Adventuring with Heidi

Elmwood Cemetery | Memphis, TN

My sister and I had a few days of lazy catch up time but we also fit in some adventure in Memphis. Monday night she treated me to see the genius of Neil deGrasse Tyson at the ornate Orpheum (which I unfortunately did not get photos of) and Thursday we explored the Elmwood Cemetery.

Elmwood Cemetery is 160 years old and this 80 acres of grounds is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We spent the $10 for the audio tour and received a CD and a map. Although we did get turned around a few times it was fairly easy to follow the audio and signage.

Enjoying the afternoon of amazing weather we cruised around the cemetery, learning all about some of the history of not only the people who have been laid to rest there but of Elmwood and Memphis as well. There are some real interesting stories that go along with the souls here. Like Mattie Stephenson who martyred herself to help the sick during the yellow fever epidemic.

Or Annie Cook, a madam who also devoted herself to nursing the yellow fever patients and quickly passed away. She’s known as the “Mary Magdelene of Memphis”. Over 1,500 yellow fever victims buried in unmarked graves are found in “No Man’s Land”.


The tour took a little over an hour, following the audio tour and stopping from time to time to hop out and check out some of the spots in more detail. One could definitely spent hours and hours wandering and exploring this beautiful historical spot. Flip through the slideshow below for just a touch of the allure of Elmwood.

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Two of my favorite stories were those of Marion Scudder Griffin and Lillie May Glover. Glass ceiling breaker Griffin was the first female lawyer in TN and the first woman to be elected to the TN General Assembly. Glover aka Mother of Beale Street aka Ma Rainey II wins for best epitaph…

“I’m Ma Rainey #2
Mother of Beale Street
I’m 78 years old
ain’t neverhHad
enough of nothing
and it’s too
damn late now!”

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