Jackson College Cemetery is one of the most
historic cemeteries in the south. It stands forgotten in the shadows of Spring
Hill Tennessee, home of one of America’s giant automotive industry plants. The
cemetery contains the remains of many old military, stately & scholarly
Americans & Southerners. Due to public unawareness and short
sighted officials the cemetery's massive monuments lie fallen under the trees
and bushes so thick one can hardly get back there.
Jackson College Cemetery with some improvements in the road could be made into a
as a part of the tour of the historic Spring Hill's Rippavilla Southern Home
& other antebellum homes such as Oak Lawn close by. The original founders
and owners of some of these magnificent properties in Historic Maury County are
buried here; notable people such as John Kennedy, one of the original signers of
the petition to establish Maury County. Another very colorful family is that of
Captain Absalom Thompson, 1800-1881 who built the Oak Lawn antebellum home and
occupied it along with his family and descendents for many years. There are many
descendents of the interred in this cemetery throughout America that would make
more trips to view this old cemetery if they could and/or even knew of it.
The sad condition of this cemetery was caused by the graves and monuments being
covered by thickets that invade the graves & monuments.In addition there are still free roaming livestock that possibly add to the
demise. The cemetery is open without fencing and an access road. The memorials
there are largely fallen having been uprooted by farm animals that rub against
the stones and knock them over. There are the usual trees that spring up
uncontrollably and uproot the memorials with their invasive roots while shedding
destructive limbs. They come smashing down on the stones in storms knocking them down and
breaking them because no one bothered to make a differentiation between the
mighty Oaks and Cedars and the invasive Black Cherry & Hackberry that have
such a short, brittle & brutal life.
After fifty years of decline and neglect it is high time the public take access
to this cemetery and give access back to the public. An access road should be built with supporting signage and other means
for the public to view this historic treasure. In this case we should stop allowing distance to the nearest public
roads to bottle up and erode our historic heritage.
An access road could easily be built that hardly interferes with the property of
the UT Agricultural experimental facility or the private property to the east of
the cemetery. Will you please help by making contact
with the proper officials to get these issues corrected.
The Sons of the Confederate Veterans under the oversight
of Lawrence Kenyon (2003) have taken on the task of cleaning and restoring this
cemetery. They deserve thanks for the recognition of the need and subsequent action taken to
begin this difficult task. They are allied with the Boy Scouts of
America. Thanks are
in line for Jack Taylor who serves as a Adjutant of Sam Watkins Camp #29 of the
Sons of Confederate Veterans and coordinator of this project and is doing
a superb job of bringing the needs of the restoration effort to the forefront of the
general public's attention. Other volunteers have also joined in the restoration effort
of this cemetery including myself. I am applying my knowledge as a former armature
archeologist for the U. of Alabama in the 1960s to raise the fallen stones. It has taken cleaning
the cemetery just to recognize just how large this task looms. Today man hours are being
expended and are still needed to clean the cemetery of dead and scrub trees,
vines and other uncontrolled growth. A team is needed to remount the 70 + fallen
stones which will consume many man hours due to the large size & number of the monuments. If you see yourself as having an interest in this
cemetery and/or just enjoy a fun wholesome outdoor project please contact Jack
Taylor via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jack can assist you in all the particulars of how you can help. Monetary
contributions are much needed to populate a fund for things such as routine grounds
maintenance and improvements to the stonework & signage. These are needed now and in the future to make this historic treasure available to the
general public. The goal is to make this cemetery as beautiful today as it was
more than fifty years ago and provide enhancements. Wayne Austin 11/11/2003
Status of the cemetery 12/7/2005, all grown up in weeds.