Charles Dickinson – Interment Information


Husband of Jane Erwin
Wiltshire Manor, Caroline County, Maryland
Died May 30, 1806
in his 28th Year
Harrison’s Mills, Logan County, Kentucky

Interment June 1, 1806
  Residence of his father-in-law Joseph Erwin
  Davidson County, Tennessee

Re-interment June 25, 2010
  Andrew and Ann Erwin Hynes’ Lot
  Nashville City Cemetery

Charles Dickinson Flowers

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MHC Invites Public to Charles Dickinson Reburial

Charles Dickinson, who was killed in a duel with Andrew Jackson in 1806, will be permanently laid to rest Friday, June 25, in the historic Nashville City Cemetery. The ceremony, which is open to the public, commences at 10:30 a.m.

A prominent Nashville attorney, Dickinson met his end on May 30, 1806 at Harrison’s Mills in Logan County, Kentucky, dueling having been outlawed in Nashville. Whether the conflict was sparked by a dispute over a bet on a horse race or a slur against Jackson’s wife, Rachel, is still in dispute. Dickinson fired first, lodging a bullet near Jackson’s heart, but Jackson was able to return fire and kill his adversary. Dickinson was buried in Nashville on his in-law’s farm. This area later became the West End Avenue area.

In 1926, an upscale housing development was being built on Carden Avenue, off Whitland Avenue. One night, the sides of the box tomb that was Dickinson’s grave mysteriously disappeared. State Archivist John Trotwood Moore secured $500 from the State of Tennessee to offer as a reward for the return of the stolen box tomb slabs. If the slabs were not returned, Moore said he would try to find Dickinson’s descendants and secure their permission to rebury his remains at City Cemetery. Apparently Moore failed to find any descendants. Over the ensuing years, Dickinson and his unmarked grave were forgotten both to history and to memory.

Last August, Dan Allen, an archaeologist, located Dickinson’s grave at 216 Carden Avenue after two earlier searches failed to find it. Property owners Mr. & Mrs. James Bowen agreed to have their front year excavated, which led to the discovery.

“It has been a pleasure to be of service to Nashville and the family in the search for Mr. Dickinson’s burial place,” says Allen. “ I am confident that the mystery is solved from the historical and archaeological evidence we have collected. I found no evidence that anyone had disturbed the grave prior to us recovering the location and excavating the burial deposit.” (Click here for Allen’s illustrated report of the search.)

Subsequently, Charles Miller, one of Dickinson’s descendants, requested reburial at Nashville City Cemetery.

Dickinson will be interred on the lot once owned by his brother-in-law, Col. Andrew Hynes. Hynes was married to Ann Erwin and Dickinson to Jane Erwin. They were daughters of Joseph Erwin, at whose residence Dickinson was originally buried on June 1, 1806. Hynes descendants in Louisiana approved that Dickinson’s remains be reburied in their family plot.

The Metropolitan Historical Commission invite the public to the Dickinson’s re-interment. Guests are asked to gather first at the Keeble Building at the cemetery and then proceed as a group to the gravesite. Members of both the Dickinson and Jackson families will be present for the ceremony.

Opened in 1822, the City Cemetery is the oldest continuously operated public cemetery in Nashville. A walk through the grounds is truly a walk through Nashville’s history. Nashville City Cemetery is located at 1001 Fourth Avenue South, at the corner of Fourth Avenue South and Oak Street. The Nashville City Cemetery is under the supervision of the Metro Historical Commission and is open daily.

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Man killed in duel with Andrew Jackson given new burial site

Posted: Friday, June 25, 2010 6:17 PM EST

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The great, great, great grandson of Charles Dickinson placed the first scoop of dirt over his new gravesite Friday.

Dickinson was killed 204 years ago after losing a pistol duel with Andrew Jackson.

“This is the culmination of many, many years of searching, trying to prove where he was buried, finding his grave, exhuming his remains, bringing him here to Old Nashville Cemetery and re-interring him,” said Charles Miller.

Dickinson’s grave was lost in 1926 when his box tomb was stolen and a neighborhood was built on the farm where he was buried.

“This is a day to remember because what was lost was found,” said local historian Fletch Coke, who led the local effort to find Dickinson’s lost grave.

Coke continued, “I had been involved with the Hermitage and worked on Andrew Jackson’s life on interpretation and always wondered where [Charles Dickinson was] buried.”

After two failed attempts to locate the gravesite by digging where they thought the grave should be, they finally found a bone, multiple coffin nails and a screw.

“It was just a wooden casket, a wooden coffin, and you could clearly see the eight sided outline in the dirt,” Coke recalled.

After Friday’s re-interment service, Dickinson, who has been part of Tennessee’s history, will have a permanent resting place in the Historic Nashville City Cemetery.

The Nashville Historic Society placed a replica box tomb over his burial site.*

Charles Dickinson was killed 204 years ago after losing a pistol duel with Andrew Jackson.
Charles Dickinson was killed 204 years
ago after losing a pistol duel
with Andrew Jackson

He was given a new resting place Friday.
He was given a new resting
place Friday

Fletch Coke - Historian
Fletch Coke with images from
Dickinson history