Thanks to The News-Examiner for permission to reprint this article!
Note: All spelling, punctuation, and omissions are as they appeared in the article in the newspaper.
Sumner County cemeteries are the resting place of many
famous and interesting people. A book listing virtually all 590 known cemeteries in the county
and the remains residing in them is available in the Sumner County Library entitled "Sumner
County, Tenn., Cemetery Records" by Margaret Cummings Snide and Joan Hollis
In the Gallatin Cemetery is Eliza H. Allen, who died in 1861. She was the first wife of General and Governor Samuel Houston. Eliza's second marriage was to Dr. Elmore Douglass. She did not want to remarry and requested that her grave not be marked and it wasn't for many years until recently. She is buried with a daughter. Dr. Douglass's site is located in the back of the cemetery.
Gov. William Trousdale, 1790-1872, is also buried here. Trousdale had served in the military under Andrew Jackson and was later made a brigidier general in the U. S. Army for his efforts in the Mexican War. He was a member of the Tennessee State Senate and was elected governor in 1849. He later served as the U.S. Minister to Brazil from 1853 to 1856.
There is a Mexican mkonument located in the cemetery honoring those who died in the 1848 Mexican War. The original script on each side of the monument reads as follows:
'This monument was erected by the citizens of Sumner County to her patriotic sons who sacrificed their lives in defense of the glag of their country, in the war with Mexico in 1846, 1847, and 1848.
'Glory followed their train, and by their death, was increased. Their fame is all that survives them. In their graves all their remembrances are buried. Virtuous and esteemed in life, they have become glorious and immortal in death.
'May our country never feel the want of such heroes.'
The names listed on the monument are related to many present day citizens of Sumner County.
Also buried in the Gallatin Cemetery is Martin Barth. He was the telegrapher who taught Andrew Carnegie, a great steel and oil magnet, the morse code. As a philanthropist Carnegie founded the Carnegie libraries. He was in need of a job as a young boy and needed to learn the morse code to get a job as a telegrapher, which was a top paying position at that time.
The remains of Judge Josephus Conn Guild are in this cemetery. He was the builder of historic Rosemont and the author of "Old Times in Tennessee" which was written in the 1870's.
A courageous Sumner Countian, Vena Hamilton Stuart, is buried there also. Her father was John William Stuart who was in the battle of Vicksburg during the Civil War and lost an arm in combat. He chose not to stay in the hospital (where most men died) and was cared for in a private home and nourishedback to health by a woman named Vena Hamilton. Miss Hamilton fell in love with Stuart and desired to marry him, however, he was already committed to wed another woman, so he promised to name his first daughter after her.
This story is not commonly known and was told by Vena's siter Rose Stuart. He did as he promised, and Vena Stuart lived in Sumner County until she died in 1957 at the age of 88. She had taught school in Gallatin for 60 years.
The Rev. Peter Vertrees, 1840-1926, is buried in the Gallatin Cemetery. He was considered perhaps the most iminent black leader in Sumner County. Vertrees organized and founded the East Fork Missionary Baptist Association in 1875 which is still active. He also organized many churches and schools in the county along with a group caled Sons and Daughters of Charity, an organization which would act as a welfare system, taking care of people in need.
Pastor of the First Baptist Church on Winchester Street for 52 years, Vertrees also pastored all the many churches he organized. He served in the Confederate Army and was the superintendent of the black schools in Sumner County.
Old Shiloh Cemetery, located on Hartsville Pike, is the resting place of Griffith Rutherford, after whom Rutherford County was named. He served in the Revolutionary War as a general and commanded malitia units who fought mostly against the Indians who were helping the British. An excellent leader, Rutherford made his home near Cairo.
Gov. William Hall, who is called Tennessee's "first accidental governor" is buried in Hall Cemetery in Castalian Springs. He was speaker of the house and succeeded Houston as governor when he resigned because of a marriage scandal.
The first settlers in Sumner County, the Bledsoe brothers, are buried in the Pioneer Cemetery at Castalian Springs. Isaac was the first white man to come to this area that was populated with Indians. He came in 1772 while "long hunting" and called it Bledsoe's Lick.
Being especially fond of the area he returned in 1780 and brought his family with him. Isaac built a fort called Bledsoe and his brother Anthony built his fort named Greenfield. Anthony was killed at Bledsoe in 1787 during an Indian attack and Isaac was ambuushed in a field in 1792. Many, other prominent early settlers are also buried in this cemetery.
A slave trader and wealthy plantation owner named Isaac Franklin built a vault at Fairvue in the 1840s. The remains are a large pile of cut stone. The story goes that Franklin was in Louisiana when he died in 1846 and his body was shipped back to Sumner County preserved in the contents of three barrels of whiskey. The body was removed to Mt. Olivet Cemetery.
Gen. Daniel Smith was the man who named Tennessee and was the builder of the famous Rock Castle. He served in the U. S. Senate from 1805-1809 and also served in the first Sumner County Court in 1787. Smith was secretary of the territory and was the second ranking official at that time. He was a general in the Tennessee militia and was a noted surveyor who originally mapped the city of Nashville.
Smith died in 1818 and is buried in the family cemetery at the Hendersonville Presbyterian Church.
Smith's grandson was Gen. Daniel Smith Donelson after whom Fort Donelson was named. Educated at West Point, Donelson resigned to farm the family's 5-6,000 acre plantation. He served in the house of representatives in 1850 and was a brigadier general for the Confederate Army where he met his death.
The Franklin family cemetery at Golden Era on Pilot Knob Road in Gallatin contains the remains of Capt. James Franklin, a Revolutionary soldier who was the founder of Sumner County's wealthiest family. He lived from 1780-1861. This family built many beautiful brick houses between Gallatin and Hendersonville several of which still remain.
The family of Bishop William McKendree is buried at Fountain Head. He was the first American born Methodist bishop. The burial site is still here, however, the remains have been moved to the Vanderbilt University campus.