pneumonia in Scottsboro, Ala. While Find a Grave does not have a photo of her grave, her obituary notes that her remains were “carried to Chattanooga” for burial beside her son. She left a substantial sum of money in her will to endow a Jesse Moody Chair of Mathematics at what is now Bethel University in McKenzie, Tenn.

Three Names But Only One Grave

What puzzled me was how brothers John and Stonewall Jackson ended up buried at Forest Hills when they seemed to have few ties to Chattanooga, beyond a family home mentioned in Jesse’s obituary, which may have been the home of a relative. Stonewall’s obituary specifically notes he was buried in Alabama following his death in 1896, but does not mention which cemetery.

I solved the mystery by looking up Forest Hills’ extensive online burial records, which revealed no record of their burials there. Paralee and Jesse’s burials, however, are recorded. My guess is that Paralee memorialized her step-sons on the marker when she had it made for Jesse in 1902 as a loving gesture to her husband, William.

There’s a lot more to talk about at Forest Hills Cemetery. I’ll be back to share additional tales.

Stranger Things in a Familiar Place: Visiting Fayetteville, Ga.’s Bethany Cemetery

Were you wondering if I would ever get back to Georgia?

I’ve written about cemetery hopping with my best friend, Christi, before. We usually do it where she now lives in Nebraska or the surrounding states. But in late March 2018, she was in Atlanta visiting her Dad. As usual, I drove from my house in the Northern ‘burbs to spend the night with her at his house in Fayetteville, where we both grew up. It’s about 20 miles south of downtown Atlanta.

I’ve known Christi since 1980, when we met in Vacation Bible School at First Baptist Church of Fayetteville. Our complete lack of volleyball prowess drew us together as we stood on the sidelines, little knowing it would be the foundation of a lifelong friendship.

Christi’s parents had built their home “in the boonies” of Fayette County during the 1970s. It often meant passing Bethany United Methodist Church Cemetery on my way to her house for a sleepover.

Bethany UMC Cemetery was a place I passed many times in my teens and 20s.

Back then, I had zero interest in cemeteries. But in recent years, I’d thought about stopping by. On that day in March last year, we’d already been to another cemetery to visit the grave of Christi’s oldest brother. She was good with one more stop so we did. Having passed it so many times, it felt like a very familiar place even though I’d never actually stopped by before.

Bethany UMC is still an active church. Organized in 1855, the church had been in three different locations before settling at its current site in 1898. The building cost approximately $1,000 and was dedicated on May 21, 1900. The United Methodist Church rotates its ministers every few years so the list of Bethany’s former pastors is quite long. Their current pastor is the Rev. Garrett Wallace, who will make an appearance later in this post.

Hollywood Comes to Bethany Cemetery

According to Find a Grave, there are about 675 recorded burials at Bethany. Some of the markers are broken and look to have been that way for a while. Burials are still taking place now.

If Bethany Cemetery looks familiar to you, that’s because it’s featured on the popular Netflix original series “Stranger Things”, set in 1983. I’ve never watched it. Here’s a photo I found from the series that I found at

A scene from the Netflix original series “Stranger Things” as it was filmed at Bethany Cemetery. (Photo source:

It’s not unusual for scenes from the Atlanta area to show up in movies and TV shows because Pinewood Studios built a studio only a few miles from Bethany Cemetery a few years ago. Others have followed since. Bethany Cemetery was also featured in the 2013 movie “Joyful Noise” starring Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah.

I unknowingly photographed the other side of the same plot that shows up in “Stranger Things.”

There’s another fenced off plot that I saw in the back of the cemetery. I’d never heard of the Shropshire family when I was growing up but they owned a cotton plantation in Fayette County. Joshua Pollard Shropshire (1806-1873) married Minverva Smith in nearby Coweta County in 1833. They had seven children together. Joshua was appointed a judge in Fayette County in 1866.

Joshua did own slaves that worked the plantation, owning seven in 1850. I found a record of the family Bible that lists some of their names and birth dates of children. A man named Greg Burton, a Shropshire descendant, traveled from Canada to the area in the 1970s to visit family and see the plantation. This is a photo he posted of it at this website. I learned this week that the home burned in 1985.

Photo of the Shropshire plantation home taken in 1919. (Photo source:

The three eldest Shropshire sons all served in the Confederate Army. Oldest son William Franklin Shropshire was 25 when he enlisted in Georgia’s 10th Infantry Regiment, Company I (known as the Fayetteville Rifle Greys or Fayetteville Grey Guards.) The group left Fayetteville on June 4, 1861, arrived at Richmond, Va. on June 7, 1861 and mustered into service on June 8, 1861.

Shropshire family plot at Bethany Cemetery. Joshua and Minerva’s markers are the two on the left side of the picture.

I found a record that indicated William was in the hospital in Williamsburg, Va. in November 1861. He vanishes from military records after that. William died on March 22, 1863 in Fayetteville. I’m not sure how all that happened but he was buried in Bethany Cemetery after his death.

The story of where William Shropshire was between November 1861 in Virginia and when he died in 1863 in Fayetteville is unclear. (Photo source: Rhonda Brady Rampy)

Third son Joshua Asbury Shropshire, born in August 1839, also served in the Georgia 10th alongside his older brother. I found a record that indicated he had been on “sick furlough” since December 29, 1861 and that it had been “indefinitely postponed”. So I’m not exactly sure what happened to him as well during that time.

Is Joshua Shorpshire actually buried in Bethany Cemetery? (Photo source: Rhonda Brady Rampy)

What we know for sure is that Joshua died on October 21, 1862 in Williamsburg, Va. Where he is buried is uncertain. There is a military marker for him at Thornrose Cemetery in Staunton Cemetery in Virginia, but the death year on it is incorrectly marked as Oct. 21, 1864. His marker at Bethany has the correct date. A marker for him is recorded in Franklin Garrett’s necrology in the 1930s and it notes that his Bethany marker said “Died in Staunton, Va.” on it. That marker is no longer there.

The Mystery of Joshua’s Grave

Some years ago, from what I found on a website, someone in Fayette County made it their mission to get every veteran in the county (Union and Confederate) a government-issued marker. I think that is who placed the marker that is currently at Bethany Cemetery.

My belief is that Joshua is not actually buried at Bethany but is in Thornrose Cemetery in Virginia. During the Civil War, the Confederate Army did not normally embalm the way the Union Army did. Shipping the body home without issues would have been nearly impossible.

Second in birth order was John Wesley Shropshire, born in 1837. He was 24 when he married Mary Jane Denham in 1862. Together, they had two children, Naomi and Johnnie. It was perhaps his relationship to Mary that prevented him from joining this other two brothers when they enlisted in 1861 and left for Virginia.

You can see the Shropshire name on the gate. I did not get good photos of the Shropshire brothers’ graves that day.

Unlike his brothers, John enlisted as a first sergeant in the 2nd Ga. Cavalry Regiment, Company E, also known as the Fayette Dragoons, in July 1963. Most of their time was spent at Camp Lane near Rome, Ga. He only served six months before he and his fellow soldiers mustered out in late December 1963 without seeing much action.

John W. Shropshire served as a First Sergeant in the Second Georgia Cavalary Regiment, Company E, also known as the Fayette Dragoons. (Photo source: Rhonda Brady Rampy)

John died a month before daughter Johnnie’s birth on August 1, 1864 for reasons unknown. One notation I saw said he died in the Battle of Atlanta (fought in July 1864), but he had already mustered out months before. He is buried in the Shropshire plot with his parents and brother. It appears that his wife, Mary, never remarried and lived with one of her daughters until her death.

Father Joshua was still living on the plantation with his wife and three daughters when he died in 1873. According to a friend I contacted at the Fayette County Historical Society, the home was sold (along with 600 acres) to William T. Glower in 1876. Minerva died in 1882. They are both buried in the Bethany plot but their markers are so worn you can no longer read them.

A Marriage Torn Apart

On the front side of the cemetery, I photographed a double marker for Acey Edward Banks and his wife, Lexie Mae Griffin Banks. Born in 1892, Acey Edward “Eddie” Banks was the son of Lewis Banks and Elizabeth Phereby Hartley Banks. He married local girl Lexie Mae Griffin in 1923. They lived on a farm in Fayette County with two daughters and a son.

Eddie Banks died defending his family from his father-in-law. (Photo source: Jody Shepherd,

Unfortunately, from what I discovered on, Lexie’s father, Charlie Griffin, had a tumultuous marriage with her mother, Emma Lee. Things got so bad that Emma moved out of the Griffin home and moved in with Lexie and her family.

According to newspaper accounts and a granddaughter, Charlie showed up in a rage at the Banks farm on May 15, 1931 demanding his wife come out of the house. Emma refused. While the three children hid in a closet, the two men argued and Charlie broke into the home. Exact details vary but the result was Eddie lay dead on the floor while Charlie fled to a nearby swamp.

Charlie Griffin was tried and convicted of murder, sentenced to life in prison. But according to his granddaughter, Charlie was released after only seven years in 1938. He died in 1945 and is buried in an unmarked grave in Ebenezer Cemetery in Fayette County. Wife Emma died in 1964 and is also buried in Ebenezer Cemetery.

Acey Edward “Eddie” Banks was only 38 when he was gunned down by his father-in-law.

Lexie remarried widower Oliver Peek sometime around 1945. She died in 1964 and is buried with Eddie. Oliver died in 1955 and is buried with his first wife, Mary, at Ramah Baptist Church Cemetery in Palmetto, Ga.

As we were preparing to leave, Bethany UMC’s pastor, the Rev. Garrett Wallace, pulled up and got out of his car. I was worried he might not welcome us wandering around the cemetery during sunset, but he welcomed us warmly. He asked if we were visiting because of the TV show and did we have any questions. Apparently, many “Stranger Things” viewers have stopped by recently.

Memories of the Past

Rev. Wallace said his congregants had no problem with movie crews temporarily taking over their church and cemetery, but actually enjoyed the excitement. In addition, the financial compensation the church received enabled them to make much-needed repairs to the buildings.

As I mentioned, “Stranger Things” is set in 1983, only three years after Christi and I became friends. In a way, stopping by Bethany Cemetery that day recaptured some of the magic of our early friendship, when we were two giggly teenage girls watching MTV and munching on Stouffer’s French bread pizza. A time when our weightiest issues were studying for a test or passing a note in class. Not contemplating war or facing a father-in-law’s rifle like some of those resting at Bethany Cemetery.

Strange…but true.

A cross with no name.


One Husband, Four Wives: Exploring Lenoir City, Tenn.’s Pleasant Hill Cemetery

Last week I finished up my four-part series on Knoxville’s Old Gray Cemetery. It’s a vast cemetery with plenty of important people to write about. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting there.

But much of the time, you’re going to find me in a place like Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Lenoir City, Tenn. It’s a cemetery out in the country, maybe 30 miles west of downtown Knoxville. No towering obelisks. No massive monuments. But I always manage to find some interesting tales even in nondescript burial grounds like these.

A sign behind what used to be Pleasant Hill Baptist Church (now called the Refuge Church at Pleasant Hill), explains that the cemetery is not supported by the church but by Loudon County. The cemetery website states that Pleasant Hill Cemetery was founded as a community cemetery in 1844 for the Eaton Crossroads community of Loudon County.

Pleasant Hill Cemetery was established around 1844.

In 1997, Pleasant Hill Cemetery Inc., of Loudon County was formed to oversee continuing care of the grounds. It has a volunteer board of directors. Routine mowing and trimming are handled regularly. While this is guaranteed, families are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the grave markers.

Green Burials Allowed

Pleasant Hill Cemetery also allows green burials (no embalming or vaults required), something pretty rare these days. It was a welcome surprise.

It was a sunny day just after Christmas 2017 when I stopped to look around Pleasant Hill Cemetery, which is situated on a pretty hillside. According to Find a Grave, it has about 1,300 recorded graves. The cemetery website noted there are about 500 grave sites still available for purchase.

Fieldstones like this are indications of older graves.

While this cemetery has been around for a while, the earliest graves I saw were from around the turn of the century. There were, I noted, rough-edged fieldstones indicating there were some much older graves there.

Woodmen of the World Tree Markers

I noticed two tree monuments from Woodmen of the World, the fraternal organization turned insurance company. The first was for Robert M. Williams (1869-1912). His marker, though worn, indicates it was a Modern Woodmen of America (MWA) one. When Joseph Cullen Root founded the fraternal organization in 1883, that’s what it was called. Later he would drop the “Modern” and it would be simply “Woodmen of the World”.

The Modern Woodmen of America motto “Pur Autre Vie” (For the Life of Others) is inscribed on the marker.

Born in 1869, Robert was the oldest son of Samuel Pike Williams and Sarah Hudson Williams. He was married to Delia Melton Williams and they had seven children. According to the 1910 Census, both he and one of his sons, Earl, were working in a car factory. Robert died of heart failure of the age of 42 in 1913. Delia died in 1949 and is buried beside him.

The other tree marker is for Henry Edwin Markwood (1873-1916). As you can see, it’s only three years older than Robert’s but has the more well known Woodmen of the World seal on it. Both markers have a calla lily at the base, which was often meant to symbolize marriage or resurrection.

Henry Markwood served in the U.S. Army during the Spanish American War.

Henry was the youngest son of Lewis Anderson Markwood and Lucinda Gilbert Markwood. A military record indicates he served in Company E of the Florida Volunteer Infantry as a carpenter from 1898 to 1900 during the Spanish American War. The men were trained for an invasion of Cuba that never took place.

Henry returned to Loudon County and married Clora Williams (who may have been related to Robert Williams) in 1905. The 1910 Census indicates they were living in Monroe, La. with their two daughters while Henry worked as a contractor. At some point after 1913, the Markwoods returned to Loudon County. Clora died on Oct. 27, 1915. I could find no death record for her but Henry died on May 23, 1916 of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 42, the same age as Robert Williams.

One Husband, Four Wives

I noticed a double gravemarker for two women nearby and realized they were for two of the wives of Clarence Esco (C.E) Lebow. It turns out C.E. had a total of four wives altogether, a first in my book. I spent a good bit of time looking into his life and uncovered what I consider a sad story akin to a soap opera.

Born in August 1890 to Alfred Taylor Lebow and Ellen Hicks Lebow, C.E. grew up in a large family in Blount County, Tenn. Ellen was Alfred’s third wife, the previous two having died. This would be a pattern C.E. also followed.

When C.E. married Lula Viles in Loudon County in March 1909, she already had a daughter named Lena, born in 1907. The couple had a son, Clarence Ray, in August 1910. Lula died on Dec. 15, 1918 of tuberculosis at the age of 33. Lena went to live with her birth uncle’s family before marrying in 1923 and having three sons. She was divorced by 1930 and I could trace her no further. I don’t know what happened to Clarence Ray.

Only two months after Lula’s death on Feb. 7, 1919, Clarence married Bessie Fay Pierce. She died on Christmas Day 1920 at the age of 20, also of tuberculosis. Both wives are buried at Pleasant Hill Cemetery and share a marker, something I don’t often see.

C.E. Lebow has three wives buried at Pleasant Hill Cemetery.

There are some question marks surrounding C.E.’s 1921 marriage to Georgia native Lillian “Lillie” Pauline Carey because I found no record for it. Census records indicate she would have been in her teens. Lillie had a son, Virgil, on Jan. 15, 1921 and I’m not sure who the father was. C.E. and Lillie had a daughter, Margaret, in 1924. Lillie died in April 1931 and is listed as buried at Pleasant Hill but has no marker. I could not find her cause of death.

Children Farmed Out

After Lillie died, Virgil was sent to live at the Williams/Henson Lutheran Boys’ Home in Knoxville. Margaret was sent to the Mayhurst Girls’ School in Louisville, Ky., a school founded by nuns in the 1840s for homeless girls. She would go on to marry and have a family, dying in 2011 in Virginia.

Clarence Esco Lebow and his third wife, Lillian “Lillie” Pauline Carey Lebow. She is buried in an unmarked grave at Pleasant Hill Cemetery. (Photo Source:

Clarence remarried a fourth and final time to Emma Mays in October 1932. She already had a son, Oscar. By this time, Clarence was working at Knoxville Knit Mills, one of the city’s many underwear/hosiery mills. He would spend eight years employed by them.

C.E. Lebow was only 44 when he died but had already outlived three of his wives. (Photo source: Knoxville News-Sentinel Feb 23, 1935 page 7)

On Feb. 22, 1935, Clarence Esco Lebow died shortly after having a heart attack. He was buried at Mount Olive Cemetery in Knoxville. Emma’s name and date of birth are also on the marker but with no death date. Thanks to some help from Gaye Collins Dillon, who belongs to a genealogy Facebook group I am a member of, I learned that Emma remarried to German immigrant Henry Ruehr, who died in 1941. She died in 1984 and is buried in Fort Myers City Cemetery in Florida.

Grave of C.E. Lebow at Mount Olive Cemetery in Knoxville. Emma remarried and is buried in Fort Myers City Cemetery, Fla. (Photo source: Find a Grave’s Howard Sutherland)

Sadly, on Oct. 9, 1936, Virgil Lebow was delivering papers for the Knoxville News-Sentinel when he was in a car accident that ended his life at the age of 14. He is buried in Bethel Lutheran Cemetery, a small family cemetery connected with the Williams/Henson Lutheran Boys’ Home. His marker has yet to be photographed, although a 1990 inventory lists it. It is located less than a mile from where the only father he ever knew, C.E. Lebow, is buried.

C.E. Lebow’s son, Virgil, died in a tragic car accident in 1936. (Photo Source: Oct. 26, 1936 edition of The Kingsport Times.)

I could find nothing more about Clarence Ray Lebow, although someone on Ancestry noted he had changed the spelling of his last name and possibly spent time in prison. I cannot verify if that is true.

In researching this story, I felt especially sad for the wives and children of C.E. Lebow. It seemed C.E. had a zest for marriage but not for parenthood since the children were all sent to live elsewhere after their mothers died (except for his last step-son, Oscar Mays). It’s possible he didn’t have the money to support them but he had the means to marry. In the end, C.E. is buried alone, something he probably never pictured happening.

Building a Sausage Dynasty

Finally, I found the grave of an East Tennessee celebrity. When I saw the name “Wampler”, I immediately thought of the sausage ads I’ve heard on the radio when my husband tunes in to University of Tennessee Volunteer football games.

Although he credited his father Riley Wampler, Ted Wampler, Sr. is considered the true founder of Wampler’s Farm Sausage. Born in Loudon County in 1929, Ted remembers his father smoking sausage in a little tin shack on the tenant farm where they lived when he was a child. Riley went door to door during the Great Depression selling it to neighbors, stopping briefly during World War II.

Wampler’s Sausage is well known in East Tennessee.

“After World War II, little mom and pop stores sprung up everywhere so Dad suggested we re-open the slaughter house. So we did. We each invested $1,100,” Ted Sr. said.

By the 1950s, it became a corporation. In 1981, the family officially changed the name from Wampler’s Wholesale Meats to Wampler’s Farm Sausage Company. The company’s sausage is sold under the Wampler name as well as many private label brands. The Wampler plant, located in Lenoir City, employs about 150 people.

Ted Sr. married his childhood sweetheart, Frances, in 1950 and they had four children. Ted served as a justice of the peace, foreman of the Loudon County grand jury, chairman of the Loudon County Board of Education and the Loudon County Vocational Governing Board, and on the Executive Board of Directors of the Loudon County Rescue Squad. Needless to say, he was actively involved in the community.

Sausage company founder Ted Wampler Sr. was active in his community.

Ted died at the age of 86 on April 10, 2016. He is buried beside his parents and his daughter, Mary Lee Wampler Hitch, who was killed in a car accident in 1995 at the age of 40.

I didn’t expect to find as much as I did at Pleasant Hill Cemetery but it was a trip worth taking. Then again, just about every cemetery hop is.

I could find nothing about Nellie Adkins. She died in 1945.


Say Not Goodnight: Discovering Knoxville’s Old Gray Cemetery, Part IV

Say not Good night, but in some brighter clime
Bid me Good morning.

— From the poem “Life” by Anna Laetitia Barbauld

One thing I neglected to mention earlier is that Old Gray Cemetery has a receiving vault. These storage areas were used to hold human remains before the advent of refrigeration. In the event there was a cold winter and the ground was too hard to dig, cemetery sextons would put coffins in a receiving vault until the weather improved. They’re much more common up North where winters are harsher. Nearby Greenwood Cemetery, however, has one as well.

I don’t know when the receiving tomb was built at Old Gray Cemetery. Many have the year inscribed on them, but this one does not.

Tennessee Governor William “Parson” Gannaway Brownlow’s family plot features a large obelisk. Born in Virginia in 1805, William Brownlow’s parents died when he was 11.  Brownlow spent the rest of his childhood on his uncle John Gannaway’s farm. At 18, he learned carpentry from another uncle, George Winniford.

From Carpenter to Fighting Parson

After attending a camp meeting, Brownlow gave up carpentry and studied to become a Methodist minister. He spent the next 10 years traveling Southern Appalachia on horseback competing for converts with ministers from the Baptist, Presbyterian, and other Methodist churches.

Brownlow could be combative with his fellow circuit preachers if they didn’t see eye to eye. In 1831, Brownlow was sued for libel by a Baptist preacher, and ordered to pay his accuser $5. He was well on his way to earning the moniker “The Fighting Parson.”

William Brownlow started out as a traveling Methodist minister but went on to become governor of Tennessee.

Brownlow quit the circuit shortly after marrying Eliza Ann O’Brien in 1836 in Carter County, Tenn. It was at this time he began getting involved in journalism and politics. In 1845, Brownlow ran against Andrew Johnson for the state’s First District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He accused Johnson of being illegitimate, suggested Johnson’s relatives were murderers and thieves, and stated that Johnson was an atheist. Johnson won the election by 1,300 votes, out of just over 10,000 votes cast.

Freed Tennessee’s Slaves

Brownlow was appointed by President Millard Fillmore to carry out congressional provisions in 1850 and as a journalist he established The Whig newspaper in Knoxville. He also became an agent for the U.S. Treasury. As the Civil War was ending in early 1865, he (with Tennessee Unionists ) created their own Constitutional Convention and proceeded to free the state’s slaves.

William Brownlow and his wife, Eliza, had seven children together.

In April 1865, Brownlow was elected the 17th Governor of Tennessee. While in office, he worked on the state’s reconstruction, ruling with a stern hand. The emerging Ku Klux Klan marked him as one of their greatest enemies but Brownlow brushed off their threats.

Running For Senate

Following re-election in 1867, Brownlow chose not to seek a third term but successfully sought the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by David T. Patterson, Andrew Johnson’s son-in-law, in 1869. By the time he was sworn in on March 4, 1869, a persistent nervous disease had weakened him considerably, and the Senate clerk had to read his speeches.

After finishing his term in the Senate in 1875, Brownlow returned to Knoxville and was a partner in establishing the Weekly Whig and Chronicle newspaper. He died at age 71, cause of death being listed as “paralysis of the bowels”. Eliza lived until the age of 96, dying in 1914.

Lady With a Rifle

Their daughter, Susan Brownlow Sawyers (1837-1913), caused a stir thanks to a story in an 1861 issue of Harper’s Weekly. Susan was a young widow, her husband Dr. James Sawyers having died only four months before the death of their daughter, Lillie, in 1858. Susan and Lillie were living with her parents when the incident took place.

A depiction of Susan Brownlow, daughter of pro-Union newspaper editor William G. Brownlow. In 1861, Confederate soldiers threatened to take down the American flag flying over the Brownlow home on East Cumberland Avenue in Knoxville.

According to the story in Harper’s:

When a mob of secessionists attacked her father’s house in his absence and insisted on the Union flag being hauled down from where it floated, this young lady seized a rifle and told them she would defend it with her life. The first who approached would be shot. They threatened her for some time, and tried in every way to frighten her. But she was firm, and after a time the ruffians withdrew, leaving the flag still flying.

Susan remarried to Dr. Daniel Boynton in 1865 and they had several children. She died in 1913. Both she and Dr. Boynton are buried in the Brownlow plot at Old Gray.

Henry Marshall Ashby’s marker got my attention because it looked like he had died in his 30s. The cause of it was not a lingering war wound but the explosive end to a simmering feud.

Col. Henry Ashby did not die in battle but he did meet his end at the hand of an enemy.

Born in Virginia in 1836, Ashby attended the College of William and Mary but never graduated. He worked as a trader in Chattanooga but was visiting his uncle in Knoxville when the war began.

Elected Colonel of the Regiment

After enlisting in the Confederate Army, Ashby’s company was assigned to the 4th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion which became part of the 2nd Tennessee Cavalry Regiment. Ashby was elected colonel of the regiment on May 24, 1862. The 2nd Tennessee Cavalry operated in East Tennessee in 1862 and 1863, usually in the brigade of Brigadier General John Pegram. Ashby was wounded during one of three raids into Kentucky made by his regiment during 1862.

Ashby was present at many strategic battles during the war, including Stones River (Tenn.), Brown’s Mill and Chickamauga (Ga.), and Monroe’s Crossroads (N.C.). Ashby actually had his horse shot out from under him at Monroe’s Crossroads. Although sometimes referred to as an acting brigadier general, Ashby ended the war as a colonel. After a visit to New York, he returned to Knoxville.

Bitter Enemies Clash

Union Major Eldad Camp had a score to settle with Ashby. During the war, a number of Camp’s men were held as prisoners of war under Ashby. Camp felt they had been treated abominably in atrocious conditions and held Ashby personally responsible. After the war, Camp pressed charges of war crimes and treason against him. Ashby fled Knoxville but returned when the charges were eventually dropped in June 1868.

Attorney E.C. Camp was determined to make Col. Henry pay for how he treated Camp’s men.

On July 9, 1868, Ashby encountered Camp on the street. Ashby hit Camp with his cane while Camp fought back with an umbrella. The following day, Ashby appeared at Camp’s law office near the corner of Walnut and Main Streets. The two went outside where Camp drew his revolver and fired. Henry Ashby was hit in the chest and killed.

Col. Henry Ashby was in his early 30s when he was killed by E.C. Camp.

While Camp was arrested and charged with murder, all charges were dropped. In examining the various newspaper accounts, the spin put on the event depending on the affiliation of the owner/editor is telling. As you can imagine, Confederate papers tended to support Ashby while those with Union leanings proclaimed Camp an innocent victim acting in self defense.

E.C. Camp went on to a successful business career, building Greystone Mansion. It still stands today as the studios of TV station WATE-TV. He died in his 80s and is buried within sight of Ashby’s grave at Old Gray Cemetery.

There’s one last stone that I wanted to share for a man that’s not even buried at Old Gray. His marker is a cenotaph. But the story of his life is worth reading.

From Knoxville to Korea

Born in Derbyshire, England in 1856, Heron was the son of the Rev. E. S. Heron, a minister of the Congregational Church, and Elizabeth Ayrton Heron. The Herons came to America in 1870 when John was 14. In 1881, he was admitted to the University of Tennessee Medical School and graduated in 1883.

After training at New York University Hospital, he refused the offer of a professorship from the University of Tennessee but instead became a medical missionary (sponsored by the U.S. Presbyterian Church) to Korea. He married Harriet “Hattie” Gibson shortly before he left and she accompanied him.

Dr. John W. Heron turned down a professorship at the University of Tennessee Medical School to serve as a missionary to Korea.

The Herons arrived in Seoul on June 1885 and John started work in Royal Government Hospital, Chejungwon. In 1887, he became the superintendent of the hospital. He also worked for the royal family while still traveling to rural areas to care for patients. He started Chejungwon Church, which later became Namdaemoon Presbyterian Church. He and Harriet had two daughters in Korea, Sarah and Jessie.

Dr. John Heron is not buried at Old Gray Cemetery but in Seoul, Korea where he died in 1890.

In the summer of 1890, Dr. Heron treated the sick and suffering amid epidemic dysentery and became infected himself. He died on July 26, 1890. Dr. Heron is thought to be the first medical missionary sent to Korea by the U.S. Presbyterian Church and was buried at Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Center in Seoul.

Hattie married Canadian missionary James Gale in Korea in 1892. She died in 1908 and is buried with her first husband in Seoul.

The Rev. E.S. Heron died of cancer in 1888 in Knoxville and I found a record of Elizabeth’s death in September 1898. I’m not sure who erected this cenotaph to Dr. Heron but it was probably Elizabeth or one of Dr. Heron’s siblings. Neither of his parents have a stone at Old Gray Cemetery but their graves may be unmarked.

I could have written much more, but I’ll leave those nuggets of history for others to write about. Old Gray Cemetery has many of them and I’m happy to have shared just a few.

Epitaph to Helen Gibson Brownlee (1862-1949) at the foot of the Gibson obelisk. It is from the poem “Life” by Anna Laetitia Barbauld.