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West 7th St Memorial, and Rose Hill Cemetery, Columbia Tennessee

This Obelisk located in a small park on West 7th St is Columbia is a memorial to Edward Franklin "Pop" Geers. It can be found by looking up and to your left as you travel east down West 7th St. toward the court house. It is one of the county's largest monuments. It was set in 1926.




Pop Geers

The following members of his family are listed as interred in Rose Hill Cemetery:

GEERS, Edward Franklin "Pop", 1851 - 1924
GEERS, Mamie Smith, 1854 - 1915
GEERS, Edna Pierce, 5 Oct 1883 - 27 Jan 1893 (dau of Ed F. & Mamie Smith Geer; d. Buffalo N.Y.
GEERS, Walter Akin, 14 Aug 1888 - 6 May 1906.

Edward Franklin "Pop" Geers, was a native of Lebanon, Tennessee, born in 1851. At an early age he showed exceptional talent for training and riding of race horses. By the time he was
20 years old he had already acquired and trained several horses for harness racing. Over the next 50 yrs.
Pop Geers became one of the best known and most successful trainer and drivers in the history of that sport. Earlier in life he had moved to Spring Hill, Maury County, and made his home there. On Sep. 3, 1924, at age 70, he was racing in Wheeling, W. Va. when his horse stumbled and `Pop" fell from the sulky. He was subsequently trampled by his horse and died in just a few hours of the injuries. His remains were returned to Columbia and laid to rest in the Rose Hill Cemetery. The residents of county erected a monument in his memory in the park shown above on W. 7th St. This place is at the foot of Reservoir Hill, Source: "They Passed This Way",. Vol. II, p. 362-363"
 
Updated to this site 28 Jul 2010:
Source: Obituary - Alexandria Gazette, Alexandria, Virginia
Date: 4 September 1924; Pg 6:
"POP" GEERS IS PASSED BY GRIM REAPER
Famous Race Driver Dies From Injuries in Accident
Wheeling, W.Va., Sept 4 --
The body of Edward "Pop" Geers, 73, veterean race driver, was shipped to his home in Memphis, Tenn.,
today. Burial will be in the family plot at Columbia, Tenn.
Geers died last night, from injuries sustained when his horse Miladi Guy, stumbled throwing the driver from his sulky at the West Virginia State fairgrounds. He did not regain conscousness and died three hours after the accident. Twenty thousand persons witnessed the accident.
Geers probably was the best known harness race driver in the world and in 50 years of harness racing is said to have made more than $2,000,000.
 
Source: New York Times
Date: 5 September 1924; Pg 12:
50,000 PAY TRIBUTE TO GEER'S MEMORY
Activities at West Virginia Fair Are Suspended Out Of Respect to Dead Driver
Wheeling, W.Va., Sept. 4 -- At the scene of his last race a crowd of 50,000 today eloquent tribute to the memory of Edward F. ("Pop") Geers, noted harness driver and "Grand Old Man of the Trotting Turf " who went to his death yesterday at the West Virginia State Fair.
Just at the hour of 2 o'clock, when Geers had been scheduled to drive Peter Manning in an attempt to lower the half-mile track record, the horse was led onto the track in front of the grand stand. He was draped in black, in memory of the man who had driven him to victory many times.
A hush fell over the great throng as the horse was led slowly down the track while a funeral dirge was being played in the grand stand. As the draped horse stood before the thousands of spectators, Howard M. Gore, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, mounted the judges' stand, paid a glowing tribute to the late reinsman, eulogizing his character, his common honesty and integrity, which, he said, had gained for Geers, lasting fame in the sport of Kings. All other activities of the fair were suspended during the memorial services. Geers body, accompanied by relatives and friends, was taken to his home at Memphis, Tenn., today. Scores of persons stood in silent tribute as the train carrying the body of the famous driver passed out of sight.
 
Funeral Services at Memphis
Memphis, Tenn, Sept 4 -- The funeral of Edward F. (Pop) Geers, who was killed on the track at Wheeling, W. Va., yesterday, when his horse stumbled and fell, will be held here tomorrow night at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Wallace Cunningham, with whom he had lived for a number of years. Interment will be in the cemetery at
Columbia, Tenn.
 
Source: Article- Moundsville Daily Echo (Ohio County, West Virginia) ;
Date: 5 September 1924; Friday:
"POP" GEERS KILLED
Edward F. "Pop" Geers, veteran racing man, met death on the on the Wheeling fair ground track, Wednesday afternoon. His horse, Miladi Guy, stumbled and fell fracturing his skull. He died about 5 o'clock in the Ohio Valley General hospital.
Geers was 73 years old. For more than fifty years he had been in the racing game, but said this was to be his last season. His wife died ten years ago. His only son died fifteen years ago when struck in the head by a ball. His body
will be taken to his old home at Columbia, Tenn. today.
Many Moundsville people were in the crowd, but none knew this aged driver was seriously hurt and the races went on.
 
Source: Dictionary of American Biography; Volume IV - Pgs 206-207
Date:1932:
GEERS, EDWARD FRANKLIN (Jan. 25,1851 - Sept.3 1924), turfman, was born in Wilson County,Tenn., son of William T. and Emily (Woolard) Geers. As a mere boy on his father's farm he became a local celebrity as a trainer and driver of horses. He conducted a public training stable at Nashville in 1875, and one at Columbia from 1876 10 1889. In 1880 he married Mrs. Pearl (Smith) Neeley. His first trip North was in 1877 when he gave Alice West a record of 2:26, the first trotter he drove in under 2:30. In 1879, with Mattie Hunter, he twice lowered the record for pacing mares, the second time, to 2:16 1/2. At both Nashville and Columbia he was patronized by Campbell Brown, and from 1889 to 1892 he was employed by Brown at Ewell Farm. Thus Geers became interested in the Hal family of pacers which Brown was breeding. Going North in 1889, he took Brown Hal on the Grand Circuit and made him the champion pacing stallion with a record of 2:12 1/2. With Hal Pointer, the gelded half-brother of Brown Hal, he won numerous contests during each of several Grand Circuit seasons and in 1892 made him the world's pacing champion with a record of 2:05 1/4 ; later lowered to 2:04 1/2.
In 1892 Geers was employed to train and drive for C.J. Hamlin of Village Farm, near Buffalo, N.Y., at a salary of $10,000 a year, the largest ever received up to that time by one of his profession. Leaving Hamlin ten years later, he settled at Billings Park, Memphis, which was his headquarters for the rest of his life, his chief patron there being F.G. Jones.
For twenty years Geers was the leading race driver of the world, winning hundreds of races and more than a million dollars in purses and stakes. In 1894 he made Robert J. the world's champion as a pacer, by driving him to a record 2:01 1/2; he brought out and first raced Star Pointer, 1:59 1/4, the first light - harness two minute horse; he won the world's trotting championship in 1900 with The Abbott, 2:03 1/4. He drove to their records
sixty-six trotters in the 2:10 list, the fastest being the Harvester, 2:01, the champion trotting stallion of his day (1910) and he also gave their best records to sixteen pacers in the 2:05 list. At Toledo, Ohio, in 1918 he won the first race in history in which all the heats were paced below 2:00, Miss Harris M. taking the first heat in 1:58 1/4 and Single G., Geers up, the next two in 1:59 1/2, 1:59 3/4.
As a race driver, campaign manager, and turf tactician he was equally notable. Personally he was modest, generous and honest. Because of his taciturnity he was long known as "The Silent Man from Tennessee." He was instantly killed while driving in a race at Wheeling, W. Va., and in 1926 his admirers throughout America erected a monument in his honor in Geers Memorial Park, Columbia, Tennessee.
[Ed Geers' Experience with Trotters and Pacers (1901), an autobiography; J.T. Moore, " A History of the Hals,"
Trotwood's Mo. (1905-1907), and other articles in the same periodical; Nashville Tennesseean, Sept. 6, 1924,
and Oct. 10, 1926; Everybody's Mag., Jan. 1921; Collier's, Mar 27, 1926; the Outlook, Sept. 17, 1924; N.Y.
Times, Sept 4, 1924; newspaper articles and letters in Tenn. State Lib., Nashville; information from Miss
Emma Geers, Lebanon, Tenn., Allen Campbell, Spring Hill, Tenn., and J.L. Hervey, ed. of Horse Rev.,
Chicago.] J.D.A.


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