February is recognized at Black History Month acknowledging the
Did you know there was once a thriving African American community
in Rutherford County known as the Cemetery Community?
That’s right, the community once known as Cemetery was established
mostly by freed slaves right after the American Civil War. They
became landowners, shop keepers, educators, ministers and leading
members of our community.
In fact, the first residents of Cemetery were former members of the
United States Colored Troops, whose job was to build and maintain
the newly created Stones River National Cemetery, located right
across the road from the Stones River National Battlefield.
At its peak, the Cemetery Community was home to more than 30
Cemetery was located just north of the Stone River National
Battlefield, on the Old Nashville Pike. Cemetery hosted:
and even a local general store.
This area was commonly known as ‘Cemetery’ yet there were two
communities – the Cedars and the Bottoms (not to be confused with
the Bottoms near downtown Murfreesboro).
In 1927, Congress sanctioned the creation of Stones River National
Military Park, selecting roughly 325 acres of land near the existing
Stones River National Cemetery as the location for the new Stones
River National Military Park.
Many landowners objected to the federal government impounding
the land their forefathers worked so hard to acquire.
Today, very little evidence of the Cemetery Community exists within
the boundaries of the Stones River National Battlefield. Yet, several
buildings, a school, two churches and thousands of stories associated
with the Cemetery community endure just beyond the boundaries of
the Stones River National Battlefield.
You too can help preserve and promote Rutherford County history by
joining the Rutherford County Historical Society for only $25-a-year
for the entire immediate family.
And please stop by the Ransom School House, built in 1840, 717 North
Academy Street only a few blocks from downtown Murfreesboro, any
Saturday morning between 9AM and noon and share YOUR local
And as always, enjoy this story and 2,000 other stories concerning
Rutherford County history by visiting www.rutherfordtnhistory.org.