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Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Elmwood Cemetery (Memphis, Tennessee)

Elmwood Cemetery, Office, and Entrance Bridge

Historic Elmwood Cemetery is the oldest active cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee. It was established in 1852 as one of the first rural garden cemeteries in the South.
A funeral scene in Paramount's 1993 legal thriller The Firm was filmed here.
Elmwood Cemetery:
Elmwood Cemetery was established as part of the Rural Cemetery Movement of the early-to-mid-19th century. A classic example of a garden cemetery, it is notable for its park-like setting, sweeping vistas, shady knolls, large stands of ancient trees, and magnificent monuments.
Office and Information
On 28 August 1852, fifty prominent Memphis citizens each contributed $500 for stock certificates in order to purchase 40 acres (160,000 m2) of land for the cemetery; they envisioned that this land would be a park for the living as well as the dead, where family outings, picnics, and social gatherings could occur. It was meant to be a place where beautiful gardens were tended and individual monuments celebrated both life and death. The name for the place was chosen in a drawing: several proposed names were put into a hat and Elmwood was drawn by animators, with the stockholders stating they were "well pleased" with the selection. Ironically, they had to hurriedly order some elms trees from New York to place among the native oaks of Memphis, since there were no elms in the area. After the American Civil War, the property was expanded to 80 acres (320,000 m2) for another $40,000. In the 1870's, the original corporation controlling the cemetery was dissolved and it became one of the oldest nonprofits in Tennessee.
The first burial occurred on 15 July 1853, when Mrs. R.B. Berry was laid to rest. Since then, more than 75,000 people have been buried at Elmwood Cemetery, with space still remaining for about 15,000 more. The cemetery's gardens include the Carlisle S. Page Arboretum. Beneath the cemetery's ancient elms, oaks, and magnolias lie some of the city's most honored and revered dead; flowering dogwoods and crepe myrtles are interspersed with Memphis history, those famous and infamous, loved and feared. There are veterans of every American war, from the American Revolution up to the Vietnam War, and there are people from every walk of life and culture, including Mayors of Memphis, Governors of Tennessee, U.S. Senators, madams, blues singers, suffragists, martyrs, generals, civil rights leaders, holy men and women, outlaws and millionaires and ordinary citizens.
Civil War Burials
About 1,000 Confederate soldiers and veterans are buried in Confederate Soldiers Rest, located in the cemetery's Fowler Section. Many other Confederates are buried elsewhere in the cemetery. The first burial in Confederate Soldiers Rest was William (Thomas) Gallagher on June 17, 1861, and the last interment was John Frank Gunter on April 1, 1940. Among the Confederate generals buried there are James Patton Anderson, a former U.S. Congressman who commanded the Army of Tennessee in 1862, Colton Greene, and William Henry Carroll. Other burials include Isham G. Harris, Tennessee's Confederate-era governor, Thomas Battle Turley, CSA private and U.S. Senator from Tennessee, and William Graham Swan, a Confederate congressman and mayor of Knoxville.
Elmwood Cemetery
Union soldiers also were buried at Elmwood in the 1860's, but almost all were removed in 1868 and reinterred in Memphis National Cemetery. Two Union generals, William Jay Smith and Milton T. Williamson, remain at Elmwood.
Elmwood Cemetery
Also interred at Elmwood is renowned Civil War author Shelby Foote, famous for his comprehensive three volume, 3000-page history of the war The Civil War: A Narrative. He is buried beside the family plot of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest himself was also originally buried at Elmwood, but in 1904 the remains of Forrest and his wife Mary were disinterred and moved to a Memphis city park originally named Forrest Park in his honor, that has since been renamed Health Sciences Park.
Elmwood Cemetery
Yellow Fever Burials:
 There were several outbreaks of yellow fever in Memphis during the 1870's, the worst outbreak occurring in 1878, with over 5,000 fatalities in the city itself and 20,000 along the whole of the Mississippi River Valley. Some 2,500 of the Memphis victims are buried in four public lots at Elmwood; among them are doctors, ministers, nuns, and even prostitutes who died while tending to the sick.
Visiting Elmwood
Elmwood Cemetery is located at 824 South Dudley Street, 0.4 miles (0.64 km) south of Crump Boulevard. The cemetery grounds are open from 8:00am to 4:30pm CST, seven days a week, including holidays. The cemetery office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm CST, Saturday from 8:00am to 12:00pm CST, and is closed on Sundays and holidays.
Beyond the tombstones at the forefront of this photo, a Memphis couple is buried beneath the circular structure.

Elmwood Cemetery was founded in 1852 and is the oldest active cemetery in
Memphis. There are over 70,000 people presently interred in Elmwood. It is
the burial place of mayors of Memphis and South Memphis, Tennessee
governors, including Isham G. Harris who headed the state government when
the War between the States broke out in 1861, United States senators, War generals and many others historic figures and public officials.

Elmwood may best be known as the cemetery of Confederate soldiers,
especially the generals. There are seventeen of them. This includes Nathan Bedford Forrest who died in 1877 and was first interred at Elmwood but was moved
to Forrest Park in 1904. Also, there is one Union general, William J. Smith,
buried at Elmwood. Union soldiers had also been buried at Elmwood but were
moved to the National Cemetery in 1868.

Confederate Soldiers Rest is located in the Fowler section of the cemetery.
It is the final resting place for over 1000 Confederate soldiers and
This mausoleum is where Robert Church and his family are entombed. Church founded the Solvent Savings Bank and Trust Company and was reported to be the South's first African-American millionaire.

Snowden Family

This angel is keeping watch over the grave next to which she is situated.

Hall Family
Many others are buried throughout Elmwood as well.

Laukhuff Family

Per an article in the June 27, 1861, the Memphis Daily Appeal, page 1,
regarding the Southern Mothers' Society, Elmwood donated a lot for the
Confederate dead. Per an article under Local Matters in the September
25, 1861, the Memphis Daily Appeal, page 3:

"Elmwood Cemetery. This Company, at the commencement of the war, very
liberally donated and set apart a lot of ground for the purpose of burying,
free of charge, all soldiers who may die honorably in defense of our
liberties. We learn from Captain Lenow, the President of the Company, that
he has enlarged the ground by changing one of the drives, which is a great
improvement to it, and it is now ample for the purpose. In the center of
the lot is a circle of twelve feet in diameter, for the erection of a
monument, which our patriotic citizens will no doubt raise to the memory
of the brave soldiers who have fallen in defense of our country. The grounds
at Elmwood are continually receiving substantial improvements, and they are
beautified and adorned in so handsome a manner that it reflects credit upon
the taste and untiring industry of the President of the Company, who devotes
so much time and attention to it."

This monument was erected above the grave of E.H. Crump, former mayor and political boss of Memphis. 

The first burial in Confederate Soldiers Rest was William (Thomas) Gallagher
in Lot 159, Fowler Section, Grave 20 on June 17, 1861. This became Grave 20,
Division 1 of Confederate Soldiers Rest. The last burial was John Frank
Gunter on April 1, 1940. There is one female buried in Confederate Soldiers Rest,
Mary Boddie, who was an unmarried school teacher. Also, an eight year old,
Charles G. Alford, is buried with his father, J. L. Alford.

Per an article in the March 14, 1886, the Memphis Daily Appeal, page 2, the
Confederate Historical Association collected funds to improve the
Confederate lot at Elmwood. This included a substantial curbing , 7 x 9 inches and 710 feet long on a brick foundation around the lot, and 945 headstones placed at the head of the graves. Other improvement were contemplated, including a
walk five feet square with curbing and ornamental posts around the monument and
two brass guns at the entrance.

Elmwood is located in Memphis, Tennessee on Dudley Street south of E. H.
Crump Avenue. Additional information on Elmwood Cemetery you may be found
under Memphis Guide.
Opened in 1852, Elmwood is Memphis' oldest active cemetery. Its name was literally drawn from a hat and was originally situated on 40 acres. The present-day Elmwood occupies 80 acres in inner-city Memphis.
There is a wide assortment of people that call Elmwood "home." Generals, mayors, outlaws, and everyday folks are all buried here.
Find obituaries, death & cemetery records & view online now.
Some of these people have massive monuments in their honor, some rest beneath dilapidated tombstones that are sinking into the ground.
Without a doubt, Elmwood is one of the most fascinating places to visit in Memphis. With its breathtaking statuary and rich history, it is not to be missed. Enjoy this preview of the beauty you'll find at Elmwood.

Patterson Family

Some of Elmwood's residents were so prominent in life, that they were issued addresses in death, as you can see from this photo.

There is no way to tell how long this plot's occupant has been buried here, but it's safe to say that it has been quite a while.

Elmwood is full of mausoleums. In the photo you can see two of them, one of which is built into the grassy hill.
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