TOMBSTONE INSCRIPTIONS FROM BLACK CEMETERIES IN MADISON COUNTY, TENNESSEE Compiled by Jonathan K. T. Smith
COPYRIGHT, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 1995
Special thanks go to Jonathan K. T. Smith for his work to preserve and share this information about black cemeteries in Madison County and for giving permission to convert this work to web pages.
Located in Jackson, Tennessee with its gate at the southeast juncture of Riverside Drive and Sycamore Street. The oldest marked grave in this cemetery, that of little Mary Jane Butler who died in September 1824 would indicate that Riverside Cemetery is the oldest burial ground in Jackson although the Old Salem Cemetery on the northeast fringe of the city is a close second as burials there date to at least 1825. The city's oldest cemetery was located on the northeast corner of today's Airways and Johnson Street. However, it was used for only a few years and several of the remains buried there were exhumed and reburied in Riverside Cemetery and those that had not been so removed, were, several years after the Civil War. This burial ground was called simply the "city cemetery" for many years but in the spring of 1879 it was permanently renamed Riverside Cemetery. Samuel Shannon, an early settler in the area, donated an acre of land for use as a cemetery for the city from his own acreage in that section where the Butler child was buried. One of the early donators of the land that constitutes the cemetery, Samuel Lancaster, stipulated in his conveyance to the city, in October 1850, that he reserved burial lots already sold to several individuals and maintaining a section for himself, for his family and his servants; hence blacks were buried at an early date in this cemetery. The burial register of St. Luke Episcopal Church for the antebellum period and the Jackson council minutes for the same period and for years afterwards, through the sextons' reports, reveal that several hundred black people were buried in this cemetery. However, only a few of them of that era and later have tombstones. The best known black person buried in Riverside Cemetery is Bishop Isaac Lane, a distinguished educator and religious leader. By the early 1880s the blacks had been largely burying their dead in Eastside Cemetery, ceased doing so in Riverside Cemetery; later still they started "burying" in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Even so, a few black families had acquired lots in Riverside Cemetery and have used these for burials over the years. A general historical sketch of Riverside Cemetery is given in the booklet, Reported Council Minutes of the City of Jackson,Tennessee, 1871-1878, pages 28-32, published by Jonathan K. T. Smith in 1993.
The oldest tombstones marking graves of black persons in Riverside Cemetery date to the time of "bondage," i.e., slavery. On the south slope of the cemetery are buried:
the Memory of
A good & faithful servant.
He is not forgotten by his
(St. Luke Episcopal Church in Jackson reveals that SILAS died December 14,1857. Anne Scurlock was one of the children of Adam Huntsman, an early politician of considerable note.)
AUNT BECCA, Beloved Servant of J. W. & Jane Campbell, Died Feb. 21,1866. Aged 60 Yrs. Also, NED, her husband, Died in 1863. I know that my Redeemer Liveth.
Just south of Lot 224, west section of the cemetery, are two tombstones of post-Civil War times:
TILLA, wife of Isham LEWIS
Born March 11, 1837
Born July 6, 1823
Died Sept.13, 1876
Lot 260-E has the double tombstone of:
Died June 6, 1905
Born Mar. 4, 1834
Died April 5,1918
Gone but not forgotten
Lot 100 (Pope) has tombstones:
A double tombstone:
Born in Davidson Co., Tenn., March 10, 1825. Died Dec. 30, 1896. Aged 71 Years.
He was a devoted Christian ... loyal ... friend ... affectionate husband ... tender father.
HANNAH POPE, Wife of Willis POPE
Died January 26,1914
There is a small tombstone, now broken and unreadable, just to the north of Willis and Hannah Pope's tombstone that Ingram James was apparently able to read in April 1937 (as part of his task of copying the cemetery's tombstones as a W.P.A.project), which he stated read: ELIZA, Mother of Haniah /Hannah/ POPE (no dates).
Died Sept. 15th 1912
Mother of (name too worn to be read with certainty).
JAMES, son of Win. & Martha (stone broken into, destroying the child's surname. Dates cannot be read with certainty. There have been conflicting readings of these dates over the years.)
dau.of Willis and Hannah POPE
Only the birth and death years could be read with certainty:
Lot 104, adjoining the Pope lot on the south, that of the Reid family, has tombstones:
COTTRELL J. REID
HENRY R. SADDLER, JR.
Feb.9, 1902-Oct.l7, 1971
PVT US Army, World War I
Jul. 20, 1904-Feb.17, 1975
LIONEL C. REID
Cpl US Army, World War I
Jan. 23, 1894-Nov. 30,1983
Mrs. DOVIE NORMAN HENNING
Died August 24, 1993.
Aged 100 Years
Stephenson Shaw Funeral Home Marker
Ingram James read another tombstone on this lot, no longer there: ANNA, wife of George REID, 1856-1902.
Lot 1901/2-S has a double tombstone:
GEORGE C. REID
Born 1844 Died 1904
RHODA, wife of George C. REID,
Born 1841 Died 1899
In this lot or the one just north adjoining, 1901/2-N, that of Ike Epperson, is a tombstone:
L. D. DAVIS
Born Apr.16, 1866
Died Mar.15, 1904
On the Epperson lot, in 1937,Ingram James noted a stone for UNIE EPPERSON, one no longer there.
Lots 103 (George Queen), 105-E (Chambers Wells), 99 (Robert Harris),105 (Greer) have no tombstones marking graves now.
Lot 146 (Lane) has tombstones:
Bishop ISAAC LANE March 3, 1834-Dec.5,1937 Christian minister for eighty-two years. A Bishop of the Church for sixty four years. Founder of Lane College. One of the organizers and founders of the Colored Methodist Church. His philanthropy knew no race and his ministry was to all mankind.
Sacred to the Memory of JAMES FRANKLIN LANE, Ph.D. Jackson, Tenn. Feb.18, 1874-Dec. 11, 1944. Served eleven years as teacher, Lane College and thirty-seven as president. A staunch fundamentalist, a dynamic, Christian educator, lecturer traveler, author. He urged the founding of the Phillips School of Theology and secured its first charter, December 1944.The Nation honored his work as humanitarian by launching the U.S. Ship 'Lane Victory,' May 1945. He lives on!! Immortalized by thousands as a world benefactor.
Sacred to the Memory of MARY EDNA JOHNSON LANE, Jackson, Tenn. Devoted wife and co-worker of Dr. James Franklin LANE. Dedicated Christian layman, teacher, civic and social worker. Loyal member of the Liberty C.M.E. Church for over a quarter of a century and leader in establishing the foreign missionary work of the C.M.E.denomination. An early pioneer in better race relations through service in the American Missionary Association. Dedicated teacher in the high schools of Memphis, Knoxville and Lane College of Jackson, Tennessee. Past president of the city and state Federation of Colored Women's Clubs. Organized the Athenian Art Club of Jackson, Tennessee which provides scholarships for worthy students. She lives on! A symbol of Christian living and as an inspiration to future generations.
ISAAC, JR. (no last name, presumed Lane)
LUNA (no last name,presumed Lane)
MARY E.(no last name,presumed Lane)
IDA LANE BURROWS
JOSHUA W. LANE
FRANCIS B. LANE
Tennessee PVT US Army, World War I
Nov. 27, 1899-Feb. 18, 1956
MATTIE N. LANE
Dr. W. H. LANE
Rev. C. W. (no last name, presumed Lane)
MARTHA (no last name, presumed Lane
FRANCES A. (no last name, presumed Lane)
A vertical monument on the lot reads:
BISHOP LANE, HUMANITARIAN AND GREAT AMERICAN CITIZEN. LOVER OF MANKIND.
Buried adjoining the Lane lot, to the west, are:
This is a double tombstone that bears the inscription also, Earth has no sorrows that heaven cannot heal.
Adjoining and just south of this tombstone is that perhaps of a black lady: DELIA M. BELL, Faithful Wife, Devoted Mother
It is thought that another adjoining burial place is for two black persons:
DANIEL ALLEN, 1877-1950; BESSIE L. ALLEN, 1887-____, no death date (a double tombstone). Mrs. Allen died in Chicago, Illinois in the year 1991.
Supplement, Page 1
A RIVERSIDE CEMETERY NOTE
On page 2 of TOMBSTONE INSCRIPTIONS FROM BLACK CEMETERIES IN MADISON COUNTY, TENNESSEE readings from the tombstones in the Pope family lot were given.
Further work with these tombstones reveals the following:
- Tombstone of JAMES, son of Wm. & Martha (stone broken where family surname was inscribed but upper remnants of letters of same suggest it was POPE). Having cleaned the stone with water and soft brush these dates are quite clear for JAMES: Born April 5, 1859; Died April 18, 1878.
- ANNIE LACKEY
Died Sept. 15th 1912
Enhancement of the letters under the death date reveals this reading: Mother of Esstel Morrow. Perhaps this is the same person as the Isabella Lackey MORRIS mentioned as a major legatee in the will of Hannah Pope in Madison County Will Book B, pages 497-498.
- MARY ANNIE
Dau. of Willis and Hannah POPE
Enhancement of birth date reveals: Born July 28, 1860
A clay impression reveals her death date: Sept. 23, 1880. In the U.S. Census, City of Jackson, June 22, 1880, this young lady was listed in her parents' household, being ill with malarial fever.
Supplement, Page 2
A RIVERSIDE CEMETERY NOTE #2
On page 3 of TOMBSTONE INSCRIPTIONS FROM BLACK CEMETERIES IN MADISON COUNTY,TENNESSEE was reported the double tombstone of Daniel Allen (1877-1950) and Bessie L. Allen (b. 1887). Mr. Robert D. Taylor, Jr., assistant librarian, Tennessee Room, Jackson/Madison County Library has confirmed through local sources that Mrs. BESSIE ALLEN was a relative of Bishop Isaac Lane; that she died at the age of 103 in Chicago, Illinois and was buried there, although a burial space was left in Riverside Cemetery, as per her shared tombstone, in the event that she should ever be re-interred here. Mrs. Allen died in the year 1991.
Also, in the burial area just west and southwest of the Lane lot is a small tombstone without dates, reading PETER LANCASTER. Perhaps he is the man of that name in the 1875-76 Jackson city directory, page 70, colored, res. ss of Tanyard St., w Cumberland. An upright tombstone bears these names/dates: FANNIE V. ESTES, died Feb. 25, 1902, Age 33 Ys. (north side); FRANCIS HENRY ESTES, died July 25, 1902, Age 5 mo. 11 ds. (south side). This is the wife and infant child of Henry Estes, black, living on Elm St. in June 5, 1900 U.S. census, City of Jackson, with wife, Fannie Virginia Estes, born Aug. 1868; md.16 yrs. l child, Gussy Estes, born March 1885. Henry Estes given as born Oct. 1867. JANIE B. EDWARDS, 1861-1959, has a tombstone beside the Estes tombstone.
Supplement, Page 16
Additional burials in Riverside Cemetery in Jackson, Tennessee, according to the death certificates of the following persons (who do not have tombstones)
Infant Son of J. B. BOSTIC, Sept. 25, 1914-Oct. 9, 1914: Mother: J. B. Bostic
CARRIE PARKMAN, widow, Feb. 16, 1876-June 11, 1915
MARY BOYCE, Sept. 1834-Sept. 27, 1915. Parents: William and Kate Boyce
LOUIS LAMBUTH, Nov. 7, 1858-Nov. 7, 1915. born Aberdeen, Mississippi
J. B. BOSTIC, female, March 9, 1899-Dec. 22, 1915. Parents: William Bostic-Pearly Hurt
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