Benevolent Cemetery No.11

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A few weeks ago a friend of mine had come into my part time job at the gym. While shooting the breeze my friend Mathew mentioned that he and his wife had stumbled upon and old and clearly forgotten cemetery. He gave me an idea of it’s whereabouts and a name. I went to work using Google searching for Benelovent Cemetery. Benev 93-Edit copy

My internet search was short and lead me to Benevolent Society No. 11 . Was a society and resting place for African Americans in Murfreesboro, TN. From what research I did I learned that the land for the Society was purchased in 1897 and has around 650 plots  of laborers, Doctors, and Veterans from World War 1 and the Spanish American War.

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Some of the members of the society were

  • Berry Seward was the first African American electrician in Murfreesboro.
    George C. Harden was a medical doctor and graduate of Meharry Medical College.
  • Dr. John McClellan, a medical doctor. He graduated from Meharry in 1880 and worked his entire career in Murfreesboro.
  • Dave Ransom was a railroad laborer and worked for the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Rail Road

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Beyond that I did not learn much else other than in 1931 the Society’s property changed hands. I wish I could tell you more about what happened to the Society and the cemetery and likely I will do more research into it. For now though I guess I will just post the photos I took today. Sadly this is what happens when we forget the past and who the past was. This cemetery is a sad example of why my photography is titled Forgotten Tennessee.

Below are my sources for information. Please visit them. If you the reader have more info motion please feel free to leave your remarks and or message me.

Shout out to Justin Stokes for coming along on this shoot.

Sources of info

https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&CRid=9162

https://leighanngardner.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/benevolent-cemetery-presentation-4-26-14.pdf

http://tn-africanamericanlodges.blogspot.com/2013/07/benevolent-cemetery-murfreesboro.html