(MURFREESBORO) The Rutherford County Archaeological Society and the Historic Old City Cemetery Preversation Project held an open house Sunday afternoon (10/24/2021) at the old City Cemetery on 320 East Vine Street.
Project Director for the Old Cemetery Laura Bartel noted, "Whether you're new to the area or have lived here all of your life, the history in the cemetery gives you a feel for how the community developed and who were the movers and shakers in the area."
There were both Revolutionary War and Civil War soldiers buried here.
The Jetton family plot is in the Old City Cemetery, and this includes John Lewis Jetton (1778-1854). He purchased 250 acrers of land near Lytle Creek and the Stones River where he farmed and tanned hides.
Members of Revolutionary Col. Hardy Murfree's family are buried here, although his grave is deep in a family farm. In 1811, 5-years after his death, the Tennessee legislature renamed the town of Cannonsburgh to Murfreesboro in his honor. The original Cannonsburgh is approximately where the state's bicentennial attraction is now located.
The remains of the buried foundation for the city's first church, First Presbyterian, was located here within the grounds of the cemetery. It was also the city's first brick building. The the courthouse on the square burned, the church then doubled as a sanctuary, courthouse and since Murfreesboro was the state capitol--it was also used by the state senate and house.
Bartel created before and after photos that showed had many of the markers have disappeared over the decades. She had several photographs of the late 1940's and early 50's. Bartel then posted the same view today. It is sad how much has been destroyed or stolen by vandals.
Local historian, writer and realtor Bill Jakes told us about his new book The Wendel Papers, a collection of Civil War letters from one of Murfreesboro's first families. It is on sale at Country Gourmet and the gift shop at Oaklands Mansion.
Conversation about historic old letters that were found.
We talked with Jakes about how the book came about . . .
Jakes researched, compiled information and wrote the book with Sandra Campbell.
Rutherford County Archaeological Society
If you're interested in learning more about Rutherford County, become a member of the Rutherford County Archaeological Society. Individual yearly dues are $10, students are $5, and family dues are $25. It is a 501 (c) (3) organization. For more information, check their website: www.rutherfordarchaeology.org.