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Greenwood Cemetery

  • North Garden Street
  • Columbia, TN 38401
  • Overview

    Greenwood Cemetery, although not the oldest cemetery in Maury County, is the original burial grounds in the city of Columbia. It was created on November 14, 1809 by the commissioners designated by the governor of Tennessee to lay out the county seat for Maury County. They designated a two-acre plot on the northern edge of the city, on the bluff overlooking the Duck River, as the place of burial for the citizens of Columbia. Nathan Vaught, a well-known Maury County constructor and historian, stated that the first person to be buried in Greenwood after its official recognition was his own foster mother, Mrs. Radford, who died in 1809. Unfortunately, the location of her grave is unknown as it was never marked. For half a century, Greenwood remained the only public cemetery in Columbia. Then Rose Hill Cemetery was opened on the southern edge of the city. Greenwood contains the mortal remains of many of Maury County's pioneers. Among them are the graves of Major Samuel Polk and his wife, Jane Knox Polk. These were the parents of James Knox Polk, 11th President of the United States. Also we find markers in Greenwood for at least three soldiers of the American Revolution, a dozen or so for soldiers of the War of 1812, one or two for the Mexican War, and several for the Civil War. The City of Columbia, in 1886, passed an ordinance that effectively closed the cemetery for further interments. The only exception was for near relatives of persons already buried there. Only a few burials have been made in Greenwood since 1900. The Parks and Recreation Department of the City of Columbia now maintains the cemetery. - Narrative courtesy of the Maury County Historical Society website.