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Mount Olivet Cemetery
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Location: 1101 Lebanon Pike
Nashville, Tennessee
Added to NRHP: November 25, 2005
NRHP Reference#: 05001334

Mount Olivet Cemetery is a 250-acre (1 km²) cemetery located in Nashville, Tennessee.

Mount Olivet has been continuously operated since its establishment in 1856. It serves as the final resting place for many of Middle Tennessee's political and business leaders, including several former governors of Tennessee, U.S. Senators, and U.S. Congressional Representatives.

After the American Civil War, women of Nashville formed an association to raise funds to purchase a separate plot of land at the cemetery for the interment of Confederate dead. It became known as "Confederate Circle". It was used for the interment of Confederate soldiers who had died on nearby battlegrounds and as a memorial to their sacrifice. Women organized such memorial associations and raised money for interment of Confederate soldiers in major cities across the South and areas where there were concentrations of bodies.[1] The memorial association arranged for burials of about 1,500 soldiers at Confederate Circle. Confederate veterans were also eligible for interment there.

For many years, interments at Mount Olivet were limited to white Protestants. Although this policy was officially eliminated decades ago, tradition has continued the practice, somewhat by self-selection. In the 1990s, a funeral home was added to the grounds of Mount Olivet.

Immediately adjacent to the west, Calvary Cemetery has long served as the preferred burying place of Middle Tennessee Catholics. The two facilities are separated only by grass; one can walk from one cemetery to the other, although each has a separate entrance. Cars cannot pass between the two.

Approximately one mile (1.6 km) to the south is Greenwood Cemetery, where many of the most prominent African-American residents of Middle Tennessee have been buried.

Mount Olivet Cemetery is located at 1101 Lebanon Road, approximately two miles (three km) east of downtown Nashville. It is open to the public during daylight hours.

Notable burials

  • Adelicia Acklen, wealthy Nashville businesswoman and socialite
  • William B. Bate, Governor of Tennessee (1883 to 1887), American Civil War general
  • John Bell, United States Senator and presidential candidate
  • Aaron V. Brown, Governor of Tennessee (1845 to 1847), United States Postmaster General from 1857 to 1859
  • George P. Buell, Union Army general
  • Joseph Wellington Byrns, United States Congressman and Speaker of the House
  • John Catron, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
  • Benjamin F. ("Frank") Cheatham, Confederate general during the American Civil War
  • Mary Hooper Donelson (1906-2000), noted Nashville Artist, Sculptor and Agriculturalist; owner of "Cleveland Hall"; 5th generation descendent of Nashville Founder Colonel John Donelson
  • John Donelson Jr (VII) (1901-1975), Professional Power Generation Engineer; owner of "Cleveland Hall"; 5th generation descendent of Nashville Founder Colonel John Donelson
  • Stockley Donelson (1805-1888), builder of "Cleveland Hall", grandson of Nashville Founder Colonel John Donelson, and Nephew of Rachel Donelson Jackson, Wife of President Andrew Jackson
  • Anne Dallas Dudley(1876-1955), women's suffrage activist
  • Jesse Babcock Ferguson, onetime minister of the Nashville Church of Christ, later associated with Spiritualism and Universalism
  • Thomas Frist, co-founder of Hospital Corporation of America and father of the former majority leader of the U.S. Senate, Bill Frist
  • Meredith Poindexter Gentry, United States Congressman
  • Alvan Cullem Gillem, Civil War Union general and post-bellum Indian fighter
  • Felix Grundy, United States Senator and Attorney General
  • Robert Kennon Hargrove (1829 – 1905), a Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South
  • E. Bronson Ingram, founder of Ingram Industries Inc., parent company of Ingram Barge Company; Ingram Book Company, the nation's largest book distributor; Ingram Micro; and other major companies
  • Howell Edmunds Jackson, United States Senator and Supreme Court Justice
  • William Hicks Jackson, Confederate general during the American Civil War
  • Thomas A. Kercheval, Tennessee State Senator and Mayor of Nashville
  • David Lipscomb, founder of Nashville Bible School (now Lipscomb University)
  • George Maney, Confederate Civil War general and U.S. Ambassador to Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay
  • Jack C. Massey, entrepreneur who helped found or take public Hospital Corporation of America, Kentucky Fried Chicken and two other NYSE-listed companies
  • Hill McAlister, Governor of Tennessee from 1933 to 1937
  • J. O. McClurkan, founder of the Literary and Bible Training School for Christian Workers (now Trevecca Nazarene University)
  • Benton McMillin, Governor of Tennessee (1899 to 1903)
  • John Overton, friend of Andrew Jackson and one of the founders of Memphis, Tennessee
  • James E. Rains, American Civil War general killed in the 1862 Battle of Murfreesboro
  • Fred Rose, music publishing executive
  • Thomas G. Ryman, steamboat captain, Nashville businessman, and builder of Ryman Auditorium
  • Vernon K. Stevenson, first president of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad
  • Ernest Stoneman, country music performer
  • Samuel Watkins, founder of Watkins Institute (now Watkins College of Art and Design)
  • Del Wood (1920-1989), pianist
  • Vern Gosdin 1934-2009 country music legend

Citations

  1. Drew Gilpin Faust, The Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, New York: Vintage Civil War Library, 2009, pp. 241-244

References

  • Wills, W. Ridley, II. A Walking Tour of Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Nashville, 1993.

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