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Greenwood Cemetery, Columbia TN

By Laura Bentley


This beautiful old gem of a cemetery is located in the city of Columbia, Maury County, Tennessee. It was founded in 1809 and was the only public cemetery for many years until Rose Hill was opened. It contains many graves that are only marked with a piece of wood simply labeled “Unknown” and more still that have no kind of marking at all. Only oblong depressed areas within the rock wall tells of the many unmarked graves.


This lovely old southern gem contains quiet a few box tombs. Though some are damaged and several are in poor condition you will still be able to see several fine examples of this type of grave cover.



Greenwood cemetery contains the graves of the parents of President James K. Polk the 11th President of the United States. Major Samuel Polk and his wife Jane Gracy Knox Polk have several children buried here as well. Samuel and Jane’s grave’s are covered with box tombs.


Another interesting feature of Greenwood are the large amount of unusual headstone shapes. This is reflective of the early 1800’s style.


One interesting tomb shares the story of Jane Brown. It tells the story of how she lost her husband as well as two sons when they were attacked by Cherokee Indians. She was taken by the Cherokee along with others in their group. This tomb is flat on the ground and may be a little hard to find but the story it contains is well worth the search.
Thank you and happy cemetery hunting!



Exactly as written on the stone:
Sacred to the Memory of the Widow Jane Brown who departed this life the 4th day of June, 1831, aged near 91 years as she was born 22nd June, 1740. She was 71 years a member of the Presbyterian Church & died in the triumph of a living faith. Her husband, James Brown, Esqr. was murdered by the Cherokee Indians on the Tennessee River, the 9th of May, 1788 with two sons and 5 other young men, and his wife and five children were taken prisoner. Some of them got back to the white settlement in one year, other longer, and one was five years.
O Reader, these….. people lost their lives and liberty in obtaining this good land that you enjoy. O be ready to leave and go to the good world

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