Gibson Cate – Tombstone Inscriptions

Cate, Gibson
Section 28.8
ID # 281095

Gibson Cate
McMinn Co.

Nineteen Penitentiary inmates died of Cholera during the June 1833 Epidemic in Nashville. They were buried at Nashville City Cemetery. In 2016 wooden markers were placed at the cemetery for these Cholera victims.

Fred Zahn of the Metropolitan Historical Commission was responsible for the carving of the inscriptions on the 19 wooden markers and locating where to place them at the Nashville City Cemetery. To read about his work on the project, click here.

To read the account of John Hill, a contemporary of these men and survivor of his time in the penitentiary, click here.

For more information, and to see a listing of the inmates’ names & counties of residence prior to incarceration, please see the following newspaper article in the Nashville Republican and State Gazette, Friday, July 5, 1833.

Charles A. Sherill has given permission to quote from Tennessee Convicts: Records of the State Penitentiary, Vol. I. 1831-1850, by Charles & Tomye M. Sherrill, published 1997:

Page 15:
“Gibson Cate was received in the Penitentiary Nov. 11, 1832. He is 5′ 11 1/2” in height, weighs 165 lbs., 32 years of age, dark hair and eyes, sallow complexion. Born and brought up in Jefferson Co., Tenn. His father and mother reside in McMinn Co., abouth three miles from Athens, near Metcalf’s Carding and Spinning Factory. Likewise, one sister living at this place married to a man by the name of Witt. One brother, married and living in Jefferson Co. He has a wife and six children living on Mouse Creek, about six miles from Athens and within two miles of Wm. Cates’s Mill and Mr. Baxter’s Plantation. His wife’s name was Benton, all of whose family reside on Mouse Creek. He has a scar below the right nostril, one on the first joint of the third finger of the left hand occasioned by a cut from a reap hook. One on the instep of the right foot about 1 1/4” long, and one on the center of the shin 1 1/2” long. He has generally followed farming. Was found guilty of assault with intent to kill, at the Circuit Court of McMinn County and sentenced to nine years confinement in the Jail and Penitentiary of the State of Tenn. Gibson Cate died of cholera on the 17th day of June 1833. [Ledger 45, p.17]”

Research Report August 2017

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