Benevolent Cemetery, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

During my research a few years ago, I came across this description of the Rutherford County, Tennessee – Benevolent Cemetery.  I referenced it as a source for my Great Grandparents place of burial.  Several months later I went back to the site to check on a new name that I’d come across only to find the website gone.  Fortunately, I recently found a re-posting of the same information.  This time, with all the proper citations and references in place, I post it here where I can control how long its available for research.

Rutherford County, Tennessee – Benevolent Cemetery

Made available to The USGenWeb Archives by Jim Walker – J-Walker@worldnet.att.net

From RUTHERFORD TODAY

1100 Broadway,

Nashville, TN 37203 fax # 259-8093

By Trine Tsouderos, Rutherford Today

Murfreesboro – A person could pick his way through the scrubby field off

Highway 231 and never know he was stepping on and over the remains of 320

souls. Johnson grass and other weeds obscure the stones marking hundreds of

graves, mostly of African-Americans, in the Benevolent Cemetery.

Pushing aside the weeds, the names on some of the stones are difficult to

read.

Some date back 100 years to when the cemetery was new and its owners, the

members of the Benevolent Lodge No. 11, were many and strong. The Benevolent

Lodge was an African-American club in Murfreesboro made up of members who

agreed to care for one another in illness and in mourning. Part of the

lodge’s legacy – the club itself is defunct – is its cemetery, which was

deeded over to Allen Chapel AME Church by one of the lodge’s oldest living

members, Mary Goodman.

The Rev. Melvin E. Hughes of Allen Chapel said his congregation periodically

received checks from local funeral homes because they had buried someone in

the Benevolent Cemetery. That helped pay for the upkeep, Hughes said.

But a few years ago, funeral homes stopped burying people in the cemetery,

and the checks stopped coming. Since then, the weeds have grown tall, the

graves have become obscured, and it has become easy to dismiss the cemetery

as a field of weeds. Hughes bemoans the state of the cemetery. The church

is in the midst of a major building program and simply does not have the money

to keep up the cemetery.

Donations or some kind of grant money is needed, he said. “At least to insure

it and keep it up,” Hughes said. He estimates it would take about $50,000 to

insure the cemetery and maybe put a fence up. Several people have made offers

to buy the cemetery land for business uses, which lies in a well-placed spot right

off Highway 231. So far, the church has turned them down. But Hughes said he has

contacted some local franchises about buying the cemetery. One half of it is still

available for burial, Hughes said. So far, there has been little interest in using

the cemetery for future burials, Hughes said.

Hughes said he hopes interest in the cemetery’s history and importance to

the county’s African-American community will spark donations to help pay for

its upkeep. Or perhaps people will start researching who is in the cemetery.

If some kind of historical significance can be attached to it, the church may be

able to obtain some kind of grant, he said. For instance, several people buried

in the Benevolence Cemetery apparently served in the Spanish-American War, in

which the United States joined Cuban rebels in the island’s fight for independence

from Spain in 1898.

For more information about the Benevolence Cemetery, call Allen Chapel AME

Church, 893-7842. The following names were taken off the tombstones in

Benevolent Cemetery in Murfreesboro and published in A History of

Rutherford County’s African-American Community by the Rev. Melvin E. Hughes

Sr. Some of the information is incomplete because of deterioration of the

grave markers.

NAME BIRTH DEATH COMMENTS

===============================================================================================

Walter Rucker Oct. 23 1924 September 24 1926

Savannah Rion Feb. 20 1898 Oct. 2 1899

Ellen Alexander 1831 Oct. 30 1911

Samuel and Minnie Shanes Family

Edgar Shane

Joe Shane

Willie Shane

Nexie Virginie Murfree March 2 1884 Nov. 1 1903

John B. McClellan Jr. Nov. 26 1894 May 13 1934

Joe Alexander 1820 June 15 1904

Louis McDowell Feb. 23 1910

Nathan Turner Jan. 7 1847 Jan. 11 1906

Ike Foster 1864 1959

Adam Delbridge

John Cheers

Isaac and Fanny Fisher:

Issac April 20 1904

Fanny April 4 1894

Sir Thomas Moore Sept. 24 1874 Jan. 22 1901

Nacissa Turner

Hattie Newell May 27 1879 Sept. 2 1898

Mindora Carney Aug. 28 1879 Aug. 30 1898

Richard Vaughn Nov. 5 1900 Dec. 18 1912

Frances Thompson 1893 Nov. 15 1903

Deck North Sept. 7 1909

Henry Smith

Belle Roberson May 10 1846 April 5 1908

Joseph R. Pickett March 12 1846 Oct. 21 1899

Rev. B.F. Anderson Feb. 15 1840 March 3 1915

Mattie B (rest of identification was destroyed)

Fred Barns 1850 1926

Lidda Howse April 9 1880 May 31 1931

Charley F. Howse

George Keeble Feb. 5 1910

Sons of William and Mary

L.I. Harden May 25 1856 1914

Dr. G.C. Harden Jan. 18 1856 July 28 1932

Ollie L. 1880 1954

Virgil 1884 1966

Oscar Sehorn

Fannie Alexander Lytle Nov. 13 1898 Nov. 13 1936

James and America Eules

Luke Malone Feb. 22 1933 July 11 1916

Mattie Pickette April 25 1897 July 17 1916

Rev. E.D. Childress April 19 1917

Matthew Thompson Sept. 18 1891 Dec. 12

Salem Jordan Sept. 27 1879 Oct. 11 1916

Annie Tilford 1870 May 27 1919 Star Chamber 399 Quite,TN

Willie Jarrett Feb. 6 1887 June 16 1939

Eldres Miller 1900 1967

George Scruggs March 17 1919

Nannie G. Williams

Lethia Cunningham

Lizzie AUSB April 13 18? Dec. 16 19? (Remainder of information

was destroyed)

Seward

Mattie Sue Long Aug. 25 1872 July 15 1955

Mariah 1845 1929

Hillard 1848 1918

Gustic Lasiter

Jimmie Lasiter 1851 1935

Felix Avent Oct. 28 1876 Aug. 6 1961

James Childress Feb. 4 1897 April 19 1927

Roxie and H Dillard

Annie Bell Butler 1898 1973

William Fletcher 1841 1926

Eugene M. 1881 1925

Fannie K. 1883 1927

Fannie Cowan 1889 1828

Winter 1831 1931

Terrie Fuggett 1886 1938

Thompson Feb. 19 1916 Dec. 5 1928

Dee Phillips Jan. 25 1928 ?

Minnie B. Woodson March 20 1881 Nov. 14 1929

Robert T. Johnson July 6 1902 Oct. 17 1929

Vernon Robinson

Seppie Quarles Dec. 21 1987

Mable Mitchell July 16 1988

Oscar Gordon Jr. July 19 1928

Carrie T. Weatherly Black June 9 1920

Homer Weatherly

Ben Sublett Sr. Oct. 5 1894 March 6 1933

Jim Hickman April 1 1957

Joseph Alexander 1867 1932

Maranda Hodge Sept. 10 1880 Aug. 6 1933

Van Hickman Feb. 23 1938

Wyoming Smith Nov. 11 1947

Clemmie E. Price Smith Nov. 11 1947

Ed Williams 1877 1947

Zera Smith March 25 1951

Hattie M. Johnson Sept. 6 1984 Oct. 27 1948

Irene James Keeble 1864 1951

Susie Murray Lyons 1866 1949

Fannie Prim Jarrett April 18 1898 July 14 1948

Fannie Ree Woodson 1916 1948

Nora Moore 1879 1944

Rufus Brandon Feb. 6 1963

Mattie Frazier McClain Aug. 25 1881 Dec. 25 1955

Robert Hyde Aug. 1 1905 Aug. 4 1955

Johnie 1984 1962

Carrie 1897 19?

Smith

Eva Mai Smith Feb. 21 1970

Ruth Smith Nov. 21 1969

Charlie Smith July 4 1879 April 11 1948

Alta Bonds

James Pickett 1871 1957

Eugene M. Woodson April 17 1912 May 12 1961

Frank Sublet 1876 1961

Rev. Jessie C. Alexander 1906 1968

Jim E. Gaine May 14 1964

Edna Mitchell May 1 1964

joe Robinson 1883 1963

Willie Robin King 1883 1967

Andrew King Nov. 13 1970

Joe W. McIntyre 1901 1971

Minnie H. McIntyre 1900 1966

Leana M. Jordan May 20 1870 Dec. 19 1964

Sam Ella Sanford 1910 1983

Pearline Haynes 1912 1963

Bessie Allen Oct. 12 1907 Feb. 10 1974

Armenta D. Norris May 17 1919 April 24 1974

Cora Ramsey

Early McGowan Sr. 1909 1984

Mary E. Davis Dec. 20 1984

Lutisha Allen Nov. 12 1886 Oct. 20 1972

Bishop S. Jarrett 1892 1970

Ruby Lee Womack Feb. 22 1919 May 10 1974

Rev. Hugh Trimble Feb. 8 1976

Everleana Reece June 27 1976

Vella McKnight 1886 1969

Millie Bass

Fannie C. Taylor Dec. 14 1906 Dec. 10 1971

Mildred Brown Jan. 18 1972

Leana Ramsey Dec. 12 1971

Annie Lou McGowan Oct. 22 1912 Dec. 24 1972

Minnie J. Hatchett 1910 1973

Nannie H. Jordan June 22 1985

Howard Moore 1900 1984

Maggie Kate Howse 1903 1984

Victoria Taylor Feb. 24 1886

Brenda Bigsby March 20 1986

Lucille Smith Nov. 10 1983

Joe M. McGuire (remainder of identification was lost)

Caleph Smith 1909 1983

John Thompson Jr. July 2 1932 April 23 1983

Wayman Johnson Jan. 1 1983

Minnie Brown Jan. 19 1983

H-llum Howse (remainder of identification was lost)

Leon Williams Sept. 24 1982

Cal H. Puckett May 26 1982

Johnny Crocckett May 26 1982

Hattie Crowford (remainder of identification was lost)

J-h Ferguson (remainder of identification was lost)

Christie Burns Dec. 5 1980

Earl Gatson Jan 1 1899 Nov. 6 1980

Bessie Nunn June 19 1919 Oct. 26 1979

Eugene Franklin Dec. 25 1927 Feb. 7 1979

Alonza Williams June 13 1978

Andy Drake March 5 1909 March 7 1978

Roosevelt Davis Feb. 13 1978

Randall Davis June 13 1989

Lizzie Maney May 26 1989

Charles Majors Jan. 17 1989

Walter Allen Dec. 3 1912 Dec. 15 1988

Goldie M. Davis 1912 1988

Joe Mosley March 31 1988

Calvin Anderson Feb. 19 1988

Mattie Mae Mullins May 14 1907 Feb. 23 1988

Lee. C. Fields Feb. 20 1903 Jan. 23 1988

Annie B. Smith June 12 1987

Henry C. Puckett Oct. 29 1932 Aug. 12 1987

William I. Brown May 18 1977

====================================================================

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This file was contributed for use in the USGenWeb

Archives by: Jim Walker

< J-Walker@worldnet.att.net >

====================================================================

5 Responses

  1. I am so excited, I really lucked up on your information by chance. I was looking for relatives of my grandmother, her name was Lucile Eules and she was born in Rutherford county…I do know that she was kin to America Eules but not exactly in what way…I am looking for more information in order to be able to pass this information on to my children and grandchildren…Lucile has one son and his name is James he lives in Antioch Tn, I live in Nashville

    • Glad I could help. I’m told that Benevolent has fallen upon some pretty hard times and has been on the block to some developers in recent years. I can remember visiting the cemetery as a young kid shortly after my 2nd Great Grand parents passed away. I hope to visit some. Hopefully some of this information will continue to be helpful in your journey.

    • I am also from Murfreesboro,TN. You may be related to James Eules ,the husband of America Rucker Eules. James died duirng the 1920′s if I remember correctly, He moved to Tennessee from Virginia. But check the census using Ancestry.com to find him, 1880 1900,1910 years of census..

      Please reply if you think I can help further.

  2. I find all of this information very helpful, I have researched Ancestry.com and come up with alot of information concerning both James and America. As far as I can tell they were both related to my faternal grandmother. I would love to have more info on how to find this cemetary since I live in Nashville, which is only about 30min away from Rutherford Cty

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