TOMBSTONE INSCRIPTIONS FROM BLACK CEMETERIES IN MADISON COUNTY, TENNESSEE, compiled by Jonathan K. T. Smith
COPYRIGHT, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 1995
Special thanks go to Jonathan K. T. Smith for his work to preserve and share this information about black cemeteries in Madison County and for giving permission to convert this work to web pages.
TO ALL PERSONS WHO USE THIS CEMETERIES BOOK
This book was prepared as a volunteer public service, as a tribute to the black folk of Madison County who have passed away and to their living descendants. It has been copyrighted simply to protect the format of the book itself; the tombstone inscriptions are in the public domain and are not to be claimed exclusively by anyone or any group or agency. A conscious effort was made to copy every tombstone inscription in Madison County but as some tombstones have been destroyed by unrelenting nature and occasional vandalism and as many inscriptions have faded or crumbled some such records will not be reported herein; also regrettably human error may account for some tombstone inscriptions that were overlooked. This is not designed as an account of all burials in any cemetery; it is a TOMBSTONE INSCRIPTIONS survey. Anyone who notices tombstones that are not reported, but were in existence in December 1994, hopefully very few, may place this information in a file kept on black cemeteries in the Tennessee Room of the Jackson-Madison County Public Library in Jackson.
The inspiration for the work that has resulted in this "cemetery book" was offered to me by Mr. Robert Donald Taylor, Jr., assistant librarian of the Tennessee Room, Jackson-Madison County Library in Jackson, Tennessee. Having seen some of my tombstone listings for several local cemeteries, he encouraged me to undertake a wider range of such listings. So it is that the compiled results of this project were initially meant to be filed in the Tennessee Room. However as the listings grew it seemed more desirable to put the final results into a publication to be placed in the Tennessee Room and several other libraries with genealogical collections. Mr. Jack Darrel Wood, Tennessee Room librarian, has continued to be helpful also. Mr. Calvin Stanford McBride, a man thoroughly interested in the preservation of the black heritage in Jackson and Madison County, also interested me in the worthwhile contributions to society made by the local black citizenry, particularly in the early part of this century. Mr. Travis Franklin very kindly implemented my list of Madison County cemeteries. Others have been helpful, including people living in the communities I have visited looking for pertinent cemeteries. Thankfully, they have been consistently and patiently helpful. I did not have to contend during the period of compilation with churlish or bigotted persons of whatever racial composition.
II. Use of the Data
I have made a consistent effort to be accurate in copying data from "tombstones" (including everything from stone to rock, metal, wood and funeral home markers); hopefully I have made few errors in transcribing such data from often difficult-to-read inscriptions. I could not always read inscriptions (usually those too worn), especially epitaphs. The work for this publication was done late in 1994 and very early January 1995. One needs to remember that this is not a cemetery survey. It is a compilation of legible inscriptions from tomb-markers known to me. It is likely that some tombstones have been overlooked, those marking graves in isolated and forgotten places such as family graveyards and burial grounds of long- abandoned church sites.
As many persons checking these data will not live locally I have given cemetery locations, noted whether or not there are graves without markers and if any markers have fallen. I have noted the fallen stones as such in order to "clue" persons looking for specific tombstones that they may need to probe the ground or search through leaves and vegetation for such stones. Unfortunately as time passes the natural elements take a fearful toll on tomb-markers and there is evidence of occasional vandalism in cemeteries. Persons interested in knowing where deceased individuals of interest to them are buried, if their graves appear to be presently unmarked, may find it useful to check the death records (available generally since 1914 in Tennessee) of the Tennessee Health Department or contact the several funeral homes in Jackson (Bledsoe, Ford, Mercer and Stephenson-Shaw) for relevant information from their files. These funeral homes and sometimes other nearby counties funeral homes have provided a fine service through their "temporary" grave markers.
Jonathan K. T. Smith
United States Copyright Registration No.3-979-375
A NOTE ON SCANNING FOR WEB PAGE PRESENTATION
In producing web pages based on Mr. Smith's cemeteries book, it was necessary to alter the format. Most notably, the original entries for most cemeteries were in a stacked format and presented in columns. I have used a linear/paragraph-like format for these web pages, which allows more entries on a screen and reduces the length of the files for printing. In typing his original manuscript, Mr. Smith alternated between the left and right columns as he added entries. The web pages have all left column entries, then all right column entries. One result is that family groups are split in some cases. There was no easy way to avoid this problem. For the larger cemeteries Mr. Smith's original page numbers are noted. This will help people using the indices.
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