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Recorded History of the Nashville City Cemetery

some images courtesy Dan Smith & Paul Cottom and Jeff Thorneycroft

Nashville Clarion
June 18, 1811

A Public Grave Yard.

In all civilized and even most of the barbarous nations a decent respect is shown to the manes of departed mortals by interment in proper sanctuaries provided for the dead; and shall the town of Nashville be alone without a resting place for the last remains of its departed citizens? We hope not. We call for the public munificence to remove the stigma. We invite subscribers to a paper in the Clarion office for that purpose.


Tennessee Gazette Banner
Nashville Whig & Tennessee Gazette
March 27, 1819

A meeting of the citizens of Nashville and its vicinity, is requested, at the Courthouse, on Saturday next, at 4 o’clock P.M. to adopt some measures for procuring a public Burial Ground near this place.


1820 Richard Cross
Sale of Four Acres to City for “Burying Grounds”

Family Chronicle Page 62
By Octavia Zollicoffer Bond

Family Chronicle

“State of Tennessee, Davidson County.
I, Nathan Ewing, Clerk of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for said county, do hereby certify to whom it may concern that the foregoing is a true copy of the last will and testament of Richard Cross, deceased, and probate thereon as the same remains amongst the records of my office. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said county at office in Nashville..

This the 28th day of November, A.D. 1822.

(seal)
(Signed) Nathan Ewing.”

Circle WreathIt is conjectured that Richard Cross was buried in a family burying ground. His name has not been discovered on any existing tombs or lists of burials in any of three public graveyards that were successively established in Nashville prior to the opening of the City Cemetery in 1822. Mr. Charles Marlin, who was an authority on the subject, said the first burying ground was on the river bluff, east of the Public Square; the next was north of the town, west of the Sulphur Spring Bottom; the third was Spring Hill Cemetery across the river, at Haysboro, six miles from Nashville. The earliest records of these have been lost or destroyed. When Richard C. Cross, son of Richard Cross, Sr., sold part of his plantation in South Nashville to the city for a cemetery in 1820 (March 29) it seems probable that the part sold for that purpose included the family burying ground of Richard Cross Sr. Unfortunately, the early records of the City cemetery are known to have been mutilated by rats, making it impossible to obtain any information form that source.

Corporal Richard Cross was a rich man for the times in which he lived. His South Nashville plantation, extended from present Broad Street, between Market and Cherry to Peabody Street, beyond the City Cemetery, and embraced 1920 acres, as shown by an old document still kept in the family. He owned other large landed estates (as shown in his will) besides much live stock and between fifty and a hundred negroes.

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Nashville Gazette
Saturday, June 10, 1820

NASHVILLE
All persons whose friends or relations are Burried at the New Graveyard are requested to ex-
amine particularly whether they are within the limit of that purchace, and if not, will please to have them Removed.

R.C. Cross


Nashville Clarion
Wednesday, July 11, 1821

A sexton is wanted, to take care of the burying ground, to whom a valuable lease will be given. Apply to James Condon, Mayor of Nashville.

1833 Banner-Advertiser

National Banner and Nashville Daily Advertiser
Jan. 2, 1833

Interments in Nashville- A schedule has been made out by the Recorder, from the monthly reports to the board of Mayor and Alderman, of the interments in Nashville for the last four years, of which it may afford some satisfaction to our readers to learn the particulars. The following table furnishes the totals for each year.

White Males
1820
1830
1831
1832
Under 5 years of age
31
22
20
29
From 5 to 10 years
2
0
3
4
10 to 20 yrs.
6
3
4
0
20 to 30 yrs.
8
7
7
5
30 to 40 yrs.
9
6
7
7
40 to 50 yrs.
5
5
4
6
50 to 60 yrs.
6
0
0
8
Over 60 yrs.
1
3
4
1
68
46
49
60

White Females
1820
1830
1831
1832
Under 5 years of age
31
21
22
17
From 5 to 10 years
2
0
1
0
10 to 20 yrs.
3
3
4
7
20 to 30 yrs.
4
4
4
3
30 to 40 yrs.
3
2
1
6
40 to 50 yrs.
2
1
2
4
50 to 60 yrs.
1
0
2
2
Over 60 yrs.
3
2
7
6
49
33
44
45

Colored Males
1820
1830
1831
1832
Under 5 years of age
22
13
25
17
From 5 to 10 years
21
2
3
2
10 to 20 yrs.
7
7
3
3
20 to 30 yrs.
5
3
3
3
30 to 40 yrs.
2
1
3
3
40 to 50 yrs.
0
2
1
2
50 to 60 yrs.
2
2
0
0
Over 60 yrs.
0
0
1
1
30
30
39
31

Colored Females
1820
1830
1831
1832
Under 5 years of age
24
19
20
14
From 5 to 10 years
3
0
1
2
10 to 20 yrs.
7
4
3
1
20 to 30 yrs.
7
4
4
5
30 to 40 yrs.
2
2
5
1
40 to 50 yrs.
2
1
4
3
50 to 60 yrs.
3
0
2
0
Over 60 yrs.
2
2
4
6
50
32
43
32
 
Total
206
141
175
168

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Banner-Whig-banner

National Banner and Nashville Whig
June 19, 1835

Health of Nashville- Incorrect and exaggerated statements respecting the health of our city having gone abroad, we have obtained from the sexton’s books, the following list of burials, from the morning of the 12th, to the 18th June, inclusive.- Our readers may depend upon a full and correct report, through our columns, of the burials which may occur during the alarm which exists. We are confident that the truth is far less alarming than the unfounded reports which have been circulated: for ourselves, we wonder that more deaths do not occur in consequence of the use of unripe fruit, and the immoderate eating of vegetables.

List of burials in the Nashville graveyard.

June 12th- An infant son of Rev. James Smith.

June 12th Thomas, son of Pamela Fag, aged 3 years- fever

June 13th Infant son of David Jones, aged 1 year- spasms.

June 14th Two slaves and two paupers - cholera.

June 14th Samuel, son of R. Harris, aged 1 year.

June 14th An infant slave of William Gee – aged 1 year.

June 15th Peter Demoubille, aged 46 years- cholera.

June 15th An infant pauper, aged 1 year.

June 16th Andrew J., infant son of L. Hughes, aged 3 years – measles.

June 16th Child of Absalom Parish, aged 1 year.

June 16th Child of William Herring, aged 2 years – measles.

June 17th A male slave of Rev. Mr. Howell of Cholera.

June 17th William Owen, aged 12 years, measles.

June 17th Mary Norman, aged 45 years, Cholera.

June 17th Two infant slaves.

June 17th Samuel Read, a free black, aged 12 years.

June 18th Angelina M. Smith, aged 12 years of Cholera.

Recapitulation. – Children of 3 years old and under 11; - Adults 10 – total 21. Nine of which of Cholera.

Mr. John V. Cowardin, a Printer, died of Cholera on the evening of the 18th inst.


Nashville Whig
July 19, 1841

City Council

From the report of the Sexton of the City Burying Ground, for the month of June, 1841, it appears that there have been thirty one interments in said month – 29 from the city, and two from the country. Of these there appears to be twenty infants under 3 years old; six from 3 to 25; four from 25 to 50; one from 50 to 100. Two appears to have died of Consumption; one of pleurisy; eight of measles; one of worms; nine of bowel complaint; one of teething; one of old age; three diseases not known. Of the above number there appears to have been thirteen slaves or colored persons, and most of them infants.

Attest: W. Garrett, Recorder.


Nashville Whig
From the Republican Banner, August 23, 1841

City of the Dead
[From the Republican Banner]

Iron Fence CornerDeath and the Grave!. How solemnly do these words fall upon the ear! How strikingly do they remind us of the incurable fate that awaits all of our race! Yesterday we followed to their last resting place the remains of one who was stricken down in the bloom of youth and loveliness! How melancholy were our reflections as we accompanied the mourning train! How sad our emotions as the body was lowered into the tomb! How thrilling the sound as the clod fell upon the coffin lid! But a sweet and gentle voice whispered in our ear, “She is gone, but she is not lost. She has departed this world, but it is to enjoy the delights of another and a purer region – the paradise of God.”

We looked around this city of the dead, whose avenues we had not trodden for many years. We read the inscriptions on the tombs and monuments, which friendship and affection had reared to the memory of the departed. They recalled associations, which in the lapse of years had almost faded from our remembrance – they brought up many reminiscences of departed time. Beneath them rested many whom we had known in earlier days and with whom we had enjoyed many an hour of social and friendly intercourse – many whom we had known in the pride of manhood, but who had been cut down in the midst of their apparent usefulness.

Near the entrance, we recognized a family vault in whose gloomy chambers rest the remains of one whom in life we honored. Near it stands the monument of another whom it may be said, that his life was dedicated to deeds of charity and pure benevolence, which are not only registered on the stone which covers him, but in the hearts of thousands who have been sustained by his bounty, and cheered in their weary pilgrimage by his “words of exhortation.” Near by reposes all that in mortal of a reverend father, whose Christian witness endeared to all who hold religion in reverence, or virtue in honor. They have gone to their reward, and their works do follow them…

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Nashville Whig
September 24, 1841

Corporation of Nashville
City Council

From the return of the Sexton of the Nashville Burying Ground, made to the board of Mayor and Alderman for the month of August 1841, it appears that there has been thirty-two interments for said month, four from the country, and twenty-eight from the city.

Of those there appears to have been

17 infants under two years of age
5 from 2 to 16
4 from 16 to 30
5 from 30 to 60
1 from 60 to 75
Of these there appears to have died:
Of summer complaint, 11
Bilious Fever, 4
Consumption, 2
Breast complaint, 1
From a blow on the head, 1
Measles, 1
Disease of the head, 4
Worms, 1
Diseases not known, 7


Nashville Republican Banner
June 15, 1842

The Nashville Grave Yard – This spot of ground, which should be held so sacred by every citizen, is without an adequate enclosure. We are requested to call attention to the fact, that Capt. Kingsley has been authorized by the corporate authorities to procure subscriptions for building a suitable fence or wall around it. He is now employed in that service.


Nashville Whig
June 16, 1842

Captain Kingsley has been authorized by the City authorities, to procure subscriptions for enclosing the Burying Ground with a suitable wall of fence. We cannot for a moment doubt his success in raising the sum required, which, we understand, is about two thousand dollars.

In all civilized nations, and even among the most uncivilized, burying grounds have been regarded as sacred spots – for there repose, a waiting the final judgment, the remains of relatives and friends. In many cities of the union, the attention of the public has been turned to this subject, and the “Cities of the Dead” are becoming objects of peculiar care. Many of them are tastefully laid out and adorned with trees and shrubs, as for example Mount Auburn, in the neighborhood of Boston, and Laurel Hill, in the vicinity of Philadelphia. Thus laid out and adorned, they are divested of that gloominess which characterizes such as are neglected and while they lead the mind to reflect upon time and eternity, they induce a calmness and soberness of thought, which, in some degree, divest death of its terror.

The cemetery in the neighborhood of Nashville is susceptible of high improvement, at a trifling expense, and we hope it will not only be suitably enclosed, but otherwise improved.


Nashville Whig
Tuesday, June 13, 1843

(Thomas Crutcher, Trustee
ID # 280201
)

Nashville Female Academy Announcement

NASHVILLE FEMALE ACADEMY.

The Summer examination of this old established and justly popular institution closed on Wednesday last. The occasion was one of unusual interest to parents, pupils and teachers. We learn from one of the Rev. principals of the Academy that no examination within his experience has passed off with so much apparent satisfaction to all parties. We are glad of this. This institution is one of the literary jewels of our city—long established and ably and judiciously administered, it has earned a celebrity co-extensive, not only with the limits of the State, but of the whole South West. Long may it enjoy its well earned fame

The Academy during the late session numbered 160 pupils, which, considering the present hard times, speaks well for its popularity and for the ability and management of the principals and teachers. And in this connexion we may add, that the influence of Uncle Crutcher, who combines in his own person, Treasurer, Trustee and Superintendent generally, as well the first favorite of the young ladies especially, should not be forgotten.

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Nashville Whig
Tuesday, March 12, 1844

(ID # 280838)

Doctor’s Office Announcement

Dr. Jno. S. McNairy

Will hereafter be found at the Lunatic Hospital and will attend, professionally, to all calls from his friends, or those who may need his services.
March 9 –3t


Nashville Daily Gazette
September 7, 1851

Monument to General John Sevier. We have lately examined, at the marble yard of Shelton & Ham, in this city, a splendid monument shortly to be erected in our cemetery in honor of General John Sevier of East Tennessee.

John Sevier MonumentThis monument, in design and execution, is worthy of the distinguished man whose many virtues and heroic services it is intended to commemorate. The shaft is eleven feet high, of choice Italian marble and exquisitely polished. The device (by Major Heimen, the accomplished artist) is chaste and expressive. It consists of two swords sheathed and crossed, encircled with the laurel wreath of triumph and of peace – underneath which is the tomahawk and quiver of arrows – the weapons of the red child of the forest with whom General Sevier often and so successfully contended, all indicating as a correspondent appropriately remarks, the victory of civilized over savage man and yet that the victor did not design totally to destroy but only to subdue and rule. The following appropriate inscription also grates the monument.

Sevier, Noble and successful defender of the early settlers of Tennessee; the first and for twelve years Governor, Representative in Congress; Commissioner in many treaties with the Indians. He served his country faithfully for forty years and in that service died. An admirer of patriotism and merit unrequited erects this cenotaph.

This elegant tribute to one of Tennessee’s earliest defenders is erected, as we are informed, by the munificence and public spirit of a single individual, a gentleman who has devoted much of his time to the investigation of the early history of Tennessee and the fruits of whose labors we are gratified to know, will be given to the public at an early day. The title of this new work will be “Life and Times of General Sevier or interesting incidents of early East Tennessee History” by a member of the Historical Society of Tennessee. It is now nearly ready for the press and if long delayed, it will be on account of the execution of illustrative engravings. From the character of the author, we have no doubt this work will be a highly valuable and accurate chronicle of an interesting period in the history of our State and, as such, its appearance will be looked for with much solicitude by the public. The people of East Tennessee, especially, will welcome it and applaud the zeal and public spirit which have commemorated the deeds of her own Sevier in marble and perpetuated them in the authoritative language of history.


Nashville Daily Gazette
August 4, 1853

Cemetery Statistics – The following statistics of mortality in our city has been kindly furnished us by the Sexton. It gives the comparative number of interments in the Nashville Cemetery during the six months from January to July of the year 1852 and 1853.

1852 
1853
January
37
January
37
February
32
February
39
March
39
March
34
April
37
April
30
May
58
May
35
June
82
June
54
July
76
July
46
Total:
361
Total:
272

Showing a decrease of eighty-nine interments during the last six months compared to those of the same length of time during last year

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Nashville Dispatch – April 22, 1863
Reprinted in The Nashville Retrospective, April 2013

Civil War Report 1863


The Daily Press
July 18, 1864

Murfreesboro office opened
W. R. Cornelius, Undertaker

Our enterprising fellow citizen, W. R. Cornelius, has established a branch of his business at Murfreesboro, Tenn., where he has on hand a good supply of best Metallic Burial Cases and Caskets and all other coffins, such as velvet cloth and wood. J. B. Cowen is acting as agent at that house, and will give his personal attention to all orders.


The Daily Press
Thursday, August 11, 1864

Caskets, Hearses, Carriages
J. H. Currey. Undertaker

Funeral Undertaking.
J. H. CURREY,
61 UNION STREET.

Calls punctually attended in person, both day and night. Coffins and Burial cases of every description, with Hearses, Carriages, and all pertaining to Funerals, furnished at the lowest rates.
N.B.—Bodies Embalmed after the unrivalled method of Sucquet, of Paris, by Dr. G. R. WELLS, Agent of Drs. Brown & Alexander of Washington.
aug6-3m


The Daily Press
Thursday, August 11, 1864

Burial Cases, Hearses, Metallic Cases
W. R. Cornelius, Undertaker

Funeral Undertaking,
MURFREESBORO, TENN.
W. R. CORNELIUS
Will attend to undertaking for Citizens in Murfreesboro and its vicinity, in connection with the army work, and has on hand a good supply of BEST METALLIC
BURIAL CASES & CASKETS,
And all other COFFINS, such as
Velvet, Cloth & Wood,
And all kinds of
TRIMMING, GOOD HEARSES, &C.
ROOMS, South Side Public Square

J. B. COWEN, Agent.
july 18-1m


The Daily Press
Thursday, August 11, 1864

Mourning Goods
Mourning Clothes available in Nashville

MOURNING GOODS

Is very much enlarges, and comprises everything usually found in this department—viz:

Bombazines,
Crepe Merino,
Delanes, 4-4 & 5-4,
French Tamise,
Tamartine,
Grenadine,
Crepe maretz,
English black Berage,
Palmette Cloth, etc., etc.

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P.O. Box 150733
Nashville, TN 37215
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