My Graveyard Stories

Since I was a little girl visiting the old churches in the Smokies, I have enjoyed exploring graveyards.  But in March 2014 I took this interest to the next level when I started visiting, photographing, and writing about cemeteries on a regular basis.  I try to tell a story, talk about what feelings or ideas a particular graveyard inspires for me, and include information about the history of the cemetery and some of the people who rest there.
The purpose of this post is to collect all the links to those stories to make it more convenient for interested readers.  I’m also including a “teaser” and a favorite picture. (You’ll notice the quality of the pictures improves as the months go by–at least I think so!)
Dust to Dust
In this first post, I visit Byington Cemetery and Ball Camp Pike Baptist Cemetery, both in Northwest Knox County.
cemetery ball camp baptist6
Graveyards and Country Roads
Brimer Cemetery and Beaver Ridge Cemetery, which are across the road from each other in Northwest Knox County, are covered in this post.
beaver creek cemetery 3
A Visit to Third Creek Cemetery
This Northwest Knoxville Cemetery inspires thoughts on the huge problem of cemetery upkeep.
TCB 29
And This Is Why They Call It Gallaher View
Beautiful views abound in this popular post about Edgewood Cemetery in West Knoxville.

An Afternoon at Grassy Valley
Grassy Valley Baptist Church Cemetery in West Knoxville is a reminder of a time when the Kingston Pike area of West Knoxville was still a grassy valley.
GV 20
Dutchtown, Loveville, Graveyards, and Progress
This post muses on how graveyards like Concord Mennonite Church Cemetery maintain oases of beauty amidst development in West Knoxville and elsewhere.
CM 6
Graveyard Roundup
In this post I visit cemeteries in South Knoxville, Northwest Knox County, and the Great Smoky Mountains.
Island Home Baptist Church Cemetery
Here I cover a South Knoxville Cemetery in the historic Island Home neighborhood.
My First “Foreign” Cemetery
This cemetery is farther afield–I took these pictures while visiting my son at Notre Dame.
nd 18
The Mystery of Lebanon Cemetery
Another Northwest Knox County cemetery that I found with the help of Siri, and the history of which is a little obscure.LC 8
A Churchyard without a Church
Located in the Solway community, this African-American churchyard is missing its church, but people are still being laid to rest at Branch Hill Methodist Cemetery.
Branch Hill 1
What’s in a Name
Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Cemetery is another African-American cemetery, this one no longer active, located in West Knoxville.
MP 5
Rocky Hill Baptist Cemetery
This surprisingly large cemetery lies in the heart of the Rocky Hill community.
RH 23
The Living and the Dead
In which I explain why and how I write my cemetery stories, in response to a minor uproar caused by my prior post.
cemetery ball camp baptist4
Byrd’s Chapel, Old and New
This graveyard in West Knox County is one of the prettiest ones I’ve seen.
Byrd 1
One Cemetery, Two Names
I’ve driven by this tiny graveyard on Oak Ridge Highway thousands of times, and it was exciting to explore it at last.
May 27
Stanton Cemetery
You’ll find this graveyard along a trail in the South Knoxville Urban Wilderness.
Stanton 17
An Autumn Afternoon at Holloway Cemetery
This “pauper’s cemetery” in West Knoxville is overgrown but picturesque, at least in the autumn.Holliway 27
Smoky Mountain Graveyard
You’ll have to climb a steep hill to find this small family cemetery on the Gatlinburg side of the Smokies.
smokies 15
A Grey Afternoon at Grigsby Chapel
This Methodist cemetery is in the heart of Farragut.
Grigsby 32
Stoney Point Baptist Church Cemetery
This is a charming and well-kept graveyard in the Hardin Valley Community.
Stoney Point 11
The Desecration of Davenport Cemetery
In which I tell the sad story of a graveyard that has succumbed not to age or neglect but to deliberate destruction.
davenport 16
Cedar Springs Presbyterian Cemetery: Forgotten But Not Gone
In which I profile a very old cemetery that I would like to see highlighted for its history.
cedar springs 14
Middlebrook Cemetery: The One That Made Me Sad
In which I explore a cemetery with a sad and mysterious history.
MB 19
Graveyards Can Be Happy Places: A Visit to Hickory Creek
In which I write about a lovely cemetery rich in history that will leave you feeling joyful, not sad.
HC 2
Pleasant Forest: A Tale of Two Cemetery
A beautiful historic cemetery marred by one section that is not being properly maintained.
A History-Filled Afternoon at Lebanon in the Fork Presbyterian Cemetery
A cemetery in a beautiful location, it is home to Knox County’s oldest marked grave.
Bookwalter Cemetery: Pretty But Not Peaceful
Hemmed in by neighborhoods and a busy road, this beautiful old cemetery has a troubled past.
I will add to this page every time I write about another cemetery, so you can bookmark it to make sure you don’t miss anything!

23 thoughts on “My Graveyard Stories

  1. Pingback: Stoney Point Baptist Cemetery | Life in Every Limb

  2. Wow this was a fascinating glance at cemeteries! I live down the block from two of them but they’re more modern and flat. It always stirs a strange feeling in me though when I visit and see the more recent graves filled with flowers, compared to the ones from a longer time, devoid of any. It’s sort of sad to think that in just a few decades time, how easily people are forgotten.

  3. Hey there, kindred spirit! You’ve got some beautiful shots. You really capture that earthy, peaceful cemetery feeling. I’m looking forward to following your site.

  4. Anthony Shultz

    Hi, I know the location of a “hidden” family style grave yard in Knoxville. It’s rather neglected and unkempt, but can be striking in spring and set at the base of a massive White Oak. It is also accessible to the public. I will not, however, post the location for all to see. Significant damage has already occured from local teenagers. Feel free to email me directly if you so desire.

  5. I really enjoyed this post, Leslie. My, your photography has improved…lovely photos! Is it weird that I visit my own grave? I have my own real estate…what a lovely christmas present it was when my mother gifted my sister and I with our very own burial plots alongside hers. So sometimes, I just go sit on top of it and appreciate the view from above…while I still can, right? I love graveyards. They have so much energy and history. The nature and quiet adds to the beauty of the sites.

    1. I love this comment. 🙂 I don’t have my own grave but I do know what cemetery I’d like to be buried in. It’s not the prettiest one but it’s the Catholic cemetery and I know so many people there I would feel like I was among friends. I’m glad to find you share my appreciation for graveyards!

  6. That is so interesting Leslie. Old grave yards are so interesting and seeing the dates of how old people were when they died. They would have been loved and missed by someone. Most of them anyway. I guess I am tired, I had to stop reading as it was making me sad.
    Just so interesting though and some of the photos were beautiful.
    Fridays Blog Booster Party#5

  7. Pingback: The Desecration of Davenport Cemetery: What Is WRONG with People? | Life in Every Limb

  8. Pingback: Cedar Springs Presbyterian Cemetery: Forgotten But Not Gone | Life in Every Limb

  9. Pingback: Middlebrook Cemetery: The One That Made Me Sad | Life in Every Limb

  10. Pingback: Graveyards Can Be Happy Places: A Visit to Hickory Creek | Life in Every Limb

  11. Pingback: Pleasant Forest: A Tale of Two Cemeteries | Life in Every Limb

  12. Pingback: Bookwalter Cemetery: Pretty But Not Peaceful | Life in Every Limb

  13. Janis Odom

    While I have visited over 20 cemeteries in Knox, Meigs, McMinn Counties I have focused on Family Lineage rather than the beauty of the cemetery itself. However, I have photographs of every place I have visited and can tell you that most are well maintained even if there have been no burials in decades. As you see I wrote another post asking for physical help, financial help, for Third Creek Baptist Church to make sure the cemetery has upkeep in alliance with the church grounds. I have brought two crews from Chattanooga to clean out the fence row. I myself have spent about twenty hours spraying around each and every tombstone. But, age is keeping me from the work that needs to be done. I would love to talk with you particularly about Third Creek to see if you have ideas how to get the community involved to help the church, help the cemetery, care for those graves and remaining headstones. Yes, there were many stones closer to the road when I was a child. Vandals have destroyed, carried off, and pulled up many of the oldest monuments. Please get in touch with me at your convenience.

    1. I love that you have put work into maintaining the cemetery itself. I agree with you that most cemeteries show efforts at maintenance. Long-term maintenance is always going to be a concern. I’m afraid I cannot be directly involved in those efforts, however. My contribution is in my writing which I hope may draw some awareness to the problem. My financial contributions go to my own parish cemetery, Calvary Cemetery just east of downtown (which I have yet to write a post about!). The best idea I can come up with other than writing to raise awareness is to foster a sense of responsibility in the community, maybe especially in the case of an historic cemetery by acquainting them with that history and trying to make them take pride in it. On a more practical note, my parish has a committee that hosts monthly work days to maintain our cemetery.

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