Mayor Jimmy Haley will be conducting a guided tour of historic Riverside Cemetery during the height of dogwood season this Saturday beginning at 10 a.m.
The event is free and open to the public.
Haley is a fountain of knowledge about the history of the venerable and storied graveyard, in which a number of Warren County’s most noted personalities are interred.
For instance, he can show people whose tombstone was used by local bootleggers to hide their stash of illegal liquor from the long arm of the law. And that’s just the beginning. Haley, who has done extensive research on the cemetery, says it is steeped in history and interesting tales.
“The movers and shakers, the founders, they’re all here,” Haley said. “Black, white, man, woman, they’re all here. Walking down the main street of Riverside Cemetery, as former county historian James Dillion said, is like walking down Main Street McMinnville 100 years ago. Everybody who was anybody is here, and they left their monuments and markers for everyone to see.”
Among the many individuals buried there: Jesse Walling, who was McMinnville mayor in the late 1800s; Edward Munford, who owned and lived in the Blue Building; Julia Harrison, who owned the Black House before the Civil War; John Barclay Armstrong, who became a Texas Ranger; Lucy Virginia French, who was a famous poet and novelist; Chatham Coffee, who was Calvary officer during the Civil War; and Mariah Comer Beech, who married a bootlegger and told stories about unlawful drink in McMinnville.
Haley has done many previous tours and says this is the perfect time to enjoy the cemetery and its fabulous dogwoods which are known countywide.
For more information, contact Haley at 224-8521.