Famous Gravesites of Ohio & Tennessee
Since I grew up in Ohio and live in Tennessee now I decided to make a page focused on the gravesites in those states.
Lake View Cemetery – Cleveland, OH
Dr James Henry Salisbury Folk Figure. A physician, he is credited as the creator of the Salisbury Steak.
Rev Heinrich Christian Schwan. Minister, Father Of The American Christmas Tree. Lutheran pastor who emigrated to America in 1850. In 1890 he was commissioned by the LCMS to prepare a catechism, which was published by Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO in 1896. It became known as the Schwan Catechism. He helped popularize the use of the Christmas tree in American churches.
Alan Freed. Radio Disc Jockey. He is known as “The Father of Rock and Roll” for his efforts to promote that music style. In March 1952, as an emcee of a television program on rhythm and blues records for TV station WXEL in Cleveland, Ohio, he referred to the new music sound as “rock and roll,” thus being the first to coin the term.
Henry Alden Sherwin. Business Magnate. He was the founder of the Sherwin-Williams paint company.
Jeptha Homer Wade, Sr. Western Industrialist. Born in Romulus, New York, he was best known for being a founding member of Western Union Telegraph service. In 1861, he joined forces with Benjamin Ficklin and Hiram Sibley to form the Pacific Telegraph Company. The company’s formation completed the linkage between the east and west coast of the United States as the Western Union Telegraph service. Wade became the first president of Western Union in 1866 and a year later he resigned because of ill-health.
Dr George Washington Crile. Physician, Surgeon. He performed the first successful human blood transfusion and developed the Electrochemical Theory of Life.
John Davison Rockefeller. Business Magnate. Best known as the patriarch of the socially prominent Rockefeller family of New York, the founder of the Standard Oil Company and founder of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Alexander Winton. Automotive Pioneer. He immigrated to the United States from Scotland in 1878, settled in Cleveland, Ohio and began to manufacturer bicycles at the Winton Bicycle Company. He built his first motorized vehicle in 1896, organized the Winton Motor Carriage Company in March 15, 1897 and on March 24, 1898, he became known for the first commercial sale of an automobile in the United States. He later became known as the Winton Engine Corporation and the corporation became a subsidiary of General Motors Corporation in 1930.
Union Cemetery, Columbus, OH
Dave Thomas. American restaurateur and philanthropist, best known as founder of the hamburger chain, Wendy’s. Wearing a Wendy’s apron, Thomas was one of the nation’s most recognized television spokesmen. He has appeared in almost every TV advertisement for the No. 3 burger chain in the United States from 1989 until his death. Although Dave became widely popular, he was never very comfortable as a “celebrity.”
Green Lawn Cemetery – Columbus OH
Spring Grove Cemetery – Cincinnati, OH
Bernard Henry “Barney” Kroger, Sr Grocery Store Magnate. Kroger began working as a door to door salesman for the Great Northern and Pacific Tea Co., eventually ending up at the Imperial Tea Co. The grocery was not doing well, and the two owners made Kroger a manager. When the owners later refused to make Kroger a partner, he used his own money to open his own grocery. Kroger’s store, The Great Western Tea Co., succeeded despite numerous growing pains and catastrophes. Kroger opened four separate locations within two years. He renamed the company Kroger Grocery and Baking Co. in 1902, later shortened to Kroger, and opened over 5500 stores by the end of the 1920s. He is credited with introducing the low-cost grocery chain models that persist today.
James Gamble. Manufacturer. Co-Founder of the Procter and Gamble Company. He married Elizabeth Norris and was convinced by his father-in-law, Alexander Norris, to enter into a business partnership with his brother-in-law, William Procter. They established the Procter and Gamble Company in Cincinnati in 1837. By 1859, sales had reached $1 million.
Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum, Dayton, OH
Johnny Morehouse. Unique grave marker of Johnny with his dog and toys. Johnny, the youngest son of John and Mary Morehouse, lived with his parents in Dayton, Ohio in the back of his father’s shoe repair shop. Legend has it that Johnny accidentally fell into the Miami & Erie canal one day while he was playing and froze to death, despite his faithful dog’s efforts to pull him out. After he was buried, the dog laid on his grave site and wouldn’t be moved. A special stone was made in 1861 to commemorate Johnny’s dog’s devotion.
Wilbur Wright. Inventor, Aviation Pioneer. He was the older of the Wright Brothers, the siblings who are credited with inventing the first practical airplane and starting the aerial age. Along with his brother Orville, the pair started a printing business in their hometown of Dayton, Ohio which soon expanded to a bicycle shop.
Orville Wright. Inventor. The younger of the two brothers who would invent the airplane and start the aerial age, he outlived his brother Wilbur by 36 years. After the successful four flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, they returned to Dayton and continued their experiments at Huffman Prairie. They were awarded a patent in 1906 and started trying to attract potential customers with demonstration flights in Europe and elsewhere. With orders in hand including a contract to build planes for the United States Army, Wilbur and Orville started the Wright Company and began filling orders, but upon the early death of Wilbur, Orville, discouraged, sold the business in 1912 and retired. The two had been very close, lived at home and never married.
Erie Street Cemetery, Cleveland, OH
Memorial for Indian Sauk Chief Joc-O-Sot, 1810-1844. This is the site of the cemetery’s most notorious ghost. Joc-O-Sot was a tribe leader who fought in the Black Hawk war against the U.S. in 1830. At that time, he sustained a gunshot wound, but survived. After the war, in an effort to earn money for his tribe, Joc-O-Sot later joined a vaudeville troupe in Cleveland. During his theatre group’s tour of England, he fell ill
as a result of complications from his gunshot wound from over ten years before. His illness caused him to return to Cleveland.
Legend states that Joc-O-Sot knew he was dying and tried to return to his native land in Minnesota so to that he could die and be buried next to his ancestors. He never made it out of Cleveland, and died within the Warehouse District. He is buried at this grave in Erie Street Cemetery. Joc-O-Sot’s spirit never rested, they say. He still wanders the cemetery, bitter over having been buried here instead
of his native land.
Mount Peace Cemetery – Akron, OH
Dr Robert Holbrook “Bob” Smith. Social Reformer. A surgeon and physician, he was the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. Raised in a very religious home in a community where consumption of alcohol was considered immoral, he had his first taste of alcohol when he was nine years old. As a child, he was forced to attend church services up to five times a week, which caused him to vow that he would never attend church once he was no longer under parental control. Then he met Bill Wilson, a businessman who stayed sober by helping other alcoholics through the Oxford Group. Bill Wilson was in Akron on a business trip and was afraid he would relapse into alcoholism. Someone referred him to Dr. Smith and the two alcoholics were able to talk about their alcoholism from having shared experiences. Using the Oxford Group as a model and adding the element of alcoholics talking to alcoholics the two men founded Alcoholics Anonymous. June 17, 1935, the date that Dr. Smith had his last drink of alcohol is, acknowledged as the founding date of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Graceland in Memphis, TN
Elvis Presley. Rock Singer, Actor. His career reached such acclaim that he is now universally known as “The King of Rock and Roll”. During his career he had 94 gold singles, three gold EPs, and over 40 gold albums. His 33 movies grossed over $180 million and millions more were made by the merchandising of Elvis products. Globally, he has sold over one billion records, more than any other artist. Elvis died at Graceland. His death was attributed to congestive heart failure. Later it was determined that drug abuse may have been a contributing factor. He was an international sensation. Known the world over by his first name, he is regarded as one of the most important figures of twentieth century popular culture.
Hendersonville Memory Gardens
Johnny Cash. Country Singer, Musician, Actor, Entertainer. Legendary Country Music Singer and songwriter who was known as “The Man in Black” for his trademark wearing of all black clothing. Contrary to his songs and image, he never spent time in prison (except to visit). Most remembered for the songs “Ring of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “A Boy Named Sue,” and “I walk the Line.”
June Carter Cash. Country Singer, producer, author, actress. Born in Maces Springs, Virginia, on June 23, 1929, as Valerie June Carter, she was a member of the famous singing Carter Family. The Carter Family began recording country music in 1927 and continued until Maybelle’s death in 1978. The Carter Family Singers included members like ‘Mother’ Maybelle Carter, Anita Carter, and Alvin Pleasant ‘A.P.’ Carter, and of course June who would go onto a successful singing career herself.
Maybelle “Mother” Addington Carter. Country Music Singer. Known as “Mother Maybelle,” she was one of the founding members of The Carter Family, the first family of country music and one of the most influential acts in the history of country music. Their music had a profound impact on bluegrass, country, southern gospel, pop and rock musicians, as well as on the U.S. folk revival of the 1960s. They were the first vocal group to become country music stars.
Merle Kilgore. Songwriter. Born in Chickasha, Oklahoma, he was a singer-guitarist, most noted for being a pop and country music songwriter. He began his career working as a disc jockey and musician before joining the Louisiana Hayride radio show as the principal accompanying guitarist. He debuted on the Grand Ole Opry, and appeared on the Big D Jamboree in Dallas, in 1952, signing with Imperial Records in 1953. He wrote the song “More and More,” which was recorded by Web Pierce and became a Top 10 Country Hit. He continued to generate other hits with his songs such as “Baby Rocked Her Dolly”, “Ring “Wolverton Mountain”, “Johnny Reb”, “Love Has Made You Beautiful” and “Gettin’ Old Before Your Time”. By the 1980s, he became the long time manager and friend of entertainer Hank Williams Jr.
George Jones. Country Music Singer and Songwriter. He is probably best remembered for his hit single “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and for his tumultuous marriage to famed country singer Tammy Wynette. Additionally, his musical career would be marked by frequent bouts of alcoholism and cocaine use and his wild lifestyle led to him missing many of his performances and earning the dubious nickname “No Show Jones.” Also nicknamed “The Possum,” supposedly for his facial resemblance to the animal.
Lynn Anderson. Country Music Singer. She was known for a string of Country Music hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s, most notably her 1970 country-pop song “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden”. Her crossover appeal and regular exposure on national television helped her to become one of the most popular and successful country singers of the 1970s, and she charted twelve Number 1 songs, eighteen Top 10 songs, and more than fifty Top 40 hits.
Dottie Rambo. Gospel Singer, Songwriter. Born Joyce Reba Luttrell. She was a prolific composer in the Christian music industry and credited with up to 2500 songs that she wrote and co-wrote. Many of her songs have been recorded by various artists. She was awarded the Grammy in 1969 for her album, “It’s The Soul of Me”.
Marty Robbins. Country Music Singer, Auto Race Car Driver. He began writing songs while in the United States Navy during World War II. He signed with Columbia Records after the war, and had his first number one country single with “I’ll Go On Alone” in 1953. Over the course of his career he would have 15 more Number 1 songs on the Country Music sales charts, with several of them also reaching the Top Ten on the Pop Music sales charts. His most famous songs include “A White Sport Coat (And A Pink Carnation),” “El Paso,” “Devil Woman,” “Don’t Worry,” and “My Woman, My Woman, My Wife.” In 1965, he became interested in stock car racing and from 1966 to 1982 he competed in 35 NASCAR Winston Cup races.
Dobie Gray. Vocalist, Songwriter, Actor. Best known for his hit “Drift Away” (1973). Born Lawrence Darrow Brown (some sources state name as Leonard Victor Ainsworth), into a family of sharecroppers, his love for gospel music was sparked by his grandfather who was a Baptist minister. He embarked upon a recording career during the early 1960s, as he moved to Los Angeles and came under the guidance of Sonny Bono.
Bob Montgomery. He started his music career in Lubbock, Texas, with Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame member Buddy Holly as a duet. They became the “Buddy & Bob” act on a local radio station from 1949 to 1955. Stardom was born for both of them. They were privileged to be the opening act for Elvis Presley when he performed in Lubbock early in his career. Bob eventually became one of the icons of country music production. He subsequently wrote or co-wrote such 1950s Holly hits as “Heartbeat,” “Love’s Made a Fool of You” and “Wishing.” Over 60 years in the business, he made major contributions as a songwriter, record producer, music publisher and label executive. Famous songs that he can be credited with includes such standards as “Misty Blue” and “Love’s Made a Fool of You.” Vern Gosdin, Janie Fricke, Bobby Goldsboro and Joe Diffie were stars for whom he produced records. He published such iconic songs as “Behind Closed Doors” and “The Wind Beneath My Wings.”
Webb Pierce. Country Singer. He was one of the most popular Honky-tonk stars in country music and had more singles on the Billboard charts then any of his contemporaries in the 1950s. His biggest hit “There Stands the Glass” (1953), is regarded as one of country’s classic drinking songs. For Decca Records, he charted 48 singles, 39 reaching the top ten to include “In the Jailhouse Now”, ” More and More”, “Backstreet Affair”, “Why, Baby, Why”, “Oh, So Many Years” and “Finally”. He was a regular performer at the Grand Ole Opry, on the tour circuits and continued charting hits until retiring in 1982.
James Cecil “Little Jimmy” Dickens. Country and Western Musician and Singer. He is best remembered for his small stature (4 feet 11 inches), his rhinestone-studded outfits, and his humorous novelty songs, including his biggest single hit “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” (1965), that reached number 1 on the US Country Chart. During his career, that spanned over six decades, he recorded 12 albums and released over 80 singles.
Tammy Wynette. Country Music Singer. She was often referred to as the “First Lady of Country Music” and is best remembered for her song “Stand by Your Man,” one of the best-selling singles by a woman in the country music industry. She, along with Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton, set the standards for the role of women in country music during the 1970s. Her marriage in 1969 to famed country singer George Jones created a “country couple” and they would record a sequence of albums and singles that topped the charts throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s.
Willard Mack Vickery. Songwriter, Musician. His career lasted over a span of 6 decades. He was inducted into the Alabama music hall of fame in 2003 by the legendary Sam Phillips. He often would join with other Nashville songwriters such as Wayne Kemp to write songs. His songs were recorded by singers from Jerry Lee Lewis to George Strait.
Johnny Paycheck. Country Western Singer. Born Donald Eugene Lytle, he began playing guitar by age six. Changing his name to Johnny Paycheck in the 1960s, he is best remembered for his 1977 hit song, “Take This Job And Shove It,” which sold over 2 million copies and inspired a motion picture by the same name. His other hits include “Don’t Take Her, She’s All I Got,” “I’m The Only Hell Mama Ever Raised,” “Georgia In A Jug,” “Colorado Cool-Aid,” “Barstool Mountain,” “Slide Off Your Satin Sheets,” “Old Violin,” and “You Can Have Her.” He recorded over 70 albums. In 2002 an album called, “The Soul & The Edge: The Best Of Johnny Paycheck” was released.
Van Stephenson. Country Singer, Songwriter. He was a member of the popular Country musical group, ‘Blackhawk’ from 1992 to 2000.
Porter Wagoner. Musician. For over five decades, he was known as the image of country music for his showmanship and rhinestone suits. In 1952, he signed with RCA Records, released Hank Williams’ “Settin’ The Woods On Fire” and had his first top 10 hit in 1954, with “Company’s Comin”. He joined the “Grand Ole Opry” in 1957 and remained one of its most popular stars for his whole career.
Rob Bironas. Professional Football Player. For nine seasons (2005 to 2013), he played at the kicker position in the National Football League with the Tennessee Titans.
Lillie Mae Ford Tomlin. Lillie Mae Tomlin was many things in this life: a friend to many, the mother to actress Lily Tomlin and Richard Tomlin, a mother to Tennessee Michael, and she was the last of the great Southern Ladies.
Jerry Donald Chesnut is an American country music songwriter. His hits include “A Good Year for the Roses” (recorded by Alan Jackson and George Jones) and “T-R-O-U-B-L-E” (recorded by Elvis Presley in 1975, and Travis Tritt in 1992.)
James Edward “Jim Ed” Brown. American Singer, Radio and TV Host. Brown was a longtime Grand Ole Opry member who had hits as a solo artist, as part of a duet and as a member of a trio, and was also featured prominently on country music television shows in the 1970s and 1980s. Jim Ed pursued a solo career and had hits with “Pop-A-Top Again” (1967), “Morning” (1970) and “Southern Living” (1973). In the mid-1970s, he teamed up with Helen Cornelius and the duo had hits with “I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You,”, “Saying Hello, Saying I Love You, Saying Goodbye” (both in 1976), “Lying in Love With You” (1979), “Fools” (1979) and “Don’t Bother to Knock” (1981).
Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens, Nashville TN
Chet Atkins. Country Musician. Known as “Mr. Guitar” and considered the most-recorded solo instrumentalist in music history. As head of RCA Records in Nashville, he propelled an entire generation of country music stars to fame, such as Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, Jim Reeves, Eddy Arnold, Charley Pride, Hank Snow, Porter Wagoner and many more artists. His guitar studio work is featured on countless recordings for so many Nashville legends. He built the famous RCA Studio B, and there he produced and recorded some of the world most popular music. Elvis Presley recorded many of his pop hits there, such as the hit “Heartbreak Hotel” which featured Chet on the lead guitar. He garnered many music awards, winning nine CMA musician of the year awards and 14 Grammys.
Donna Summer. Vocalist. Nicknamed the “Queen of Disco”, she was a major figure of the genre’s popularity as her songs echoed throughout nightclubs during the mid 1970s to early 1980s earning her multiple Grammy Awards and nominations. Her final Top-Ten hit would be “This Time I Know It’s For Real” (1989). Success did not come without controversy for her and during the 1980s she allegedly made remarks about gays and AIDS which had a negative affect on her career. In addition, she revealed that she had long suffered from severe depression. She died following a year- long battle with lung cancer. She left an indelible impression on the music industry and it would be difficult to think of Disco without remembering Donna Summer.
Mount Hope Cemetery, Franklin, TN
Minnie Pearl. Country Music Commedienne/Icon. Her first performance onstage as Minnie Pearl was in 1939 in Aiken, South Carolina, but it was her introduction to the audience of the world famous Grand Ole Opry in 1940 at age 28 that catapulted her to stardom through live performances, radio and eventually television. For over 50 years, she entertained the music world with Minnie’s tales of her fictional hometown, Grinders Switch, Tennessee, stepping onstage proclaiming “Howdeee! I’m just so proud to be here” in her straw hat adorned with flowers and a $1.98 price tag. In reality, she was known as a gracious lady of refinement, hospitality and down to earth charm, living down the street from the Tennessee Governors Mansion and known as a competitive tennis player at the local country club.
Mary Ann Ward Wilson. Her stage name was Marion Worth; she is also listed in this cemetery under her stage name. She “was a Patti Page of the country music industry.” Her best known recorded songs were: “Shake Me I Rattle, Squeeze Me I Cry,” “Crazy Arms,” “Are You Willing, Willie,” “A Woman Needs Love,” “Mama Says,” “That’s My Kind of Love,” ” I Think I Know,” and “Slipping Around,” the latter a duet with George Morgan in 1964.
Felton Jarvis. Music Producer. He is best known as Elvis Presley’s record producer from 1966 to 1977. Employed by RCA, he branched out on his own in 1970 to work exclusively for Elvis. The bonds between him and the performer were so close that when Felton Jarvis’s kidney failed in 1971, Elvis paid for his dialysis and an eventual kidney transplant. His strong work ethic and being able to bring the best out of any artist, he worked over the years with such renowned artists as Willie Nelson, Jim Ed Brown, Floyd Cramer, Lloyd Price, Fats Domino, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Carl Perkins and Ronnie McDowell. In 1980 he created the practice of overdubbing new rhythm tracks on top of previously recorded vocals, a process that is commonplace in music production today.
Spring Hill Funeral Home & Cemetery, Nashville, TN
Roy Claxton Acuff. Country Music Singer. He is best remembered as the “King of Country Music” and is often credited with moving the genre from its early string band and “hoedown” format to the star singer-based format that helped make it internationally renowned.
Earl Eugene Scruggs. Country and Bluegrass Musician. He is probably best known for his three-finger banjo picking style of bluegrass music. On September 24, 1962, Flatt and Scruggs, along with singer Jerry Scoggins, recorded “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” for the television show “The Beverly Hillbillies” which was released the following month. The theme song became an immediate country hit and was played at the beginning and end of each television episode.
Jimmy Martin. Bluegrass Musician. He was the lead singer with the “Blue Grass Boys” until 1955, when he formed his own band, the “Sunny Mountain Boys”; then recorded with Decca records for 18 years. He recorded 138 titles including “Ocean Of Diamonds,” “Sophronie,” “Widow Maker” and “Sunny Side Of The Mountain,” He was inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 1995.
Mount Olivet Cemetery – Nashville, TN
Capt Thomas Green Ryman
Folk figure. Founder of The Ryman Auditorium (known as “The Mother Church of Country Music”). In the late 1800s, Captain Thomas Ryman owned a successful saloon and steamboat business on the Cumberland River in Tennessee. Whiskey was one of the main cargos. In 1885, he went to see the Rev. Sam Jones give a Christain revival meeting. His intent was to heckle Jones, instead he was converted. Ryman, who had ended all sales and transport of whiskey, decided to build an auditorium in Nashville, large enough to hold the evangelist’s audiences. The prominent businessman was able to rally many in the Nashville business community to raise the money for the project. Originally called the Union Gospel Tabernacle, at Ryman’s funeral in 1904, Sam Jones, who was officiating, suggested the name be changed to honor its builder. With the arrival of the Grand Ole Opry in 1943, The Ryman Auditorium earned its nickname “The Mother Church of Country Music.”
Adelicia Hayes Cheatham
“The mistress of Belmont,” was one of the wealthiest and most interesting women in antebellum America.
Belmont, the home of Joseph and Adelicia Acklen, was completed in 1853. It was the Acklen summer home–a little getaway place of 36 rooms and 19,000 square feet! At Belmont the Acklens entertained such notables as President Andrew Johnson, inventor Alexander Graham Bell, socialite Octavia La Vert, philosopher Thomas Huxley, and solider of fortune William Walker, as well as numerous Confederate officers and political figures. During the Battle of Nashville in 1864, Belmont was used as the headquarters of General Thomas Wood, one of the Union commanders.
Adelicia enjoyed the benefits of a large fortune and impressive social status, but she also experienced many tragedies in her life. She buried six children and two husbands, and she also endured the hardships associated with the Civil War and Reconstruction. The house became part of Belmont College after Adelicia’s death and still stands on the campus; the mansion is open for tours, receptions, and other functions.
Percy Warner started his career by working for his father’s mining business. Warner served as the President of the Nashville Railway and Light Company, which controlled the streetcar system in Nashville. He was also active in utility companies in “Memphis, Knoxville, Birmingham, Little Rock, Houston, and New Orleans.” Additionally, Warner served on the Board of Directors of the National Light and Power Company of New York. Warner served on the Nashville Board of Park Commissioners. He helped save Centennial Park. The Percy Warner Park in Nashville was named in his honor.
Francis Furman – Nashville businessman during the Reconstruction Era. His tomb, designed by sculptor Johannes Gelert (1852–1923), is the largest one in Mount Olivet Cemetery
Harriet “Hattie” Frost Stoneman – Country Musician. Also known as ‘Mom,’ she was a member of the famous musical group, ‘The Stonemans’ (or The Stoneman Family), which also included her husband, Ernest V. ‘Pop’ Stoneman and six of her 14 children. The family of musicians became one of the most famous family bands after there already famous mother and father joined the act.
George A. Dickel was a successful merchant living in Nashville when he visited Tullahoma with his wife Augusta in 1867. It was in Cascade Hollow that George Dickel dreamed of creating the finest, smoothest sippin’ whisky in the United States. In 1870, Dickel’s dream came true, also at this time that George declared that because his whisky was as smooth as the finest scotch, he would always spell the “whiskey” in George Dickel Tennessee Whisky without an “e”.
Jacob McGavock – He was one of the oldest and wealthiest citizens of Nashville, to which place he came in 1807, for the purpose of completing his education at Cumberland College, then under the presidency of the famous James Priestly; but soon after entered the office of his uncle Randal, the then clerk of the Circuit Court. In 1813 he volunteered in the Creek War and was one of General Andrew Jackson’s aides, but being disabled by a wound in the Battle of Enotochopco, January 24, 1814, he was honorably discharged.
Cornelia Clark Fort – Aviation Pioneer. Cornelia Fort was the daughter of a prominent East Nashville doctor. Her father made her brothers swear that they would never fly, but he overlooked Cornelia. She first soloed on April 27, 1940, and received her pilot’s license on June 19, 1940 and her instructors rating March 10, 1941. Cornelia was Nashville’s first woman flight instructor. Cornelia was giving a flying lesson over Honolulu, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941 and witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. She was the second woman to join the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). She was the first woman pilot to die in the line of duty while serving in the WASP unit.
Billy Byrd – Country Musician. He was one of the first country musicians to make a name for himself with the electric guitar. He was portrayed by actor Scott Michael Campbell in the film “Crazy” (2008).
E. Bronson Ingram II was an American billionaire heir and business executive. He served as the Chairman of Ingram Industries from 1963 to 1995. He was a director and large shareholder of Weyerhaeuser. He was tried and acquitted of corruption regarding a Chicago sewage deal in the 1970s. Ingram took over the Tennessee Book Company, Ingram Materials Company, Ingram Barge Company, and Bluewater Insurance Company. He called it Ingram Industries. By 1995, the Ingram Barge Company became the Inland Marine Transportation Group, the third-largest inland waterway carrier in the United States. In 1970, the Tennessee Book Company became known as the Ingram Book Company, and by 1995 it controlled 52 percent of the wholesale book distribution market to American retail bookstores. He also founded Ingram Software; in 1985 it acquired Micro D and morphed into Ingram Micro Incorporated. At the time of his death, he was Tennessee’s only billionaire and 56th richest person in the United States.
Vern Gosdin – Singer, Songwriter. Known as “The Voice” because of his rich baritone singing, this Woodland, Alabama native turned the musical talent he acquired by being a part of a gospel music singing family to develop a successful country music career. He had almost twenty top ten hits during his thirty year career with over forty singles and eight albums reaching the country music charts. He died in Nashville, Tennessee after suffering a stroke.
Edward Emerson Barnard – Astronomer. Between 1881 and 1892 he discovered 14 comets. In 1892 he discovered Amalthea, the fifth moon of Jupiter. In 1895 he joined the University of Chicago as professor of astronomy. Barnard’s Star is named for him.
David Lipscomb – Well known personality in the Church of Christ and founder of David Lipscomb College (Now David Lipscomb University) in Nashville.
John Bell – U.S. Congressman, Presidential Cabinet Member, U.S. Senator. After graduating from Cumberland College, in 1814, he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1816 and commenced to practice law in Franklin, Tennessee. He was a member of the Tennessee State Senate 1817. He was elected as Democrat-Republican to the Twentieth Congress and to the next six succeeding Congresses, serving (1827-41). After his last term, he was appointed by President William Henry Harrison as the 16th Secretary of War, serving March 5, 1841 until he resigned on September 12, 1841. He was a member of the Tennessee State House of Representatives, when elected as a Whig to the United States Senate, serving (1847-59). Retiring from politics, he managed his family owned ironworks, until his death at age 73 in Dover, Tennessee.
Jim Denny – Country music talent agent and song publisher. Denny was voted “Country and Western Man of the Year” by Billboard magazine in 1955 only to be fired from the Opry the next year due to conflicts arising from his publishing and booking companies. Leaving the Opry in 1956 he formed Jim Denny Artist Bureau and took such artist as Pierce, Carl Smith, Minnie Pearl, Red Sovine and Hank Snow along as clients. Three months after his termination he signed what country music historians consider as one of the largest talent deals at the time providing artist for the “Philip Morris Country Music Show.”
Randal William McGavock – Civil War Confederate Army Officer. He served as a Colonel in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and was killed in action at Raymond, Mississippi. He served as Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee from 1858 to 1859.
Aaron Venable Brown, Sr – US Congressman, Tennessee Governor, Presidential Cabinet Secretary. He was elected to represent two different Tennessee Districts in the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1839 to 1845 (represented the 10th District from 1839 to 1843, then the 6th District from 1843 to 1845). He then served as Governor of Tennessee from 1845 to 1847. In 1857 he was appointed by President James Buchanan as United States Postmaster General, and served from 1857 until his death in office in 1859.
Major Eugene C. Lewis was an American engineer and businessman. He served as the chairman of the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway from 1900 to 1917. As a civic leader, he helped develop Shelby Park and Centennial Park, including the Parthenon, as well as Union Station.
Col Vernon King Stevenson – The foremost promoter of railroads in antebellum Tennessee and the founder and first president of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. Stevenson died in New York City on October 18, 1884, leaving an estate valued at five million dollars. He lived the proverbial American dream of starting near the bottom, as a small merchant, and rising to the top of society as a railroad president and a successful millionaire. Stevenson had 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. Needless to say, this action did not endear Stevenson to Nashvillians left in the occupied city.
Fanny Battle – Confederate spy and social reformer. While Nashville was occupied by Union forces, she was one of many female spies who obtained a pass and visited town often to gather information. She and her sister were discovered smuggling documents, and were sent to prison in the former Tennessee State Penitentiary, and then later to the Old Capitol Prison in Washington DC. She was released after the war, and returned to Nashville, where she taught at several schools from 1870 to 1886. She helped form a relief society for Nashville, to help victims of floods, as well as other homeless and poor people, and served as its treasurer. In 1891 she established the first daycare in Nashville, which is still running and now called “The Fannie Battle Day Home for Children.”
John Catron – United States Supreme Court Associate Justice. Born in Wythe County, Pennsylvania, he relocated to Kentucky in the first years of the 19th Century and served with Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812. After the war, he studied law, was admitted to the Bar in 1815 and commenced to practice law in Nashville, Tennessee. He gave up his law practice for a two-year term as Attorney General for the third circuit, was elected judge of the Tennessee Supreme Court of Errors and Appeals in 1824 and he became the first Tennessee Supreme Court chief justice in 1831. Just before leaving office, President Jackson appointed Catron to the U.S. Supreme Court, on May 1, 1837. He served for the next twenty-eight years, took part in a number of cases of constitutional significance, such as slave desputes and with the outbreak of the Civil War, tried to convince Tennessee State leaders to remain in the Union.
Smiley Jordan Blanton – Psychiatrist, Author. He gained wide acclaim with his work with Rev. Norman Vincent Peale and authoring several psychiatric books. A Freud-trained psychiatrist, Dr. Blanton teamed with Peale to begin a religious-psychiatric clinic during the Great Depression in the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. They were trying to respond to the deep-rooted psychiatry needs of the church’s congregation. In 1951, this clinic was organized into the American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry. When Blanton met Freud in 1935 in Vienna , Austria, he was encountering Nazi army persecution of the Jews. Blanton urged Freud to leave the country before he was sent to a concentration camp and killed. Freud agree that his life was in danger, and inscribed a copy of “The Interpretation of Dreams” as a gift to Blanton. This may be the reason there was not a 1936 session as Freud was escaping to England.
William Brimage Bate – Civil War Confederate Major General, Tennessee Governor, US Senator. At age 19 he enlisted as a Private for service in the Mexican War (1846 to 1848), rising to the rank of Lieutenant in the 3rd Tennessee Volunteer Infantry. After the war he studied law, served in the Tennessee House of Representatives (1849 to 1851), and became a practicing attorney in Gallatin in 1852. He was elected Nashville District Attorney General in 1854. When the Civil War began, Bate joined the Confederate forces as Colonel of the 2nd Tennessee Infantry and first saw action at the First Battle of Manassas (July 1861).
Judge John Overton – A lawyer, Overton came to the Nashville area in 1789. He, along with Generals Andrew Jackson and James Winchester, founded the city of Memphis, TN in 1819. His home Traveler’s Rest, built in the 1790s is now an historic site. His wife, Mary (1782- 1862) was the daughter of General James White, founder of the city of Knoxville, TN.
Sumner Memorial Gardens, Gallatin, TN
Conway Twitty. Musician. Born Harold Lloyd Jenkins in Friars Point, Mississippi. In 1957 he changed his name to Conway Twitty by using the names of two cities, Conway, Arkansas and Twitty, Texas. His first single on the MGM label, “It’s Only Make Believe” went to #1 in 1958 and made him an instant teen idol. He had several other pop hits including, “Danny Boy”, “Is A Bluebird Blue” and “Lonely Blue Boy”, but by 1965 he made the switch to country music. He moved to Nashville in 1968 and became one of the most successful artists in the history of country music with over 40 #1 songs. Among his biggest solo hits were “Hello,Darlin”, “You’ve Never Been This Far Before”, “Linda On My Mind”, “Happy Birthday Darlin”, “Tight Fittin’ Jeans”, “Slow Hand”, and “Desperado Love”. He also teamed with Loretta Lynn on #1 songs such as “After The Fire Is Gone”, “Lead Me On”, “Louisiana Woman,Mississippi Man”, and “As Soon As I Hang Up The Phone”.
Nashville City Cemetery, Nashville, TN
Felix Kirk Zollicoffer. Civil War Confederate Brigadier General, US Congressman. A supporter of the Whig Party, after his return from military service he became editor and publisher of “The Republican Banner”, which was the official newspaper for the Whig Party in Tennessee in 1843. He entered politics, being elected and serving as the state’s Comptroller from 1845 to 1849, serving as Tennessee’s Adjutant General, and in the Tennessee State Legislature. After supporting General Winfield Scott for the 1852 Presidential Election and the disintegration of the Whig Party in the 1850s, he joined the American Party, and was elected to represent Tennessee’s 8th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. The first Confederate general to die in combat in what is considered the Western Theatre of the war, General Zollicoffer’s death, along with timely Union re-enforcements, turned the tide of the battle, and the Confederates were driven from the field. His remains were recovered by the Union, who had it embalmed and forwarded it to Confederate lines.
James Randolph Robertson. Founder of Nashville, “Father of Tennessee.” Robertson, leading a group of settlers from North Carolina to Tennessee, founded Fort Nashborough on Christmas Day of 1779. Named for Revolutionary War General Francis Nash, the name was changed in 1784 to Nashville. Robertson became well respected by the Indian tribes of Tennessee and worked to create many peace treaties with them. He is called by many historians “The Father of Tennessee.”
Felix Randolph Robertson. Nashville Mayor. He was the first white male child born in the settlement of Nashville. He was the son of Nashville founder James Robertson. As an adult, he served as the mayor of Nashville (1818-1819). He was the president of the Texas Association, a group who planned on creating a colony in Texas. He led a party of thirty Tennesseans to Texas in 1826 and established a permanent camp there. Robertson returned to Tennessee where he was elected to another term as the mayor of Nashville.
Capt William Driver. Gave the flag the term “Old Glory”. Mariner, Patriot. Born in Salem, Massachusetts, at age 13, he ran away from home to be a cabin boy on a sailing ship. At 21, he qualified as a master mariner and was licensed to sail a ship. As Captain of his own ship, his mother sewed an American flag which he nicknamed “Old Glory” and hoisted on the main mast. Among his sea adventures, he sailed to Australia and twice around the world. In 1831, departed Salem on a voyage to the South Pacific which included the escort of sixty-five descendants of the Bounty survivors from Tahiti back to their home on Pitcairn Island. He left the sea in 1837, moved to Nashville and became a salesman for various Nashville businesses. Every holiday, he displayed “Old Glory” outside his house. During the Civil War, Driver remained loyal to the Union and sewed “Old Glory” into a quilt for safekeeping. When the Union Army occupied Nashville, he gave the flag to the troops to be flown for a short time over the State Capitol.
William Carroll. Tennessee Governor. He was a successful hardware merchant when he relocated to Tennessee, in 1808. At the outbreak of the War, he was appointed Captain of the Nashville Uniform Volunteers and for his actions was promoted Colonel. Elected Major General of the Tennessee Militia, he led his troops to victory at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815. Following the war, he resumed his business career in Nashville, Tennessee and was elected as a Democrat the 5th Governor of Tennessee, serving three terms, (1821-35). As Governor, he was known for having put Tennessee on sound financial footing during his years as the state’s chief executive. After leaving office, he returned to private life until his death at age 56. Carroll County Tennessee is named in his honor.
Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens, Goodlettsville, TN
David “Stringbean” Akeman. Comedian, Country Musician. One of the top musical stars of Nashville, Tennessee’ Grand Old Opry during his career, he is best known for being one of the original members the comedy and country music television variety show “Hee Haw”, which he starred in from 1969 until his murder in 1973. He and his wife were killed by burglars, who had heard rumors about them storing cash in his house, and laid in wait until the Akemans arrived home from the Ryman Auditorium (where the Grand Ole Opry was located at the time). The Akemans were known not to trust banks, and “Stringbean” always carried several thousand dollars at a time in his overalls, and he frequently showed it to friends and associates. After killing the Akemans, burglars packed several valuable items, including several firearms, in a pillowcase. The morning after, the Akemans’ friend and neighbor, Louis Marshall “Grandpa” Jones, discovered the bodies, alerted police, and testified in court, positively identifying one of the stolen pistols as one he (Jones) gave “Stringbean” as a present. In 1996, someone discovered $20,000 of the Akeman’s cash hidden above the fireplace. (The cash had long since rotted.)
Hawkshaw Hawkins. Country Musician. Patsy Cline had participated in a benefit concert in Kansas City for the family of a disc jockey (“Cactus” Jack Call) who had died in a car accident. Ramsey (Randy) Hughes, Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and Cowboy Copas, were all in Hughes Piper Comanche, when it crashed just west of Camden, TN in a hollow along a ridge line in a heavily wooded area known as Fatty Bottom, near a fire tower off Mule Barn Rd. in Sandy Point, about 5 miles west of the Tennessee River.
James W “Jimmy” Elrod. He was a 5-string banjo picker and guitarist. He played for Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys in 1957. In the 1950’s he also played banjo for Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper.
Calvary Cemetery – Nashville, TN – Eddie Rabbit – Singer, Songwriter. Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in East Orange, New Jersey, he was one of the most innovative country artists of alltime. His recording career began in 1964 but he didn’t establish himself until he moved to Nashville in 1968. His earliest success was as a songwriter. In 1970 Elvis Presley recorded his song “Kentucky Rain” and in 1974 Ronnie Milsap had his first number one country single with the Eddie Rabbitt composition “Pure Love”. In 1975 he signed with Elektra Records and from 1976 to 1988 he had 33 consecutive Top 10 hits on the country charts, 16 of them reaching number 1. Many of those songs also crossed over onto the pop charts. Among his biggest crossover hits were “You And I”(a duet with Crystal Gayle), “Step By Step”, “Drivin’ My Life Away” (from the movie “Roadie” starring Meat Loaf), and “I Love A Rainy Night” which reached number 1 on both the pop and country charts. His biggest success on the country charts came in 1979 with the title song from the Clint Eastwood movie “Every Which Way But Loose”.
Greenwood Cemetery – Nashville, TN
Mattie Eliza Howard Coleman – Missionary, Suffragist. Born in Tennessee, in 1870, she was one of the first African American women to become a physician graduating from Meharry Medical College. Active in religious rights and freedoms, she married R.J. Coleman, a CME minister in the Tennessee Conference in the early 1900s. She organized a women’s bible forum and was the first president of the Women’s Missionary Council, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, serving 1918 to 1939.
DeFord Bailey – Musician and Country Music Hall of Fame Member. A grandson of slaves, he was not just the first African American to appear on the Grand Ole Opry, he was the first star to appear. The show was originally named the WSM Barn Dance, but when it became a part of the NBC network in 1927 it was renamed The Grand Ole Opry and George D Hay, the announcer, introduced one of the Barn Dance’s most frequent and popular performers as the “Harmonica Wizard” – DeFord Bailey. Bailey did his classic train song, “The Pan American Blues.” He remained on the Grand Ole Opry from 1927 to 1941 when they fired him. There were many reasons given for the firing. Some said it was racism. Some said he played the same songs over and over and refused to learn new material. Some say it was because a license conflict with his recording company prevented him from playing his best music on the air. For whatever the reason, he was out of the business and spent 30 years shining shoes at his shop on Twelfth Avenue, South in Nashville. His career was brought to mind again in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and he made an appearance on a local syndicated show called “Night Train.”
Buchanan Cemetery – Nashville, TN
“Major” John Buchanan (born in January 12, 1759) was an American frontiersman and one of the founders of present-day Nashville, Tennessee. He is best known for defending his fort, Buchanan Station, from an attack by several hundred Native American Indians on September 30, 1792. The defense at Buchanan’s Station saved early Nashville, which was unprepared after dismissing rumors of an incoming Indian onslaught. On their part, the Indians recoiled, splitting into small parties that caused considerable damage to outlying homesteads but abandoned the major attack on Nashville. Nor was any like invasion attempted again. The defense of Buchanan’s Station not only spared Nashville, but raised the morale of the pioneers at a dark and difficult time, and was frequently recalled in the following decades as a symbol of the courage and determination of the founders of the state of Tennessee.