Old City Cemetery


The City Cemetery is the oldest continuously operated public cemetery in Nashville and is the final resting place of more than 11,000 people.

The City Cemetery is the oldest continuously operated public cemetery in Nashville. On March 9, 1820, the Nashville mayor and aldermen purchased from Richard Cross four acres of land located "on the plains, south of town, for its burying ground." The cemetery opened on January 1, 1822. Fourteen years later the cemetery had outgrown its original site and more acres were acquired. By 1850 the cemetery was the final resting place for over 11,000 people of every race, religion and economic status. Since the opening, there have been 20,000 interments in the City Cemetery. Over the years, there have been removals including the Civil War Federal soldiers to the National Cemetery, Gallatin Pike, C.S.A. soldiers to the Confederate Circle at Mt. Olivet, and the relocation of graves to new family lots in Mt. Olivet Cemetery after the Civil War.

Four of Nashville's founders, James and Charlotte Robertson & John and Ann Robertson Cockrill; American Revolutionary War soldiers Lipscomb Norvell, Joel Lewis, Anthony Foster; four Confederate generals: Felix Zollicoffer, Bushrod Johnson, Richard Ewell, and Samuel Read Anderson; the man who named the American flag "Old Glory," Captain William Driver; Union Navy Commodore Paul Shirley; a Tennessee Governor, William Carroll; 15 mayors of Nashville, and two of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers, Mabel Lewis Imes and Ella Sheppard Moore; many slaves and free persons of color interred prior to the Civil War, are buried in the small, peaceful cemetery. The City Cemetery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 because of its historical and architectural significance.

  • Among those buried here are Confederate generals Felix Zollicoffer and Bushrod Johnson, two members of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, 15 Nashville mayors and many slaves and free persons of color interred before the Civil War.