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.
LGC 1
Island Home Baptist Church Cemetery
Here I cover a South Knoxville Cemetery in the historic Island Home neighborhood.
IHB 2
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.
PF74
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.
LITF4
Bookwalter Cemetery: Pretty But Not Peaceful
Hemmed in by neighborhoods and a busy road, this beautiful old cemetery has a troubled past.
BWMC 49
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!
 

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  1. Nina says:

    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.

  2. lsmoore says:

    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.

  3. Anthony Shultz says:

    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. Tshultz84@gmail.com

  4. 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.

    • lesliesholly says:

      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!

  5. Kathleen says:

    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.
    Kathleen
    Fridays Blog Booster Party#5

  6. Jess says:

    I love old cemeteries! Those pictures are beautiful – capturing all of your posts in one place is a great idea. #blogboosterparty

  7. These are very beautiful places. In our city we have a cemetery that has millionaire row. They have beautiful stained glass in their mausoleums.

  8. Roshni says:

    They all look very peaceful! And, well maintained!

  9. tracymomblog says:

    Just discovered your blog. Looking forward to reading more. Asbury Cemetery in Forks of the River is a lovely cemetery with some very old graves and it is still being used.

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