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.
OTHER KNOWN BLACK CEMETERIES
LOUIS CHAPEL CEMETERY
Located on the right side (east) of Hurt's Chapel Road five tenths of a mile no. of its juncture with Beech Bluff Road. Situated on a slope, close to the end of a field road, south of a pond and near a large hardwood tree.
Flowers used to mark this location but all signs of a burial ground have been obliterated and the site has been "in pasture" for many years. The CME Church organized here about 1870 was named for one off its early lay leaders, Louis Hurt (1800-1892), according to Mr. J. B. Hurt, one of the oldest members and lay leaders of the present Hurt's Chapel CME congregation. Later in the 19th century the church moved to the location of today's Hurt's Memorial Garden Cemetery about two tenths of a mile north of the old Louis Chapel site at which time some remains were exhumed and reburied at the new location. Among the remains not removed were members of the Hurt, Warlick and Smith families. Even as late as the early 1930s an infant daughter of John Edgar and Rose Ann Flournoy was buried in the old Louis Chapel cemetery. In 1958 the Hurt's CME congregation once again relocated, about a mile north on Hurt's Chapel Road but the cemetery was left intact and is a well-kept burial ground.
See Lewis Chapel C.M.E. Church Graveyard
Supplement, Page 15
Located north of Jackson, Tennessee, about 3 miles north of Christmasville Rd. and Interstate 40. Situated on the southwest bank about 250 feet south of Mr. James Cumming's residence on the Ashport Road, about .1 mile west of the juncture of this road with Christmasville Road. No tombstones were located at this densely overgrown site but Mr. Cummings, who has rented out this part of his property, recalled two ANDERSON tombstones in this cemetery as well as other unmarked graves. He recalled the last burial here was in 1947. Mrs. Veola Jones recalled members of a Brown family being buried here.
See Askew Cemetery
Supplement, Page 16
OLD CARMEL C.M.E. CHURCH CEMETERY
Located in north Madison County about 1.3 miles from U.S. Highway 70-E, via Key Senter and George Anderson Roads. Situated on the west side of George Anderson Road to the left (facing from road) of the present church building, two graves near the road but no longer discernible. Old Carmel C.M.E. Church disbanded at least three decades ago, whereupon whites later acquired the church site, established their interfaith Community Church and cemetery here. Mrs. Delia Rollins confirmed that the two black persons buried here are Mr. Tom Rollins, her father-in-law, who died about 1919 and his son, Damon Rollins, who died in the early 1930s. Old Carmel and New Carmel C.M.E. congregations existed at the same time for many years.
Note: About 1.3 miles north of the old Carmel Church site, on George Anderson Road, off this road to the south .8 mile, at the end of a field road is the white burial ground known as the Hilliard Cemetery. Mrs. Mary Cox confirmed that a black middle-aged man, who worked for the Cox family, Mr. Dee Black, died about 1933 and was buried in this cemetery. His grave has no marker. About one mile from the junction of Key Senter and George Anderson Roads, off the south side of the former road, is located the burial ground of Madison County Poor House, abandoned many years ago. Black and white buried here. No graves appear to have been marked and their location is virtually lost. There is a white burial ground, the Cock-Goodrich Cemetery, located near by.
Supplement, Pages 19-20
OLD HICKS PLACE CEMETERY
There was once a small cemetery located on the east side of North Highland Avenue between the present G. E. Moore residential lot (on the north) and a branch of Volunteer Bank (on the south). This business lot was partially occupied for many years by a small frame house, that of a black family whose surname was Hill. In the summer of 1995 this lot was graded and foundations laid for the new Auto Zone building. Persons preparing this lot said that no bodily remains were unearthed during this excavation process.
In a July 5,1995 interview with Mr. James L. Doak (born 1910), a lifelong Madison Countian, Jonathan Smith learned from him that he had a personal remembrance of graves at this location, pointed out to him "on the spot" when he was a youngster by his grandfather, Wiley Burton Langford (1845-1931) who owned the farmland on the opposite side of North Highland, to have been the resting place of black persons. He had no recollection of any tombstones here. He recalled that the "graveyard" was once located on the Hicks family land.
In December 1866 George Hicks deeded 202 acres, as a gift to his son, Kenneth G. Hicks (Deed Book 24, page 449); in July 1886 Erasmus Hicks confirmed this tract to the younger Hicks for notes he had held on this particular place, noting in this transaction adjoining landowners, Wiley Langford and J. W. Hicks (Deed Book 43, page 277); in January 1887 K. G. Hicks acquired a 21 acre tract on his south boundary line, on the Trenton Road (now Highland Avenue) (Deed Book 49,page 17). The 1877 D. G. Beers "Map of Madison County and Jackson, Tennessee" notes the presence in this vicinity of the K. G. Hicks place on the east side of what was for generations called the Jackson-Trenton Road, later a lap of Highway 45 (North Highland Avenue within the city of Jackson). Kenneth Garrett Hicks (1833-1903) was listed as Kinney G. Hicks in some public records, including deeds.
In a July 11,1995 interview with Mrs. Veola (Godwin) Jones (b.1914), a lifelong Madison Countian, Jonathan Smith learned from her that her mother, a long-lived Matilda (Anderson) Godwin, had spoken to her of a black cemetery on the east side of North Highland, close to this roadway's juncture with Wiley Parker Road, which coincides closely with Mr. Doak's statement. She knew from conversation with Mrs. Emma Lacey, aged about 94 years, a friend of Mrs. Iola (Floyd) Brooks (b.1900),a daughter of Mr. Rollins Floyd that this man and his wife, Leanna (Anderson) Floyd had relatives buried in this cemetery and that Mr. Floyd had their remains exhumed at this location and reinterred in the Anderson Cemetery near Carroll in Madison County.
Another person is known to have been buried in the "Kenny Hicks Place" cemetery on old rural route seven, a fact of burial noted in the death certificate of a "colored" man, John Boyd (born 1891), who died of lobar pneumonia, March 26,1914,a son of Allen Boyd and his wife, Martha (Shelton) Boyd. He was buried by the L. G. Murray Funeral Home, predecessor of the present-day Bledsoe Funeral Home. (Madison Co. Death Certificate #154.Year 1914)
Presumably all the remains of persons buried in this old Hicks cemetery, likely all relatives, were exhumed and reburied in the Anderson Cemetery.
Supplement, Page 21
Located 1.3 miles west of Highway 45, Pinson, Tennessee; situated on north side of Bear Creek Road. Mrs. Alene Woodson (age 80) stated that tradition had it a slave burial ground, with no markers, was located just east of the white section of this cemetery but that it had been covered by a residence.
Supplement, page 20
In this cemetery publication supplement, page 15, is noted the Brown Cemetery. Records and recollections indicate it was known generally as the Askew Cemetery. Located north of Jackson, Tennessee, about 3 miles north of Christmasville Road and Interstate 40.Situated on the southwest bank about 250 feet south of Mr. James Cumming's residence on the Ashport Road, about .1 mile west of the juncture of this road with Christmasville Road. Mr.Cummings recalled the name Anderson on two tombstones in this cemetery but when Jonathan Smith visited the location early in 1995 he found no evidence of them. Mrs. Veola (Godwin) Jones (b.1914), who grew up in this community, recalled the burial there of "Red" Anderson, Felix Ivory Anderson, Georgia Anderson, Zach Brown, Ed Polk, Lizzie Polk, Delia Brown and Lonnie Donnell. She said that it was likely F. I. Anderson whose burial here about 1947 was probably the last made in this cemetery.
Death Certificates indicate the burial here:
Unnamed Infant Son of Lonnie Donnell and wife, Delia Brown, born Dec. 31, 1913 and died Jan.11, 1914. Buried in the Askew Cemetery.
Stillborn Daughter of Ed Polk and wife, Lizzie Polk, January 30, 1915. Buried in the Askew Cemetery.
Supplement, Pages 23-24
"POOR HOUSE" CEMETERY
Near Spring Creek, Tennessee and about one mile from the junction of Key Senter and George Anderson Roads, off the south side of the former road, is located the burial ground of the former Madison County "Poor House" abandoned many years ago. It was the misfortune of many persons, black and white, when they were very young or aged, mentally limited or reduced in financial circumstances to a point of dependency, to be housed in a county operated "poor house." The old black burial ground at this location is virtually lost being "over in the woods" several hundred feet from Key Senter Road. Indigents in Jackson were generally buried in the "potter's field" of the city cemeteries.
Death certificates of Madison County residents reveal buried at the old "Poor House" Cemetery:
PLEAS DRAKE, died Feb. 10, 1924, aged about 80 years
BEN LANCASTER, 1853-March 4,1924
ALEX HORTON, 1848-Septernber 8,1924
Infant Son of Elie THOMAS and Maudie Johnston Thomas, Jan. 28, 1924-Feb.5, 1924
Infant Daughter of Julia PERKINS, July 30,1913-Jan. 21, 1914
BERTIE BOND, Jan. 4, 1890-Jan. 1, 1914. Parents:Dave Bond-A. Elliott Bond
Male Black, aged about 30 years, name unknown; murdered July 29, 1914
ANNA BELL JONES, died Dec. 7, 1914, aged about 25 years. Parents: John and Isibel Post
JULIA HURT, 1880-Nov. 5, 1915, single. Parents: Wilson Hurt-Tunnie Smith Hurt
FRANK AGAN, 1896-August 23,1916
Stillborn Infant Son of Mary MAHON, October 25, 1916
JOHN WARE, died October 18, 1918, aged about 65 years
FANNIE RAINS, died November 19, 1920, aged about 65 years
Infant of Louise ROSS, died February 4, 1919, aged 4 hours
SENDIA HERRON, died Sept. 17, 1921, aged about 80 years
Stillborn Son of Everett COLLIER and Lou Alice BANKS Collier, Jan. 25, 1923
Stillborn Daughter of Will and Albert McNULTY, December 2, 1916
Supplement, Page 24
UTLEY PLACE GRAVE
In 1921 there were two known places in old Civil District 12 that could have been the location mentioned in a death certificate referred to as "the Utley Place." On Medina Road, about .2 mile west of Spring Creek (village) was the residence of Horace and Minnie Utley; on the same side of this road, south, at .8 mile is this community's old cemetery long called the Utley Cemetery, evidently for the reason that several members of the family of that surname are buried here. Likely the child named below was buried in the Utley Cemetery.
SADIE BOND, stillborn May 6, 1921 to Walter Bond and Sadie Burton Bond (Death certificate information)
Supplement, Page 25
Located 1.8 miles north from Interstate 40, via Law Road and Tennessee Highway 152. Situated .1 mile west of Tennessee Highway 152 on the Parnell Landers place. Whites, Asa H. Gaston (1819-1881) and D. H. Grant and families buried here. Beyond the old fenced-in burial area of these families, to the east and slightly to the northeast appear evidences of several graves. Death certificates indicate burial here of:
ROBERTA WOODS, 1922-Feb.2, 1922. Parents: Bert Woods-Ida Christofer
RODA WOODS, July 30, 1916-Aug. 6, 1916. Parents : B. F. Woods-Ida Christofer
Supplement, Page 25
Located on the north side of Highway 412-E, just west of Claybrook. Beyond the graves of the Keys and their kindred are buried (according to their death certificates):
JULIA B. BLAIR, April 9, 1916-Aug. 14, 1919. Parents: John Blair-Bessie Estus
NED BLAIR, died Nov. 28, 1921, aged about 64 years. Parents:Lawrence and Dina Blair
The 1910 U.S. Census for Civil District 12, Madison Co., reveals in residence there the Ned Blair family, living near the white Key families.
Supplement, Page 26
Located 21/2 miles north of Interstate 40 via Law Road and Lakewood Drive East. Situated 1.7 miles west from the junction of Law Road and Lakewood Drive East, on the south side of the latter road. A large cedar tree marks the location of this burial ground which is just off the road. Whatever tombstones may have been at this location have disappeared. Mr. James A. Boone, age 86 (1996), stated that his grandfather, Allie Rogers, is buried here.
Supplement, Page 27
Located presently to the southwest of the Jackson, Tennessee city limits, about a mile and a half from U.S. Highway 70 via Westover Road and Boon Lane. Situated about 175 feet from a bluff, on the east side of Boon Lane about 1.1 mile from this road's juncture with Westover Road.
This burial place has been utilized by Matthias Boon (1786-1835) and his descendants, a white family. Anne Bright, Associate Professor of Psychology at Jackson State Community College, in an interview with Jonathan Smith, October 9, 1995 told him that her research and contact with one of the older members of the Boon family revealed that several Boon slaves were buried adjacent the white burial area, apparently just to the east as there appear to be some sunken places that could be old-time graves.
Supplement, Page 27
Located on the W. B. Donnell farm near Spring Creek; about a mile northeast of the Wadford Donnell residence on Highway 70-East.
Unmarked slave graves located on south side of this cemetery
Supplement, Page 28
ROSE HILL CEMETERY
Located just east of Jackson in the East Union community. At a point 4.5 miles from the southeast corner of the public square in Jackson, by way of East Chester Street and Beech Bluff Road, turn south from the latter road onto an access road that leads .1 mile to this burial ground. It was the cemetery for the Deberry-Hurt families on the Rose Hill plantation. According to Mrs. Betty Young Hopper, as she told Mr. Robert D. Taylor, Jr., August 6, 1996, it was traditional in her family that black family servants were buried on the south side of this burial ground; that the fieldhands were probably buried elsewhere on the plantation. There are no grave markers for the blacks buried at this location. Mrs. Hopper is a descendant of Mathias Deberry (1788-1839) who first developed Rose Hill plantation.
Supplement, Page 29
The precise location of this cemetery is unknown. It appears to have been located in pre-1917 Civil District 16 in the north-central section of Madison County. Death certificate data:
JOHN WHITLEY,1841-Jan. 5, 1922
JOHN LEE, 1881-November 17, 1916
HENRY SIMPSON, died Feb. 9, 1919, aged about 56 years
F .T. TOMLIN, male, died Aug. 13, 1919-Aug. 6, 1919 (apparent jumbled dates)
RENA SMALL, Dec.30, 1840-Dec.30, 1920. Father, John Blair
KATE BUTLER, July 17, 1878-Jan. 26, 1924; married
Supplement, Page 29
The precise location of this cemetery is unknown. One death certificate indicates that this cemetery was located about 2 miles north of Jackson, Tennessee. Death certificate data:
MARY JANE GILL, 1828-April 25, 1917
EVALINE LACEY,1870-Aug. 5, 1914. Parents: Jim Smith-Margaret Dean
ROBERT ANDERSON, June 23, 1916-July 13, 1916. Mother,Virgie Anderson
IVELLA L. SMITH, Aug.1922-Oct. 28, 1922. Parents: Will Smith-Maggie Lacey
Supplement, Page 29
The precise location of this cemetery is unknown. It appears to have been located in pre-1917 Civil District 10. Death certificate data:
BOB STOVALL, April 1893-June 28, 1923. Parents: Sam and Mary Stovall
URA SCOTT, died April 21, 1917, aged about 24 years. Parents: Sam Kenny- Ella Brown
ANNIE LIZZIE SMITH, April 3, 1917-May 30, 1917. Parents: Allen Glenn-Jane Campbell
ISHMAEL SCOTT, Nov.6,1916-May 3,1917
Supplement, Page 30
Located about 2.5 miles north of Medon, Tennessee; situated on east side of Riverside Drive Extended about 600 feet, by lane, from this road.
Several burials here. Mr. John L. Rochelle, born 1921, stated that it was common knowledge that a young nephew of Mr. Everett Lacy who died of smallpox was buried here. All signs of graves obliterated by nature and passing of years. Formerly part of the farm of early settler, Jessie Currie.
Supplement, Page 35
Mr. Kenneth Anderson (born 1934), a life-long resident of the area, recalls having "played around" and having seen many times the tombstone located in Medon on the slope of the right side (looking at it from the front) of a brick residence on the west corner where Riverside Drive Extended and Highway 18 join; that of Peter J. Swink, a white man, the tombstone for whom has been moved considerably in recent years to the west. It reads: PETER J. SWINK, Born in Solesbury N.C. May 11, 1796. Died in Madison co.,Tenn. Oct. 7, 1851. Aged 55 ys 7 mos 26 ds. Mr. Anderson learned years ago from older residents of the area that the Swink family's slave burial ground is located behind the brick house, to the west, mentioned above, although there are no tombstones or grave markers at this location now.
Supplement, Page 35
At a point south .4 mile east of junction of Beech Bluff Road and Luray Road turn on to dirt field road and go 1.2 mile south to this cemetery. It was an area burial yard for several white families. A few black individuals were buried here also.
Stillborn child of JOHN WOOD, December 14,1915
SYLVESTER MANNING, died Oct. 2, 1915, aged 2 years, 6 mos.; son of Lum Manning and Eula McCallum
Supplement, Page 36
Situated about .2 mile southeast of the Richard Bailey residence at the "dead end" of Stanfill Road, .5 mile south of the juncture of this road and Waynick Road in northeast Madison County.
This cemetery is located on the land in antebellum times known as the JOHN and NANCY MAY plantation. When Benjamin A. Hayes, executor of Nancy May's will, sold this place to John and William Blackmon, November 1868, he reserved in the acreage 1/2 acre for "colored" persons' burial ground. (Madison Co. Deed Book 29, page 499) When the Blackmons sold some of this real estate, including the black and white cemeteries on the old May homeplace, to M. H. Goodrich, Jan.1874, they reserved the 1/2 acre for the "colored" persons' burial ground.(Madison Co. Deed Book 41, page 300) Since then the property has descended from Goodrich to the Waynicks, Blankenships, Stanfills Norwoods and now the Baileys.
The burial area is covered in the yucca plant. There are no tombstones in this cemetery; there are numerous sunken places suggesting graves. Except for a few piles of earth being raised in the area the cemetery has seemingly suffered no abuse in recent years.
Supplement, Page 36
TALBOT PLANTATION SLAVE CEMETERY, JACKSON
In a memoir published in THE JACKSON SUN, December 27, 1944, Dr. Herman Hawkins an elderly citizen of Jackson wrote of the James L. Talbot homeplace, Beuna Vista, from the portico of the mansion "down the long avenue to the entrance of Talbot Avenue, his eyes rested, just on his left and about the corner now of Cedar Street and King Street on the 'sacred burial grounds of the family' with its marble grave stones almost hidden by the honeysuckle vines which surround it. Its walks were bordered by a profusion of roses and lillies while graceful seats for those who wished to linger a while were placed conveniently. It was separated on the west from the extensive garden by a box hedge and west of the garden and farther north was a circle of cedars 400 feet in diameter forming the burial ground of the slaves used on the place. This box hedge on a broad curve bordered the extended carriage drive to the carriage house and stables. The same kind of hedge divided the cabins and their yards from the rest of the premises to the back." Jack D. Wood of Jackson who researched the historic Talbot property states that by a "rough guess" the location of the Talbot slave graveyard was south of Arlington between Prospects and Campbell streets. When this area was developed around the turn of the century for residences there is no record that the slave remains were removed, hence these are probably covered by house sites.
The St. Luke Episcopal Church, Jackson, register, 1855-1903,1ists the following burials on James L. Talbot's homeplace:
FLORENCE child of Fanny, J. L. Talbot's servant, died July 2, 1860
CHARLES servant of J. L. Talbot, died November 22, 1861
TEMPERANCE servant of J. L. Talbot, died July 5, 1862
Supplement, Page 37
SLAVE GRAVEYARD, ADAM HUNTSMAN PLACE
Located in a now-forgotten place, on the east side of Jones Creek, somewhat southeast of the two-story brick residence on the old Adam Huntsman farm about .8 mile east of the driveway of Old Salem Cemetery.
Mr. Andrew Longstreet, a black man, born in 1926, resident at 502 Hurts Chapel Road, told Jonathan Smith, June 15, 1998, that as a youth this burial ground was mentioned to him with its general location given him. The names of any persons buried in this long-ago burial ground are unknown.
Mr. Leaman Phillips, a white man, born in 1920 and almost life-long resident of the area, who lived on Leiper Lane, told Jonathan Smith that he had always been told, by his elders, that a slave burial ground was located on the Huntsman farm.
Supplement, Page 37
LEWIS CHAPEL C.M.E.CHURCH GRAVEYARD
About 1870 Robert B. Hurt made a deed to the trustees of the black congregation at this location, named for Lewis/Louis Hurt (1800-1892), for a church and burial site. This site is "lost" as it is now pasture because about 1890 the church was relocated to the present site of Hurts Chapel Cemetery. In about 1958 land was purchased further north on Hurts Chapel Road where a brick church was built for this congregation but the Hurts Chapel Cemetery remains a well-kept, presently-used burial ground. Mr. J. B. Hurt, a black man, born in 1927, a life-long resident of this area, told Jonathan Smith, June 15,1998, that he remembered that a child of Edgar Flournoy was buried in the old Lewis Chapel graveyard about 1933. He also remarked that the remains of Jeff Atwater were moved from Lewis Chapel to Hurts Chapel in 1890.
Supplement, Page 37
PERSON SLAVE GRAVEYARD
The Person family was a well-to-do and respected family living along Cotton Grove Road a short distance east of the Cotton Grove Road and Leiper Lane juncture. Mr. J. B. Hurt, a black man, born in 1927, a life-long resident of this area, told Jonathan Smith, June 15,1998 that in the woods just north of Hurts Chapel Cemetery there is a now-lost Person slave graveyard.
Supplement, Page 37
NAME UNKNOWN SLAVE GRAVEYARD
This graveyard is located just north of the entrance of Lowell Thomas Road into Hurts Chapel Road. Mr. J. B. Hurt, a black man, born in 1927, a lifelong resident of this area, told Jonathan Smith, June 15,1998 that in a pasture or field this old graveyard is located, its precise location now being lost as no tombstones are at the site. He could not recall having heard the names of any persons buried in this graveyard.
Supplement, Page 39
OLD PLEASANT PLAINS CEMETERY
Located along Deloach Creek about .3 mile north of McClellan Road from a point about .2 mile west of this road's juncture with Pleasant Plains Road north of Jackson, Tennessee.
This cemetery, noted on the 1938 General Highway Map of Madison County, has "returned to nature," having completely been obliterated with no tombstones to be found. It is likely that this cemetery began as a slave graveyard on the Hicks farm and later served members of the black Pleasant Plains congregation; the white congregation of this name, a Baptist church, rests on the east side of Deloach Creek directly northeast of the black cemetery on the west side of this creek.
The black Pleasant Plains cemetery was later established on the old Humboldt highway. Mrs. Eunice White Pafford, born in 1912, knew of this cemetery adjoining her own property on which she had lived most of her life and told Jonathan Smith, January 18, 1999, that she recalled the nicknames of two black men, laborers, who had worked on neighborhood farms and when they died were buried in this cemetery, the men called "Pinchback" and "Thing." Burials have not been made in this cemetery for some eighty years.
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