Dead Men, And Women, Do Tell Tales - Mt. Olivet Cemetery


While Debbie was at a baby shower in Donelson today I had some time to kill. I decided to walk through Mt. Olivet cemetery. One of my favorite tombstones in the cemetery is Jesus holding the deceased children of Leslie and Katherine Burch Warner. I like the line on the bottom of the tombstone that reads, (THE GARDENER ASKED, WHO PLUCKED THESE FLOWERS? THE ANSWER WAS "THE MASTER" AND THE GARDENER HELD HIS PEACE.)

Suffragist Katherine Burch Warner was born in Chattanooga in 1851, raised in Nashville, and educated at Vassar. The well-traveled Kate learned about politics through her father, John C. Burch, who fought under Nathan Bedford Forrest. He was editor and publisher of the Nashville American and secretary of the U.S. Senate. She married Nashvillian Leslie Warner in 1880; the couple had three children, but all had died by 1886. Her husband's weakening health led to early retirement, and the couple devoted themselves to travel until his death in 1909. After fighting successfully for the passage of the 19th Amendment, that was passed by Tennessee in 1920, giving women the right to vote, she would die in 1923..

Katherine Burch Warner

· I have always considered Mt. Olivet Cemetery to be kind of spooky. This exposed coffin in the Carson Mausoleum adds to the atmosphere. Since it was padlocked I suspect there has been some vandalism.

J.T. Carson Mausoleum


Any Nashvillian will recognize the legacy of the McGavock family. McGavock High School and McGavock Pike for example. Randall William McGavock was a 4th generation American of Irish descent. The McGavocks were some of the earliest settlers in Nashville and would own much of Davidson County.. Born in 1826 Randal would be reading the Bible by the age of 7 and by the age of 10 he was reading Shakespeare. In 1843 he enrolled at the University of Nashville where he was studying Greek, Latin, Geography and Mathematics. Randal would receive a law degree at Harvard and eventually spend 17 months touring Europe. He would practice law in Nashville and eventually be elected Mayor. Serving from 1858 until 1859 just like his Uncle Randall who served from 1824 until 1825. In 1855 he married Seraphine Deery. With the outbreak of the civil war he would end up commanding an Irish regiment. However they would be captured at Ft Donelson and serve many months in a Northern prison camp. Eventually he and his men would be released. While leading a charge at the battle of Raymond Mississippi on May 12, 1863, during the Vicksburg campaign, he was shot through the heart by a Yankee minie ball. His body was buried in 2 different places but his final burial would take place at Mt. Olivet in 1866.
McGavock Mausoleum

FRANCES FURMAN - B- 1816 D - 1899

Frances Furman was a wealthy Nashville dry goods owner that owned businesses in Nashville during the 1800's. Furman Hall at Vanderbilt is named after him. There is also a statue of him there. As a prank a student once stole the pocket watch on the statue. Furman has the largest tomb in Mt. Olivet. The tomb was designed by Danish-born sculptor Johannes Gelert (1852-1923. Having visited the Acropolis in Athens I recognized that the tomb was designed after the Erechtheum or Porch of the Maidens

The Erechtheum or Porch of the Maidens

Statue of Frances Furman at Vanderbilt

Furman Hall At Vanderbilt

Mary was born in Kentucky in 1838. About 1850 her parents moved out on the Nolensville Pike close to the Rutherford County line. She would eventually claim Lavergne as her home. During the Civil War one of her brothers served with the Coleman Scouts. The same outfit that Sam Davis and Dewitt Jobe Smith served in. Mary would become a Confederate spy. She smuggled drugs like Quinine and Morphine out of Nashville to Confederate forces. Mary wore riding habits that were roomy enough to smuggle large amounts. On one trip she hid about 600.00 dollars worth of drugs in her clothes which was a lot of money in those days. She also had a wagon with a false bottom that she smuggled cavalry blankets, boots, bridles, spurs, and other bulky supplies to the Confederates. She could also ride the distance from LaVergne to Nashville on a horse. She was great at winning over the Yankee commanders by her feminine charm. She operated in conjunction with her female cousin Robbie Woodruff. Mary would become the sister-in-law of Sam Davis when she married his half brother John. During her courtship of John she became very close to Sam. At the time of Sam's death he was becoming very serious with Mary's cousin Robbie Woodruff. On one occasion Mary helped in the capture of a Yankee spy who tried to pass himself off repeatedly as a cattle dealer. Mary gave Sam Davis several personal items that he would be captured with by the Yankees in Pulaski. They were "wash balls” of soap, a tooth brush, Louisville and Cincinnati newspapers, and a diary. She would also buy the expensive 21.00 dollar boots that Sam was wearing when he was captured. Sam was carrying a dispatch in his boot and the Yankees cut it open to remove the dispatch. Mary managed to acquire the boots after Sam's death and years later donated it to the Tennessee State museum. That boot was on display when I was a child and it is still there. Mary was given permission to travel to Pulaski in order to identify Sam's body after he was hung. She lived to a ripe old age in Lavergne and was well known to the community. Mary was the first female ever allowed to be buried in the Confederate Circle at Mt. Olivet.

Mary's home in Lavergne

Sam Davis canteen and boot

CORNELIA FORT - B- 1919 D-1943

  Another locally famous person buried in Mt. Olivet cemetery is Cornelia Fort. Cornelia Fort airport in East Nashville is named after her. She was the daughter of a wealthy doctor who didn't approve of his daughter becoming an aviator. She was born in 1919 and died in 1943. The airport is on the land that once belonged to the Fort family. She became a civilian flight instructor in Hawaii that is depicted in the movie Tora, Tora, Tora, evading Japanese planes flying in to attack Pearl Harbor. In the movie she is portrayed as an elderly woman but in reality was only about 22 yrs old. In real life she nearly collided with a Japanese plane. After landing she was nearly strafed trying to run for cover. Cornelia joined the Wasp's in 1942. The WASPS flew for the Army Air Force transporting military aircraft straight to military bases in the U.S. and overseas from the factories as they came off of the assembly line. They also towed targets to help train male pilots for combat. It was dangerous work. Fort was the first of 38 WASPS killed in the line of duty in 1943. She collided with a male pilot and was not able to bail out in time. WASPS were not considered part of the military and their families were responsible for paying for their burial. 

ADELICIA ACKLEN - B -1817 D - 1887

Adelicia Hayes Acklen was in many ways a real life Scarlet Ohara. She was born in 1817 and died in 1887 and is buried, with two of her three husbands, in a Mt. Olivet Cemetery crypt in Nashville. She didn't like her third husband very much. Her first husband, Isaac Franklin, was 50 years old and Adelicia was 22 when they married in 1839. Isaac made her a wealthy woman upon his death in 1846. He was said to be the most successful slave trader in American history which is nothing to be proud of. Even slave owners looked down on slave traders. It is kind of like the modern way that we look at drug dealers as opposed to drug users. She inherited two large plantations in Louisiana and 600 slaves. This was a huge amount of slaves and a large economic investment for the time when the average slave holder owned no more than 5 slaves. She also inherited the famous Fairview Mansion in Gallatin Tn.

  In 1849 she married Joseph Acklen. They had six children together but their twins died of scarlet fever. Together they built the Belmont Mansion which in French means beautiful mountain. The mansion had 36 rooms and was 19,000 square feet. It was their summer home to escape the unhealthy Louisiana mosquito's and heat. The mansion had a bowling alley, art gallery, gardens, conservatories, a lake, and a zoo, that was open to the public. Joseph Acklen was a local lawyer that made her even richer. By the time of his death in 1863 they owned seven plantations in Louisiana and over 1000 slaves. By comparison Thomas Jefferson only owned about 300 and he inherited most of those from his wife Martha Randolph Jefferson when her father died. It is said that she was the richest woman in the South.

  With her husbands death she had no way of selling the 2800 bales of cotton harvested in Louisiana that year. She embarked on a dangerous trip down the Mississippi River bribing both Union and Confederate's in order to pass through their lines. In the end she was able to bribe a Union gunboat captain to carry her cotton to a waiting ship which transported it to Liverpool England. There it sold for 960,000 dollars and was deposited in an English bank where it could not be confiscated by the Union Army. This was a huge amount of money in 1863. She was one of the few wealthy Southerners that was able to preserve their wealth after the war was over. During the war she was able to preserve Belmont Mansion from destruction by the Union Army because of family connections in New England. It was Union Gen. Wood's Headquarters during the Battle of Nashville. Union battle lines ran through her property and as many as 3,000 troops occupied her land but the mansion itself was not damaged. The first picture of course is Adelicia about 1846. The second is the mansion, which is the centerpiece of Belmont University. The third is Adelicia's favorite statue that stood in the mansion during her lifetime and is now standing in her crypt at Mt. Olivet.
Belmont During The Civil War


The angel statue in Adelicia's mansion in the 1800's. She was so fond of it that it was placed in her tomb.


  Thomas Benton Smith was born on February 24th 1838 and died May 21st 1923 and is buried in Confederate Circle in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. He attended West Point but dropped out. After Ft. Sumpter he joined the Confederate Army and fought at Mill Springs Kentucky, Shiloh, Baton Rouge, and was wounded severely at Stones River. He was not able to return to service until just before the battle of Chickamauga where he was severely wounded again. He returned in time for the Atlanta campaign in 1864 and was promoted to Brigadier General on July 29th, 1864. He was appointed to command of an infantry brigade. On the second day at the battle of Nashville on December 16th, 1864 he surrendered after a heroic defense of Shy's Hill. Union Colonel William McMillen began to berate Smith and started hitting him over the head with Smith's own sword exposing his brain. McMillen was angry because his unit had suffered high casualties trying to take Smith's position. Smith was not expected to live but somehow survived. He was sent to prison in Ohio and later to Massachusetts and was not released until July 24th, 1865. He recovered enough to work on the railroad and he ran for Congress but he spent the last 47 years of his life in an insane asylum.


  Confederate Major General William B. Bate was born in Castalian Springs, Sumner County Tennessee on October 7, 1826. He left home at the age of 15 and would fight in the Mexican War. Bate joined the Confederate Army and fought in numerous battles and skirmishes and suffered two serious wounds. His first major battle was 1st Bull Run. At Shiloh he had a horse shot out from under him and he was shot in the leg. When the surgeon told him that his leg would have to be amputated in order to save his life he pulled his pistol and threatened to kill the surgeon. He kept his leg but he would have a limp for the rest of his life. He fought at Hoovers Gap, Chickamauga, where he had three horses shot out from under him, Missionary Ridge, Resaca, New Hope Church, Kennesaw Mountain, Peachtree Creek, and the main battle of Atlanta. He was shot in the knee near Atlanta and after his recovery he fought at the Battle of Franklin where he lost 20% of his Division and had another horse shot out from under him. Bate commanded a Corps at the Battle of Nashville two weeks later. His last major battle was at Bentonville North Carolina where he surrendered with the Army of Tennessee to Sherman on April 26, 1865 at Durham North Carolina. After the war he practiced law in Nashville. He would eventually be elected Governor of Tennessee and would serve from 1883 until 1887. Bate would be a United States Senator from 1887 until his death on March 9, 1905. He is buried in Nashville's Mount Olivet Cemetery.

FANNIE BATTLE - B- 1842  D -1924

  For years growing up in Nashville I passed the Fannie Battle Day Home at the top of the hill on Shelby Avenue and I never thought much about it. I did think that Fannie Battle was a funny name for a daycare center until one day I was reading about the occupation of Nashville by Union forces in the Civil War and I read about a 19 year old Confederate spy named Fannie Battle. Mary Francis Battle or "Fannie" as she was called was born in the Cane Ridge community near Lavergne in 1842. Her father Joel Allen Battle was a Confederate Captain that commanded the 20th Tennessee Infantry. The unit was made up primarily of men from the Nashville area. Her father was seriously wounded and captured at Shiloh. He was sent to the Union prison camp at Johnson's Island. Two brothers were killed at Shiloh and another brother fought at Stones River and would be wounded late in the war. 

  Nashville fell to Union Forces on February 25, 1862 and was occupied until the end of the war. Military Governor Andrew Johnson dealt harshly with anyone in Nashville that he considered disloyal. Fannie was an attractive 18 year old when she became a Confederate spy in 1862 smuggling medicine and letters out of Nashville to Confederate Forces. On April 7, 1863 she, along with her future sister-in-law Harriet Booker, were arrested and sent to Camp Chase in Columbus Ohio. She would later be released in 1864. From 1870 until 1886 she taught at various local schools including Howard High School. In 1881 the Cumberland River flooded and she became concerned about the plight of poor people affected by the disaster. She helped organize United Charities and also became concerned about the plight of children left to their own devices by poor working families. Fannie rented a room and began taking care of many of these children until in 1891 she opened the first Fannie Battle Day Home which is the second oldest daycare center in the country. In 1916 the yearly tradition of Christmas caroling was begun by the center. The center is still taking care of poor inner city children in the tradition of Fannie Battle. She died in 1924 and is another of the famous local and national people buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Nashville.
Fannie Battle

CAPTAIN TOM RYMAN - B- 1841 D - 1904

Tom Ryman was born in South Nashville on October 12, 1841. He was the son of Captain John Ryman. Tom's father owned a fleet of fishing boats on the Cumberland. At the age of ten he moved Tom and the rest of the family to Chattanooga. The family moved back to Nashville when Tom was twenty and his father died four years later. Tom was forced to support his mother, brothers and sisters. He was the oldest of 6 children. Tom took over his father's business and established fish camps along the Cumberland. Fish were very plentiful back then and the fish were processed and sold in the Nashville fish markets. At 26 Tom was able to buy his first steamboat in New Orleans. His Uncle piloted the boat back to Nashville and he soon built a fleet of 35 steamboats by 1885. He carried freight and passengers to Paducah Kentucky and Cairo Illinois making a fortune.

  Ryman built a mansion at 514 Market St., which is now 2nd Ave. South. Evangelists would come to Nashville and set up tent revivals. Sam Porter Jones, from Cartersville Georgia, came to Nashville to hold a tent revival. On May 10, 1885 Ryman, his wife and six children, were able to get inside seats in a tent that held over 7,000 with people standing outside. Tom was saved that night and decided that he wanted to build a building big enough for Sam to hold his meetings in. Ryman got rid of all the bars on his steamboats and built the Ryman Tabernacle. On December 23, 1904 Tom Ryman died and his funeral was held before an overflowing crowd at the Ryman Tabernacle. Sam Jones preached his funeral and during the service he suggested that from that day forward the building would be forever known as the Ryman Auditorium.

Ryman House

Ryman Auditorium

Ryman and Sam Porter Jones

Tom Ryman

 Major Eugene Castner Lewis was born in Clarksville Tennessee in 1845 and he died in 1917. He became an industrial engineer for the Nashville, Chattanooga, & St. Louis Railroad. In 1895 he was tasked to design a worlds fair in what is now Centennial Park in Nashville, which at the time was a horse racing track. The fair would celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the state of Tennessee in 1896 but was unable to open until 1897. It was one of the most successful worlds fair of all time in that it made a profit rather than a loss. It was visited by thousands of people including President William Mckinley. West Tennessee was represented by a giant pyramid because Memphis was named after the ancient Egytian city by the same name. Nashville was nicknamed the Athens of the South and a giant plaster of Paris replica of the Parthenon was built. It was so popular with Nashvillian's it was the only building that wasn't torn down after the fair. The permanent building that exists now was started in 1920 and finished in 1931.

The Parthenon - Tennessee Centennial

Shelby Park

Shelby Park

Shelby Park

THOMAS LEE WOOLWINE - B - 1874  D - 1925

 It never ceases to amaze me how many famous people are buried here locally in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Most of these people I recognize when I come across their name as being buried in a certain cemetery or graveyard but Thomas Lee Woolwine is a fascinating figure that I never knew about until now. Woolwine is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery because he was born near Nashville but he died in Los Angeles. He moved to L.A. and served as District Attorney from 1915 until 1923. Woolwine was prominent in the William Desmond Taylor murder case which remains unsolved. Taylor was a prominent silent movie director of the time. Many historians believe that Woolwine destroyed crucial evidence after being bribed by a mother of one of the suspects. Two L.A. mayors were forced to step down as the result of being investigated by Woolwine. He fought the Ku Klux Klan in Los Angeles during the early 1920's when the Klan had a presence in every state in the U.S. and had a huge membership. Woolwine gained 35 grand jury indictments against Klansmen for assault with deadly weapons with the intent to commit murder after a deadly home invasion in Inglewood. No Klansmen were convicted but he was constantly heckled by them whenever he spoke at political meetings. Woolwine ran for governor twice and lost both times. Ultimately it appears that Woolwine was a corrupt politician.



Benjamin Franklin Cheatham was born on a large plantation called Westover in Nashville and like his father Leonard he would grow up to be a military man. Leonard fought with Zachary Taylor in the War of 1812. Benjamin's mother was descended from General James Robertson the founder of Nashville. Cheatham was a farmer but would go on to fight in the Mexican War. He started out with the 1st Tennessee Infantry Regiment as a captain and finish the war as Colonel of the 3rd Tennessee. After the war Cheatham panned for gold in California during the Gold Rush. Cheatham began the Civil War as a Confederate Brigadier General and would be promoted to Major General in March 1862. He fought bravely at Shiloh where he was wounded and had 3 horses shot out from under him. At Stones River it was believed that Cheatham was drunk but Private Sam Watkins praised his gallantry along the Wilkinson Pike. Cheatham would perform well at Chickamauga and is credited with helping to save the Confederate Army after it's disastrous defeat at Missionary Ridge. He fought well during the Atlanta campaign inflicting many casualties on Sherman at Kennesaw Mountain and was wounded again at the battle of Ezra Church. When Hood was given command of the Army of Tennessee, after Joseph Johnston's removal, Cheatham took over Hood's old Corps. Cheatham was involved in every aspect of Hood's Tennessee campaign. Hood blamed Cheatham for allowing Schofield's Army to escape the Confederate trap at Spring Hill. There is no real evidence that Cheatham was responsible. In my opinion the responsibility for that fiasco lies totally on Hood's shoulders. Cheatham and Hood had hard feelings toward each other for the rest of their lives. He fought bravely at Nashville and would surrender his command, with the Army of Tennessee, at Durham North Carolina in April 1865 to General Sherman. Cheatham was a bachelor until end of the war and married in his 40's. He and his wife would have five children. His son Benjamin Franklin Cheatham Jr. would become a Major General in the U.S.Army, serving bravely in the Spanish American War and WW1. Cheatham's son would supervise improvements to Arlington National Cemetery along with improvements to the Custis-Lee Mansion and the building the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He died in 1944 and is buried in Arlington.

Major General Benjamin Franklin Jr. CSA

Cheatham's Grave at Mt. Olivet


 Richard Boone Cheatham - B- 1824  D- 1877

Richards main claim to fame, besides being a cousin of Benjamin Franklin Cheatham, was that he was mayor of Nashville at the beginning of the Civil War. He would cross the Cumberland River in a row boat to surrender the city to the Union Army. He did this on at least 2 occasions. This was because the retreating Confederate Army, after the fall of Ft. Donelson, had destroyed the bridges crossing the Cumberland river. On the 2nd trip Cheatham surrendered the city to Union Colonel Kennet of the 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry at the Charles Fuller home in Edgefield. The Fuller home would later be destroyed during the East Nashville fire of 1916. The house stood where East Park is today. Cheatham surrendered the city because he feared that the Union Army would destroy it if he didn't. On the next day, the 25th, he would officially surrender the city to General Don Carlos Buell. Later Andrew Johnson was made military governor and he would have Cheatham arrested when he refused to swear allegiance to the Union. He was replaced as Mayor by John Hugh Smith. Cheatham would die in 1877 and be buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.
Richard Boone Cheatham

Cheatham's grave marked by an arrow in Mt. Olivet

Charles Fuller

Site of Fullers house in Edgefield, now East Park

Vernon King Stevenson- B- 1812  D-1884

  Vernon K. Stevenson was the first president of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. After Stephenson arrived in Tennessee in 1831 he began his financial career operating a dry goods store. He would ultimately marry three times. Stevenson would be a huge proponent of linking Nashville and Chattanooga by rail. His line would link up with the Western and Atlantic railroad that connected Chattanooga with Charleston. The town of Stevenson Alabama was named after him. When the Civil War began he was appointed a major in the Quartermaster Dept. of the Confederate Army in Nashville. When Ft. Donelson fell Nashville was abandoned to the Union Army and capture in late February 1862. There was mass panic and chaos as many people, including King and his family, fled the city to Murfreesboro. Stevenson left Nashville eight days before Union troops entered the city in his own private railroad car with his family, personal belongings, furniture, carriage, and carriage horses, without finishing the transportation of army supplies south. It was Kings job to move any supplies out of the city that might fall into the hands of the Union Army. When then Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest entered the city he found that much needed supplies of meat, clothes and shoes had been left by Stevenson to fall into the hands of the Union Army. He was furious, calling Stevenson a coward. Forrest loaded up as much supplies as his cavalry could transport and much of the rest was destroyed. Forrest restored order to the city by hosing down looters with freezing water from a fire engine. Stevenson would later make millions of dollars smuggling cotton to England through the Union blockade and supplying the Confederate Army. At the end of the war Stevenson was not too popular in Nashville and would move his family and operations to New York city where he would die in 1884. He would be buried in Nashville. This guy had a huge ego. His tomb in Mt. Olivet cemetery is an exact replica of Napoleon Bonaparte's tomb in Paris France. 
Vernon King Stevenson

Mort Kuntsler Painting- Forrest's Cavalry entering Nashville after the fall of Ft. Donelson


Rachel Craighead kept a diary of life in Nashville from 1855 to 1911. She wrote about school life in the 1850's in addition to trips to New York and Mammoth Cave. She also wrote about life in occupied Nashville during the Civil War. Her father Daniel F. Carter was a Nashville banker who was imprisoned for not signing a loyalty oath to the Union. Rachel's brother John W. Carter was wounded at Perryville on October 8, 1862 and would die January 18, 1863. The following is Rachel's entry about life in Nashville during the battle of Shiloh.

  There was a Cavelry [sic] company encamped near Grand Pa house, they were dreadful men threatened to break the doors down if they were not opened shot a mule and numbers of hogs and what was than all, they said if Ma had not been there they would have tied that old man to a tree and black Jacked him well. How my blood boiled when I heard that those wretches made such an inhumane threat to my dear old Grand Pa. but I trust there Clouds are big with mercy and will break with blessing on our heads. Tuesday-8th Nothing happened of interest Wednesday 9th Very gloomy, stayed at home all day until late in the evening Ma and I went down to see Mrs. Smith. She told us terrible news of a terrific battle at Pittsburg. 6 of our Generals killed. Oh mercy such feelings as I experienced. Perfectly indesirable [sic] ...While we were there a number of sick soldiers came to head quarters stood about there 15 minutes.. We came home so blue in suspense. Pa and Sam brought the Extra (the first Yankee Extra) if it had been true how dreadful, but thanks be to Almighty God - it is not. Complete route of the Rebels. Those killed from 35,000 to 40,000. Federal from 18,000 to 20,000. Pa and Sam either believe it. Those two lovely days Saturday Sunday & Monday were seeing such awful carnage. All our loved ones are down there heaven only knows who is killed.. Thursday April 10th The papers full of the Federal Victory. Lasted two days 6_ 7_ first day we whipped them but on Thursday they routed us. Gen. Johnston killed Genl. Bushrod Johnson killed Genl. Beauregard had an arm shot off. Genl. Cheatham, Hardee, Breckenridge, Hindman & Polk all wounded. Dreadful luck! We dont believe all that.. not half of it.
Rachel Carter Craighead
The Carter Mauseleum


Women made some of the of most die hard rebels in the Civil War and Mary Bradford was one of the staunchest of all Confederate patriots. Her major claim to fame came near the end of the first day of the battle of Nashville, December 15, 1864. Confederate soldiers were streaming past her home on the Granny White Pike in retreat. Seeing a Confederate officer strike a fleeing soldier with the flat of his sword she ran up to the officer intending to scold him. When the officer explained to her what was happening she joined in the effort to stop the retreat. Ignoring the danger she plead with the soldiers to stand and fight. Legend has it that her cheek was grazed by a bullet. Colonel W.D. Gale wrote to his wife about the incident. He said that "General Hood told me yesterday he intended to mention her heroic conduct in his report, which will immortalize her".  She would eventually marry her childhood sweetheart John Johns. 


  Private Rosser is buried in Confederate Circle at Mt. Olivet and was part of Lumsdens Alabama battery of 4 smooth bore Napoleon 12 pounder guns. These guns defended Redoubt # 4 west of Hillsboro Pike for three hours against 7,000 attacking Union infantry. The Redoubt was manned by 48 Alabama artillerymen and 100 Alabama Infantry. Redoubt # 4 was pummeled by surrounding Union artillery. I can testify to that because in the 1970's I found numerous pieces of shrapnel at the site of the Redoubt. Confederate Sergeant James R. Maxwell, who commanded a section of Lumsden's battery, gave an account of the ferocity the action as Redoubt # 4 was being overrun. He was serving a gun himself after one of his gunners was wounded. "When the charging Federals passed my gun on the left of the redoubt, Lieutenant Hargrove ordered us to leave it. I ran toward toward Captain Lumsden's section, where Sergeant Jim Jones had turned No. 2 to fire canister at the Federals who were near gun No. 4. He called to me "Look out, Jim. I dropped on my hands and knees whilst he fired that canister right over my head. I took my place between his gun and the embrasure helping handle the gun, and he gave the double canister charge again. Captain Lumsden was standing with another charge of canister in his hands. The command had been given to fire, but the man with the friction primers had run. I called out, Captain he's gone with the friction primers. Say's Captain Lumsden, "Take care of yourselves boys". As he said that, down by my side between gun and embrasure dropped a Federal soldier with his rifle. I left him right there and lit out down the hill. As I got about halfway to the creek at the bottom of the hill, I ran over an infantry man's Enfield rifle. Noticing that it was cocked, with the cap shining on the nipple, I grabbed it up and fired at a Federal soldier who was waving his hat at the guns I had just left." Private Rosser was 16 when he joined the Confederate Army and was killed after being hit by shrapnel. Two of his brothers were captured by the Yankees when they remained too long trying to bury their brother. Sergeant Maxwell also gives the following account of Private Rosser's death. This was later on the night of December 15, 1864, after he had reached the relative safety of the Confederate lines along the Hillsboro Pike. "Hilen L. Rosser, (Maxwell spells his first name wrong here) one of our gunners, had had part of his head shot away. That night as I was pouring some water for Lumsden to wash, he was picking something out of his beard and said; "Maxwell, that is part of Rosser's brains". 

The site of Redoubt # 4


  James E Rains was born in Nashville. He was the son of a Methodist minister and would work in his dad's saddle shop. Rains attended Yale law school and after graduation work in several different jobs until he was elected Nashville city attorney in 1858. He was a Whig and opposed secession. Rains married Ida Yeatman and they had one daughter in 1859. He became Attorney General for Davidson, Williamson, and Sumner County in 1860. In April 1861 Rains enlisted as a private in the Confederate Army. Very quickly he rose to the rank of Colonel. Most of his service was in East Tennessee where he managed to hold the Cumberland Gap for the Confederacy during the winter of 1861-62. He was eventually outflanked by Union forces in June 1862. Eventually Union forces would be forced to give up the Gap. Rains was nominated for the rank of Brigadier General on November 4, 1862 and sent to the Army of Tennessee where General Braxton Bragg was concentrating around Murfreesboro. He was assigned to McCown's division of Hardee's Corps and would be part of the attack on the Union right early on the morning of December 31, 1862. Rains was killed instantly after being shot through the heart attacking a Union artillery position near the present day visitors center. His last words were  "Forward my brave boys, forward!". Rains was originally buried on the battlefield but his wife Ida gained permission from Union General Rosecrans to disinter his body and rebury it in City Cemetery in Nashville. Rains was reinterred in the Confederate section of Mount Olivet Cemetery in 1888.
General James Rains

Ida Yeatman Rains


Confederate prisoners were for the most part treated at Hospital No. 1, which consisted of a former gun factory and converted church at the intersection of Third Avenue South (which was then College Street) and the westbound I-265 on ramp. Confederates buried in City Cemetery and those buried on the Nashville battlefields were removed in 1868 to Confederate Circle at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. The Ladies Memorial Society of Nashville financed this project. Fifteen hundred Confederates are buried at Confederate Circle, and most of them are unknown. Soldiers who could be identified were provided with markers ironically paid for by the Federal government. A monument was erected to honor these soldiers in 1889.
Monument at Confederate Circle
Confederate Decoration Day 1908
JOEL OWSLEY CHEEK -  B- 1852  D- 1935

Joel Cheek left his home in Kentucky at the age of 21 and moved to Nashville. After working for a wholesale grocery chain for a while he started his own grocery firm. Cheek began experimenting with various blends of coffee. His favorite was a blend from cheaper coffee beans and he gave the Maxwell House hotel a limited supply to serve to their guests on a trial basis. After the hotel ran out they began serving their regular coffee again. Customers began complaining and demanding that the hotel go back to Cheek's coffee. He signed an exclusive contract to provide the hotel with his coffee. Because of this Cheek named his coffee after the hotel. Cheek expanded his coffee business into a large empire. In October 1907 Theodore Roosevelt visited the Hermitage and was served the coffee. Supposedly he said that the coffee was "Good to the last drop" when he was offered another cup. This story cannot be verified but Cheek began using the slogan in 1917 to market his coffee. Coca-Cola was also using the same slogan. General Foods would eventually take over ownership of Maxwell House Coffee.

The Cheek plot at Mt. Ol.ivet

Joel Cheek

Joel cheek

The Maxwell House hotel in 1925


John Bell  B - 1796  D - 1869

  John Bell was born near Mill Creek in Nashville. Bell would become a lawyer have a long political  career as a state legislator, congressman, Secretary of War, senator and presidential candidate. Early on he was a Jackson ally who actually wrote the Indian Removal Act of 1831 that led to the Trail of Tears. In the mid 1830's Bell would break with Jackson over the National Bank issue and eventually join the new Whig Party. Bell opposed the Mexican War because he was afraid that the acquisition of new western territories would fuel sectional strife over slavery. During the election of 1860 he ran for president on the Constitutional Union Party ticket as a compromise candidate neutral on the issue of slavery in an attempt to avoid secession. Massachusetts Senator Edward Everett ran as his Vice Presidential candidate. Everett would be the speaker that preceded Lincoln just before his famous Gettysburg Address. He spoke for two hours. Everett later told Lincoln in a letter "I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes." Bell ran for president against a full field of candidates. Stephen Douglas who represented the northern wing of the Democrat Party. John Breckenridge representing the pro-slavery southern Democrat Party and Abraham Lincoln who represented the Republican Party. Because of the split in the Democrat Party Lincoln was elected. However Bell won the border states of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia gaining 39 electoral votes. He narrowly lost the states of Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana to Breckinridge and Missouri to Douglas. After Ft. Sumter Bell sided with the Confederacy, shocking his long time political allies. Bell died in Dickson County at the age of 73 in 1869. He was buried at Mt. Olivet. His first wife Sally Dickinson, the granddaughter of Hardee Murfree, gave him five children. Confederate congressman Edwin Keeble married his daughter Sally. Bell's great grandson, also named Edwin Keeble, was a prominent Nashville architect that built the Life & Casualty building which was Nashville's first skyscraper.
John Bell

A campaign poster for the Constitutional Union Party

Caroline Meriwether Goodlett  B -1833  D -1914

  Caroline Meriwether was born just over the Tennessee and Kentucky line in Todd County. In 1853 Caroline entered into an unhappy marriage and one son was born. During the Civil War her brother was killed fighting with Forrest at the battle of Sacramento Kentucky on December 28, 1861. Caroline devoted herself to the Confederate cause. She converted her large tobacco barn into a gathering place where women could sew, knit, make bandages, and clothes for rebel soldiers. Caroline brought wounded and sick soldiers into her home in order to nurse them until they could be moved to a hospital. She also transported drugs and supplies through Union lines on horseback. When the war was over she divorced her husband and moved to Nashville. There she devoted her life to helping Confederate veterans such as raising money for artificial limbs. Over time she helped establish the first Confederate veterans home in Nashville near the Hermitage. Over time hundreds were established all over the country. Eventually she was part of an effort to establish the Confederate Circle in Mt. Olivet and locate the remains of nearly 1,500 soldiers there. In 1869 she met Colonel Michael Goodlett, a Confederate veteran and widower with 4 children. In 1871 they would have a girl but her son, by her previous marriage, died just after graduating from Vanderbilt at the age of 25. Caroline was also active in helping the widows and orphans of Confederate soldiers. When the United Daughters of the Confederacy was organized in Nashville on September 10, 1894 she was elected it's first president. Mrs. Goodlett died on October 16, 1914 and she was buried near Confederate Circle in Mt. Olivet cemetery. One month after her death a letter she had written was published in the Nashville Tennessean.

“It is my earnest prayer that it (United Daughters of the Confederacy) may continue to be the crowning glory of Southern womanhood to revere the memory of those heroes in gray and to honor that unswerving devotion to principle which has made the Confederate Soldier the most majestic figure in the pages of history.”

- Caroline Meriwether Goodlett, Founder of UDC

Plaque to Caroline Meriwether Goodlett
The Georgia chapter of The United Daughters of the Confederacy

William Nelson Rector Beall  B- 1825  D- 1883

William Beall was born in Bardstown Kentucky. In 1840, when he was 15,  his parents moved to Little Rock Arkansas. Soon after arriving his parents passed away leaving him and his four siblings orphaned. He would go on to graduate from West Point in 1848. As an officer he would serve in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas. and was in Nebraska when the Civil War began. Beall didn't join the Confederate Army until August 1861. He would be one of the last Union officers to resign from the Union Army. He served under Albert Sydney Johnston and Earl Van Dorn. Beall would serve at Corinth and in Louisiana as a Brigadier General. He commanded Confederate forces at Port Hudson on the Mississippi River for a while and was commanding a brigade when he was captured, with all of his men there, five days after the fall of Vicksburg on July 9, 1863. Beall and his men were transported to Memphis where he would spend time in a hospital recovering from illness. He and fellow officers were eventually sent to Johnson's Island prisoner of war camp in Ohio which was on the shore of Lake Erie. Beall became involved in a scheme to sell cotton in the north and in Europe to buy supplies, medicine and blankets for the welfare of Confederate soldiers imprisoned throughout the North. He was paroled in December 1864 and swore an oath that he would not escape or provide assistance to the Confederate Army. He set up an office in New York City where he continued efforts to aid Confederate prisoners through the sale of cotton. The citizens of New York soon became aware that a Confederate officer was operating a relief organization for the enemy right in their midst. Secretary of War Stanton revoked his parole and had him arrested. He was imprisoned at Fort Lafayette in New York harbor where he continued to direct relief efforts for Confederate POW's until the end of the war. Beall was released in August 1865. He would move to St. Louis where he would meet and marry Nashville native Felicia Bass and have four children. Beall died in McMinnville Tennessee on July 25, 1883 and is buried in Mt. Olivet cemetery. Felicia would live until 1921. 
William Nelson Rector Beall

Anne Dallas Dudley - B - 1876  D - 1955

  Anne Dallas was born into to wealth in Nashville on November 13, 1876. Her father, Trevanion Barlow Dallas was a wealthy owner of textile mills. The Dallas mill in Huntsville, where the Segroves family worked for many years, was named after him. Anne's grandfather was a Commodore in the U.S. Navy and her Uncle was Vice President of the United States under President James K. Polk. In 1902 she married Guilford Dudley, a wealthy banker and insurance broker. The couple had three children, Ida Dallas Dudley (1903–1904), Trevania Dallas Dudley (1905–1924), and Guilford Dudley, Jr. (1907–2002). A few years after getting married she became involved in the temperance movement. Through her involvement in this cause she began to realize that women needed the right to vote. She became the first woman in Tennessee to make an open air speech after leading 2000 women on a march from downtown Nashville to Centennial park in May 1914. Anne campaigned throughout the South and was instrumental in helping to devise the strategy that eventually led to passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Tennessee was the 36th and final state to pass the Amendment. Anne would die in 1955 and is buried in Mt. Olivet.

"I have never yet met a man or woman who denied that taxation without representation is tyranny. I have never yet seen one who was such a traitor to our form of government that he did not believe that the government rests upon the consent of the governed. This is a government of, for, and by the people, and only the law denies that women are people."

— Anne Dallas Dudley, 1913
The Dallas Mill in Huntsville Alabama

Anne Dallas Dudley

These pictures with her children were an effort to soften her public image

Suffragette meeting

John Overton  B - 1766  D - 1833

John Overton was born in Virginia and moved to Kentucky in 1787 to begin his law career. Overton boarded with the Robards family where he became acquainted with Lewis Robards and his wife Rachel Donelson Robards the future wife of Andrew Jackson. In 1789 he moved to Nashville and began practicing law. There he lodged with Jackson and they became close friends. Since both were lawyers they frequently worked on the same cases together. Over time they became involved in a business partnership and became land speculators. In 1804 he was elected as Jackson's successor on the Tennessee Superior Court and would resign in 1816. In 1819 Overton, along with Jackson, and General James Winchester, founded the city of Memphis on land that the three of them owned together. Over the remaining years of his life Overton devoted much time and effort to the growth and development of Memphis. He would defend Andrew Jackson against charges of adultery in his marriage to Rachel and would be instrumental in helping him be elected president of the United States. Overton remained friends to the end with Jackson and died while he was president. He is buried in Mt. Olivet cemetery. John Overton High School in Nashville and Overton Park in Memphis are named after him. As an interesting side note Overton was a slave owner and owned Travellers Rest plantation near Franklin Road. John Overton is the paternal great - great - grandfather of Richard Arvin Overton. The oldest living veteran of WW2. He was born on May 11, 1906 and is 111 years old at the time of this writing.
Judge John Overton

Richard Arvin Overton

Percy Warner  B - 1861  D - 1927

Percy Warner was born into a wealthy family. His father James C. Warner owned the Warner Iron Corporation. From 1903 to 1914 Percy ran the Nashville Railway and Light Company which controlled the cities street cars. My grandfather Marcellus Brown was a street car conductor in Detroit for a number of years. The end of the line was right in front of Warner's house which he named Renraw. That is Warner spelled backwards. Renraw is where the Nashville Auto Diesel College is today. He kept exotic animals there and his favorite was a Crane named Rufus. East Nashville was the Belle Meade of the 1800's and early 1900's until the great East Nashville fire of  1916 and the fact that there was not enough room to expand in East Nashville. Vanderbilt University almost built it's campus there but for the limited area decided to locate where they are today. Which was a Nashville suburb in the 1870's. Warner worked to save Centennial Park after the 1897 Centennial Exposition. He died suddenly at the age of 66 and land in West Nashville that had been donated to the city by his daughter was named Percy Warner Park in his honor. 

Percy Warner at Renraw with Rufus


The Doll House At Renraw

The entrance to Percy Warner Park

The Steeple Chase
Percy Warner grave at Mt. Olivet

George Maney  B. 1826  D. 1901

George Maney began his life in Franklin Tennessee on August 24, 1826. He was the son of a newspaper editor who was also circuit judge. In 1845 he graduated from the University of Nashville at the age of 19 and served in the Mexican War. He was with Winfield Scott when he entered Mexico City. After the war Maney became a lawyer where he established a law practice in Franklin and was later elected to the Tennessee legislature. He married Elizabeth T. "Betty" Crutcher of Nashville in 1853 and they would have five children. When the Civil War broke out he joined the Rock City Guards and fought for a while under Robert E. Lee in West Virginia and Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley. He asked to be sent to the Army of Tennessee where he fought at Shiloh, Soon after Shiloh he was promoted to Brigadier General. Maney went on to fight at Perryville, Chickamauga, and Murfreesboro.  In November 1863 he was seriously wounded in his arm during the Chattanooga campaign and would be on medical leave until the Atlanta campaign. Maney was captured in August 1864. After being released he was unable to return to active field command because of his arm. He would surrender with the Army of Tennessee at Greensboro North Carolina and was paroled on May 1, 1865. After returning to Tennessee he became a Republican. This was unusual for a former Confederate soldier. General James Longstreet, Lee's 1st Corps commander, would also become a Republican. Maney tried hard to reconcile the South with it's former enemies during reconstruction. His daughter married a Union officer. He ran for governor but soon withdrew his name from the ballot. Because Maney was a Republican he was appointed Ambassador to Columbia, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Paraguay during the administrations of Garfield, Arthur, and Harrison. He died in Washington, D.C. from a cerebral hemorrhage and was buried in Mt. Olivet.
George Maney

B - 1799  D -1889

  Buckner Harrison Payne was a so-called man of the cloth who was a pamphleteer using the pseudonym of Ariel. He wrote a racist pamphlet called Ariel or the Ethnological Origin of the Negro in 1867. The following is from that book. The Negro: What is His Ethnological Status? Is He the Progeny of Ham? ...Descendant of Adam and Eve? Has He a Soul? He a Beast in God's Nomenclature? ...His Status as Fixed by God in Creation? ...His Relation to White Race? Payne believed that Blacks were not descended from Ham and therefore were not from Adam and Eve. In his view Blacks were descended from animals and had no soul. This created a stir even among White supremacists who believed in the curse of Ham. He was falsely accused of murder in 1868 and would be committed to an asylum in Davidson County in 1879. Payne died indigent in 1899 and was buried at Mt. Olivet cemetery in a cheap coffin. His pre - Adamite ideas influenced another racist author named Charles Carroll who wrote two books entitled The Negro Beast and the Temper of Eve. This philosophy is a perfect example of how people are prepared for subjugation and murder by being dehumanized. Blacks are easier to kill and enslave when they are relegated to the status of animals with no soul. Hitler paved the way for the destruction of the Jews by comparing them to rats, cock roaches, disease, vermin and murderers in his Nazi propaganda. Indians were called savages and Asian people were called gooks. Unborn babies are called fetuses. It is easier to kill a fetus than a baby. Unfortunately the dehumanizing philosophy of people like Buckner Payne has been all too prevalent in the world and responsible for the death and enslavement of millions.
Payne's Book

Racist Valentine card
Nazi anti Jewish propaganda

The American Indian depicted as a savage

An unborn baby at 4 weeks - Already has a heartbeat and is sensitive to pain

A baby @ 5 months but still able to be aborted


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