THE TENNESSEE  COMB GRAVE TRADITION    --by Richard C. Finch

 

--with computer map graphics by Chuck Sutherland

 

Introduction:

 

            A “comb grave” is a burial that features a grave cover made, normally, of two rectangular slabs of stone leaned together to form a gable roof over the grave (Plate 1).  The term “comb” signifies “the crest or ridge of a roof”. (OED, 1971).1  Combs have also been likened to pup tents and persons unfamiliar with the correct name commonly call them “tent graves”. However, comb grave is the proper name for this traditional style of grave cover, and its essential form is that of a gable roof set directly on the grave, with no supporting walls.  The above-ground space beneath the “roof” is normally empty, not filled.

 

Plate 1:  Typical comb graves, Mt. Gilead Cem., Cassville quad, White Co.

 

            Comb graves have been further described as “triangular and prismatic” in form (Cantrell, 1981, Montell, 1993).  Indeed, with each end of the typical comb closed off by a stone slab cut to fit the triangular opening under the side slabs, the basic shape of a comb is that of a simple triangular prism.

 

1OED definition 6e further states that this usage is dialect. Dictionary.com states that this architectural  definition of comb is primarily a Midland and Southern usage. OED cites an 1870 instance of its use by Mark Twain. Many Tennessee combs predate this cited use, some by as much as 50 years, and in all likelihood they have always been known as combs. 

            Most comb graves feature a headstone that is separate from the comb structure, and some feature both head- and footstones.  These head- and footstones typically are of the same local stone as the comb; this is especially true of the older comb graves.  However, it is not rare for the headstone to be of marble or other non-local “store- bought” stone.  Some combs, especially in the older comb cemeteries, are “headless” (Plate 2).  Many of these headless combs have no inscriptions, making it difficult to know who is covered by the comb or when the burial occurred.  However, some headless combs have inscriptions on one side slab (Plate 3a) and a few have inscriptions on one of the gable-end stones (Plate 3b).

 

Plate 2:  Old Jericho Cem., Doyle quad, White Co.

 

            Traditionally, and most commonly, the long side slabs and the end pieces are made of sandstone.  However, where suitable sandstone is not readily available, other materials may be used:  limestone, sheet metal, cement or concrete, and, in a unique instance, shale.  Two marble combs are known, the marble no doubt chosen not so much out of necessity as of a desire to make the comb more elegant than normal.

 

In Tennessee, around 3300 combs are found in over 400 cemeteries scattered along a NNE-SSW-trending band paralleling the western front of the Cumberland Plateau (Figure 1 shows the distribution). Comb graves are most common in older graveyards lying on the Eastern Highland Rim, below the Plateau.  However,

Plate 3a: Side-scribed headless comb, Anderson Cem., Doyle quad, White Co.

 

Plate 3b:  Gable-scribed headless comb, Oakley Cem., Okalona quad, Overton Co.

 

 

 

 

many are also found on the Hartselle Bench halfway up the Plateau escarpment, and a lesser number on top of the Plateau along its western side.  The southernmost examples in the main Tennessee comb range are 13 combs in Perkins Cemetery just northeast of Winchester, in Franklin Co.  Roper Cem., in Lincoln Co., well to the west of the contiguous Tennessee comb range, boasts the south-westernmost combs known in the state (not shown on Figure 1). The northernmost extant example is a single comb in Rector Cem. in Pickett Co.1  However, one additional comb grave formerly existed in Taylor Grove Cem. 8.6 miles north of the Tennessee-Kentucky state line, and this cemetery should still be considered part of the geographic range of the Tennessee comb graves.

 

            Although at least 74 comb cemeteries are associated with churches, the majority are local graveyards or family plots not associated with church buildings.

 

The tradition of erecting combs over graves appears to have commenced around 1815 -1820.  The custom was strong throughout the remainder of 19th century and during the first half of the 20th century, but by the 1950s-60s erection of combs was uncommon.  Even so, a comb was erected in 2012 (Finch, 2013).

 

Comb graves are known to be present in eight other Southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and North Carolina) and also in eastern Oklahoma, culturally part of the Upland South (Jordan-Bychkov, 2003).  However, Tennessee appears to have more comb cemeteries and comb graves than all the other states combined.  Additionally, the oldest known combs are found in Tennessee graveyards.  Probably, the comb grave custom is indigenous to Tennessee.

            .

A variety of ideas have been suggested to account for the “why” of combs, i.e., the purpose served by placing a comb over a grave.  Protecting the grave seems to have been a motive, but there is no definitive single reason for combs.  It is likely that different reasons motivated different people to erect combs, but that ultimately the comb became a highly popular style, indeed the dominant grave style in numerous small graveyards within the comb range.  And style alone was probably sufficient reason for many.  Of the other various well-known types of grave covers (ledger stones, box graves, stone table markers, gravehouses, coffin graves, and cairn graves), within the main comb range, none were used in numbers comparable to the comb graves.

 

Methodology and comb grave data sources:

 

The present study is an update and extension of earlier work (Finch, 1982, 2004) and began as a simple attempt to learn the geographic range of the comb graves, using USGS and TVA 7.5 minute topographic quadrangle maps (“topos” or “quads”) as guides to cemetery locations.  In the somewhat naïve belief that the topo maps showed all or nearly all existing graveyards, each was visited to determine the presence or absence

 

1Rector Cemetery is transected by the Kentucky-Tennessee border, and whether this comb lies in Tennessee or Kentucky or is actually bisected by the line has not been determined.

of comb graves. The happenstance discovery of numerous graveyards not shown on the quads and news of additional cemeteries from helpful informants quickly showed

that other cemeteries were out there.  Furthermore, many county road maps contain

cemetery location information, and comprehensive cemetery books have been prepared for a number of counties, e.g., Overton and White counties.  The White county cemetery book even indicates which cemeteries contain comb graves. However, the data presented in this paper refer only to those cemeteries indicated on the government topographic maps plus the numerous additional cemeteries I have stumbled across or been directed to. The rationale for not using the county maps and cemetery books to find additional comb cemeteries is three-fold:  1) The topos produce a sample large enough to be considered representative; 2) Use of the cemetery books in some counties, but not in others would skew the data; 3) Some limits on the data set sources are needed in order to bring an already decades-old project to a close before the writer himself is in need of a comb.

 

In sum, for this survey, all cemeteries --excepting those that have disappeared1-- on 129 quads have been visited and any combs noted.  Out of a total of over 2850 cemeteries, exactly 424 comb graveyards have been identified in the main comb range, and 3296 extant combs counted and photodocumented.  The 424 comb cemeteries include 390 graveyards that currently contain combs and 34 ex-comb graveyards known to have formerly had combs.  Ex-comb cemeteries were identified in two ways:  1) they had combs when first visited, but the combs were gone on a subsequent visit; 2) they contained clear-cut remnants of comb graves, e.g., a matched pair of triangular gable stones indicating the former presence of a comb.  Graves with only a single triangular stone, or a single rectangular slab laid flat, or sets of head- and footstones of a style commonly associated with comb graves were noted as “probable” or “possible”  ex-combs, depending on the evidence, but were not counted as definite ex-combs.  Cemeteries with only possible or probable ex-combs were not included in the total number of comb cemeteries, even though at least some of them surely once were comb cemeteries. Appendices A-1 and A-2 are inventories of the comb cemeteries, ex-comb cemeteries, and combs surveyed.

 

The locations of the comb cemeteries listed in Appendices A-1 and A-2 are given in latitude and longitude, recorded in the field with a GPS unit (set to the NAD-27 datum, the datum of the published maps) or measured from the published quads (using a TopoTool Coordinate Ruler by Neff Scientific). Where the local name for a cemetery was not known, a name was given for the purposes of this survey based on the most prominent surname or surnames in the cemetery. 

 

To ensure that the full contiguous range of comb graveyards was defined, the survey was extended into quads beyond the core geographic area of the combs until a border of “comb-free” quads was established around the entire contiguous comb range.

 

1Nearly 50 cemeteries could not be located.  Around 11 seem to have been moved: possibly as many as seven for the impoundment of Cordell Hull reservoir, two for I-24, one for mining activities near Elmwood, and one for the building of a home. Three apparently were bulldozed into oblivion; one or two likely were plowed under; and 30+ others have simply disappeared through time, weathering, erosion and neglect.

            Having commenced as a purely geographic endeavor, this study eventually morphed to incorporate more aspects of the comb grave tradition:  its temporal range, physical materials used, church associations, origin and reasons for the custom.  If a

number of comb cemeteries have been missed by this survey, as they most certainly have been, some of the statistics presented will be changed when and if data from the county maps and cemetery books are ultimately added.  Nonetheless, for the present, we can be relatively confident that the geographic range has been defined and documented, and insights gained regarding other aspects of the comb tradition.

 

Comb grave materials and construction:

 

            Combs are normally constructed of stone, the preferred material being relatively thin slabs of sandstone taken from the stratigraphic unit known as the Hartselle Formation (note outcrop trace on Figure 1). In places the Hartselle contains thin, planar beds of sandstone that lend themselves to the quarrying of broad, flat slabs, ideal for comb side slabs.  Thin-bedded sandstone was undoubtedly prized because of the weight of the stone: typical sized side slabs, even when just 1 ½ inches thick, require four men to carry safely.  Planar-bedded sandstone was preferred as it required less dressing, coming out of the ground with a more-or-less finished surface.  The same beds from which the side slabs were quarried could also be cut into smaller pieces and shaped to fill the triangular gaps at each end of the main comb structure (Plate 4), and for that matter, head- and footstones.  Two quarries from which Hartselle sandstone gravestones were “pulled” are the Vaughn quarry (Plate 5a) above the community of Allred (Crawford quad), and the Ogletree quarry (Plate 5b) not far from the Holly Springs community (Hilham quad), both in Overton Co.  But gravestones are also

 

Plate 4:  Triangular gable stone supporting one end of a comb in Bethlehem Cem., Bald Knob quad, White Co.

known to have been quarried at other sites, such as the quarry worked by Dan Elrod in the upper Calfkiller Valley (Cantrell, 1981) and the quarry on Gum Spring Mtn., White Co., worked by Thomas Keathley.  There likely were numerous local quarries from which gravestones were extracted.  To a certain degree, local sources were necessary, as the weight of the stones and the poor condition of 19th- and early 20th-century roads made long distance transport difficult and generally impractical.

 

Plate 5a: Old Vaughn quarry in Hartselle sandstone, above Allred, Crawford quad, Overton Co.

 

Plate 5b: Ogletree quarry in Hartselle Formation, Hilham quad, Overton Co. Note unused headstones leaning against quarry wall.

As mentioned above, the triangular opening left at each end of a comb was normally plugged with a sandstone slab cut to fill the space.  These gable stones improve the visual effect of the comb and, by sealing the comb ends, give the grave

more complete protection.  But more importantly, the gable stones provide necessary structural support for the heavy side slabs.  Without these stones (or some alternative form of support) the side slabs would be very subject to gradual spreading and eventual collapse.  These gable stones were sometimes actually triangular in shape, but such stones might in time lean in or out or collapse and cease to function as support stones (Plate 6).  Some gable stones only appear to be triangular, having in actuality a buried extension that improves their stability.  These features are rarely visible, but cautious pulling and pushing on some exposed gable stones indicates that they have subsurface extensions.  Gable stones with extensions have also been seen in collapsed combs.

 

Plate 6:  Fallen gable stones no longer serving to support the side slabs, which have begun to collapse, Mt. Pisgah Cem., Doyle quad, White Co.

 

            Observation of numerous combs suggests that in most cases one side slab (commonly the right hand side as viewed from the head of the grave toward the foot) was laid down first, supported by the two already set gable stones.  Next the second side slab (typically the left hand side) was laid down, resting on the gable stones and slightly overlapping the first laid stone at the crest of the comb.  While there are combs in which the two side slabs meet at the crest with no overlap, there does seem to have been a tendency to lap the stones, one over the other.  If this lap served any purpose, it could have been to minimize the entry of rain into the comb and onto the grave itself.

 

            A very few instances are known where sandstone side slabs have been beveled to meet neatly at the crest of the comb (Plate 7).  This nice bit of stone dressing  probably is practical mainly where thicker than normal sandstone slabs are employed.1

           

1When sandstone slabs are pried out of the quarry, they tend naturally to break across the bedding at right angles.  To cut a beveled edge would likely be difficult in the thin beds preferred for comb slabs, though an example can be seen in Beaty Cem., Moodyville quad, Pickett Co. 

Plate 7:  Thicker than normal sandstone side slabs used with beveled edge combs

at Philadelphia Cem., Irving College quad, Grundy Co.

 

While gable stones are the most common form of support for the comb side slabs, a noteworthy alternative support system involved the use of a thick iron rod running the full length of the grave.  The rod, actually a long bolt, has a head at one end and is threaded at the other end.  A hole was bored through the headstone and another carefully positioned hole through the smaller, but stylistically matching, footstone (Plate 8).  Typically, the bolt was run through the headstone first and then through the

 

Plate 8: Bolted combs in Falling Springs Cem., Crawford quad, Overton Co.  Note that when one slab slips off the bolt, it has no support at either end and the structure begins to collapse. 

footstone.  The heavy nut was then turned onto the threads behind the footstone.  Probably, the sideslabs were laid before the nut was fully tightened, allowing the head- and footstone positions to be adjusted slightly if needed to mate with the side slabs.  In any case one side slab (typically the right) was laid on the bolt rod itself, and the second side slab (typically the left) was laid against the upper end of the first laid slab (again resulting in lapped comb slabs).  When all four stones were in place, the nut could be tightened to draw the head- and footstones tight against the ends of the side slabs.  In this system, no supporting gable stones are necessary under the side slabs, but the system requires both head- and footstones, and the holes for the rod had to be accurately placed. 

 

The bolt support system was very popular in Overton county and is especially common (almost ubiquitous) in the Allred area, leading to the supposition that it was

invented by the Vaughn family of stonecutters.  The Vaughns are known to have cut many of the distinctive “truncated triangle” head- and footstones (see Plate 8) that are the most common type of comb graves to use the bolt support system.  Graveyards such as Falling Springs Cem. (Plate 9) at Allred are impressive both for the number of combs and for the stark geometry of the “truncated triangle” combs.1

 

Plate 9: Falling Springs Cem., Crawford quad, Overton Co, not far from the Vaughn quarry.        

 

1White (2002), who studied a variety of types of grave covers, including combs, held that the bolted combs are not true combs.  This led him to conclude further that the comb custom died out earlier than it did.  Unfortunately, White’s study of grave covers was based on visits to only 76 cemeteries, which included only 311 comb graves. There is simply no justification for excluding the bolted combs from “true” combs.  While they involve taller than usual head- and footstones, the bolted combs have the same basic shape as all combs; they are made of the Hartselle sandstone as are most combs; and they serve the same purpose as other combs.  The only difference is the iron rod support system in place of gable stones.  The bolted combs are definitively true combs.

Where the planar-bedded Hartselle was not available, sandstone still seems to have been the preferred rock type.  The vast majority of combs are made of sandstone from one source or another.

 

            However, where appropriate sandstone was unavailable, other materials came into play, notably limestone.  Limestone is not commonly planar-bedded, and, for that matter, is more often thicker bedded than thin.  Nonetheless, limestone was used for at least 53 combs in 19 cemeteries, primarily where sandstone evidently was not locally available.  Some of the limestone combs are made of very finely dressed stone (Plate 10).  The thicker limestone slabs sometimes feature beveled edges (Plate 11) or other innovative shapes (Plate 12)  In other cases the limestone combs are relatively crude (Plate 13).  Phillips Cem. (Hillsboro quad, Coffee Co.) features three limestone combs along with ten combs made of rather rough, thick-bedded sandstone slabs.

 

Plate 10:  Finely dressed limestone combs in Stephenson Cem., Hillsboro quad, Coffee Co.

 

            Figure 2 shows the distribution of these limestone combs; Appendix B is the inventory.  With the exception of the limestone combs at Shellsford Cem. (Cardwell Mountain quad, Warren Co.), all the limestone combs are found along the margins of the comb range.  The limestone combs on the western edge of the comb range may be attributed to distance from the Hartselle outcrop band.  The limestone combs in the southernmost part of the comb range probably reflect the fact that the Hartselle Formation in this region contains less sandstone and more shale.  Two limestone combs near the northern end of the comb range may also reflect a lack of sandstone in the Hartselle, though this is not certain.

 

            A single instance of a crude comb made of slabs of Chattanooga Shale (Plate 14) exists, along with a normal sandstone comb, in Russell Cem. (Buffalo Valley quad, Putnam Co.).  This shale comb, just 43-44 inches long, covers the grave of an infant. The presence of a sandstone comb in the same small graveyard raises the question as to why the shale was used when sandstone could apparently be had.

Plate 11:  Beveled edged limestone combs in Perkins Cem., Winchester quad, Franklin Co.

These are the southernmost known combs in the main Tennessee comb range.

 

Plate 12:  Limestone comb featuring notched side slabs supported at the head end by a flared base on the headstone, Cash Cem., Alto quad, Coffee Co.

 

 

 

Plate 13: Relatively crude limestone comb in Warren Cem., Burrow Cove quad, Grundy Co.

 

Plate 14: Crude, perhaps “homemade” comb made of pieces of Chattanooga Shale, covering the grave of an infant.  Russell Cem., Buffalo Valley quad, Putnam Co.

            The Chattanooga Shale is a very distinctive rock unit, easily split into thin, planar, black slabs that are attractive when fresh.  This feature, plus the fact that it was locally available, probably free for the taking, may explain its use on this grave.  Unfortunately, the Chattanooga is so friable that extracting a slab big enough to run even the length of an infant’s grave would have been difficult and this crude comb appears to have been composed of several pieces.  Additionally, the black shale contains fine grains of pyrite (iron sulfide) which weather easily and promote the relatively rapid disintegration of the shale.  Therefore the Chattanooga Shale is not a good choice for grave markers, in spite of its fissility.

 

            Two marble combs are known, one at Eureka Church Cem. (Welchland quad, Warren Co.) (Plate 15), dated 1899. The other is a pink marble child’s comb at Perkins Cem. (Winchester quad, Franklin Co.), dated 1890.  It is reasonable to assume that this use of expensive imported stone was done for elegance rather than necessity. (Figure 3 shows the distribution of the marble and shale combs; Appendix C is the inventory.)

 

Plate 15: Fancy striped marble comb at Eureka Cem., Welchland quad, Warren Co.

 

 

 

 

            Regardless of the rock type chosen, stone combs were invariably erected without recourse to cement for structural integrity.  A very few combs have been found (in ten different cemeteries) to have cement along the cracks between stones (Plate 16), but this appears to have been a means of sealing the comb against the entry of rainwater, rather than for any structural support.

 

Plate 16:  Comb with crest line cemented, rather than lapped, presumably to keep out rainwater, Little Cem., Livingston quad, Overton Co.

 

            On the other hand, 10 combs made entirely of poured cement or concrete (Plate 17) are known from five cemeteries.  Of these cemeteries, two (Lancaster Cem. and Rock Springs Cem., Buffalo Valley quad, Smith Co.) are located on the western margin of the comb range and one (Curlee Cem., Readyville quad, Cannon Co.) lies further west, outside the main comb range.  The other two cemeteries containing cement/concrete combs (Okalona and Liberty cemeteries, Okalona quad, Overton Co.) are also populated with numerous sandstone combs.  In these latter cases the use of cement/concrete must reflect a preference.  Indeed, judging from the style of these combs, the same man constructed all three of the cement/concrete combs in these two cemeteries.  (Figure 4 shows the distribution of the cement/concrete combs;  Appendix D is the inventory.)

 

            One of the striking characteristics of all these cement/concrete combs is that they are molded to mimic the basic form of two slabs resting on triangular gable supports, just like ordinary sandstone combs.

 

 

Plate 17:  Matching husband and wife combs of concrete, Liberty Cem., Okalona quad, Overton Co.

 

Finally, a number of combs have been constructed of sheet metal over wooden frames.  The combs are made of corrugated “tin” (Plate18), flat sheet metal (Plate 19), and five-Vee roofing (Plate 20).  During this survey, 26 metal combs were found in 13 graveyards, widely scattered throughout the comb range, some on the fringes, some in the heart (Figure 5 and Appendix E).  The distribution of these metal combs is not easily tied to geology.  It may be that some examples along the western margin of the comb range relate to the lack of sandstone.  But this cannot be said of metal combs in the

 

Plate 18:  Combs of corrugated roofing metal over wooden frames; Pierce Cem., Obey City quad, Overton Co.

 

 

 

Plate 19:  Combs of flat sheet metal, riveted and sealed, Cunningham Cem., Dry Valley quad, White Co.

 

Plate 20: Combs of five-Vee roofing over wooden frames with plywood end caps, erected 1983 and 2001, Bear Creek Cem., Cookeville East quad, Putnam Co.

 

central part of the comb range.  It may be that cost was a factor in some cases.  It may be that more men were capable of the carpentry necessary to create a sheet metal comb than were qualified to quarry stone.  Two of the three most recent combs known (1983 and 2001) are metal combs (Plate 20) erected by the same man for members of his family (Finch, 2013).

 

 

 

Ball (1977, Fig. 4) described a grave cover in Lambert Cem. (Hillsboro quad, Coffee Co.) that was a metal comb grave, albeit somewhat unusual in having a low (two inches above ground level) poured concrete base.  Although this structure was a complete ruin by the time of the present study, Lambert Cem. is counted as the thirteenth metal comb location.

 

Being supported by wooden frameworks, metal combs are obviously not as durable as stone combs. Of the 26 metal combs known, around a half dozen seen during the early stages of this survey have since collapsed or otherwise been destroyed.

 

Geologic influence on the geographic range of the comb graves:

 

            The general distribution of the Tennessee comb graves has been described in the introduction as forming a band paralleling the western escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau.  The preferential use of thin slabs of Hartselle sandstone for comb construction has been noted.  From these two facts it may be argued that there was a geologic control on the distribution of the comb graves.

 

The Hartselle Formation is a stratigraphic unit deposited during the Mississippian Period (350-299 million years before present).  Its type section is near Hartselle, Alabama.  In Tennessee the Hartselle crops out along the eroded western slopes of the Cumberland Plateau, where it forms a continuous north-south outcrop band across the state, typically at elevations around 1100 –1400 ft.  (The Hartselle outcrop trace is shown in the figures.)  It is also found in many erosional outliers of the formerly more extensive Plateau, such as Gum Spring Mountain, just west of Sparta. 

 

            The Hartselle Formation consists mainly of sandstone and shale, with the relative proportions of the two rock types varying significantly over the length of its outcrop belt.  Where well-indurated, quartz-cemented sandstone is prominent, the Hartselle forms a resistant unit which erodes more slowly than the overlying Bangor Limestone.  As the Bangor is eroded back, a nearly flat topographic surface, known as the Hartselle Bench, is formed on top of the Hartselle.  Where well developed, the Hartselle Bench forms a distinct stair-step in the western escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau.  The Hartselle Bench also forms the flat upper surface of various of the erosional outliers lying to the west of the main Plateau.  It is in these areas, where the Hartselle Formation contains significant amounts of sandstone, that the comb graves are found in abundance.

             

            South of Warren county, the Hartselle Formation becomes more shaly, with a lower sandstone content.1  It is in this region that most limestone combs are found.  Not much further to the south, the Tennessee combs die out.

 

 

1The stratigraphic generalizations stated in this paper are based on data from 7 ½ minute geologic quadrangle maps published by the Division of Geology, Tennessee Dept. of Environment and Conservation.

           

The Hartselle Formation is not found on the east side of the Cumberland Plateau; nor are any combs found here.

 

            The range of the Tennessee combs also dies out a little north of the Tennessee-Kentucky line, for reasons that are at present obscure.  Nonetheless, it is fair to say that

in Tennessee, the comb grave tradition was strongly influenced by the presence or

absence of appropriate sandstone in the Hartselle Formation, and that the primary control on the geographic range of the combs was the lithology of the Hartselle.

 

            In sum, combs are found in graveyards on the Hartselle Bench, in cemeteries along the western portion of the Plateau relatively close to the Hartselle outcrop band,

and on the Eastern Highland Rim below the Plateau.  Combs become rarer (or made of substitute materials such as limestone, concrete and sheet metal) in areas distant east or west of the Hartselle outcrop band, the distance likely related to the difficulty of moving the heavy stones via 19th- and early 20th-century transportation facilities. 

 

Local concentrations within the comb range:

 

Cantrell (1981) visited 168 cemeteries, finding 1104 comb graves and noting two distinct areas of comb concentration, which he designated the Caney Fork Valley group (White and northern Van Buren counties) and the Overton County group.  These same areas of comb concentration were documented during the present survey. 

 

Doyle quad (White and Van Buren counties) contains 28 comb cemeteries (the 2nd highest number of comb cemeteries in a single quad), with a total of 508 extant combs, by far the highest comb count for a single quad. The adjacent Cassville and Bald Knob quads have comb counts of 358 and 347 respectively.  Thus, these three quads alone account for 37% of the 3296 extant combs in the main Tennessee comb range.  Not surprisingly, these three quads also contain the individual cemeteries with the highest comb counts:  Mt. Gilead Cem. (Cassville quad), 138 combs; Mt. Pisgah Cem. (Doyle quad), 126 combs; Old Union Cem. (Bald Knob quad), 102 combs. 

 

Combs are numerous in Overton Co., with Crawford quad presenting the highest comb cemetery density of any quad: 22 out of 23 cemeteries, i.e., 96% have combs, for a total extant comb count of 418, the second highest count of any quad.  The Falling Springs Cem., with a comb count of 102, is located in the community of Allred, as is the old Vaughn stone quarry, source of so many comb rocks. Okalona quad contains 34 comb cemeteries, the highest number in a single quad, with an extant comb count of 349.  Thus these two quads alone account for 23% of all extant combs in the main Tennessee comb range.

 

Beyond the pale:

 

The geographic survey done for this study has defined the main range (Figure 1) of the Tennessee comb graves by mapping out the comb cemeteries in each 7.5 min quad and establishing a border of “comb-free” quads around the range. However, as should be expected for a once-popular and deeply entrenched burial custom, the use of combs spread beyond the boundaries outlined above.  There are outliers, combs “beyond the pale”.  In the Readyville quad, well west of the core comb range, a cement comb exists at Curlee Cem. (Cannon Co.) and a sheet metal comb was photographed in Science Hill Cem. (Rutherford Co.).  To the south and west, two children’s combs, made of limestone, are known from Shofner Cem. (Normandy quad, Bedford Co.), and two additional limestone combs are found in Roper Cem. (Dellrose quad, Lincoln Co.). The Roper combs are the south-westernmost combs known in Tennessee.  On the Cumberland Plateau, somewhat to the southeast of the main comb range, McGlothen Cem. (Savage Point quad, Sequatchie Co.) featured two combs when first visited, though only one remained in 2012.

 

Including these outliers, the total number of Tennessee comb graveyards rises to 429 and the total number of extant combs to 3303. A statewide search would undoubtedly reveal more comb graves, but these scattered instances of combs--likely the result of the practice being introduced by families migrating westward from the main comb region—do not represent a widespread coherent local tradition in these areas.

 

Temporal range of the comb graves:

 

Before considering what is the earliest known comb, it needs to be noted that there is no easy way today to scientifically ascertain the exact date when a comb was erected.  Crissman (1994) emphasizes that gravehouses were erected “almost as soon as the burial was completed”, and it seems likely that most combs were erected not long after the burial.  Thus, the death date (if any) on the headstone is, for practical purposes, the date of the comb itself.  However, it is known in some cases that combs were erected over graves years after the actual burial. 

 

            Several sheet metal combs in Pierce Cem. (Obey City quad, Overton Co.) are likely younger than the graves they cover, as suggested by the apparent newness of the wooden frames supporting the combs.   Four cement combs in Lancaster Cem. (Buffalo Valley quad, Smith Co.) are all structurally connected and appear to have been constructed concurrently, some time after the most recent date of death, 1921, which is some three years after the earliest date of death,1918.  In Stockton Cem. (Stockton quad, Fentress Co.) there are five headstones with dates ranging from 1847 to 1862, that all appear to be the work of a prolific stonecutter who operated in the White Co. area.  A Stockton family tradition holds that these stones were brought on an oxen-pulled sled from White Co., an exceptionally long and tedious trip for hauling gravestones.  It is thought by a Stockton family member1 that all five stones were probably commissioned and brought to the family burying ground at the same time.  This assumption is far more reasonable than assuming that five separate trips were made over such a distance (66 miles by today’s highway system). If true, then at least one of the Stockton combs was erected 15 or more years after the date of death.

 

 

1Kathy Stockton Williams, personal communication, January 2014.

            In spite of the foregoing examples, unless there is evidence to the contrary, the date of death inscribed on a comb grave is generally considered to be the date of the comb itself.

 

The earliest date thus far found on a comb grave is 1817, on the grave of Rosey Hutson (Plate 21) in Mt. Pisgah Cem. (Doyle quad) in White Co.  Based on stylistic

considerations1, it is thought that this particular comb was likely erected some years,

perhaps a decade or more, after the death date.  The oldest dated comb for which there is no reason to believe the comb was erected long after the burial is the 1822 comb for

J. H. Bilbrey (Plate 22) in Roaring River Cem. (Okalona quad) in Overton Co.  In any

case, it is highly probable that some of the more primitive, uninscribed combs were

erected before either of these combs.  In the Sparkman-Yates Cem. (Bald Knob quad,

Van Buren Co.) an uninscribed comb covers the grave of George T. Sparkman, who died in 1816 (Plate 23).  In Austin-Anderson Cem. (DeRossett quad, White Co.) an uninscribed comb covers the grave of Rachel Austin who died in 1818.  Several combs

bearing mid-1820’s dates are found in Wilson Cem. (Sparta quad, White Co.).  It seems clear that by 1820 the comb grave tradition was aborning, if not indeed well established. 

 

Although the earliest comb and its age will probably never be established, it is reasonable to conclude that the comb grave tradition was initiated in the 1815-1820 period, possibly in White Co. where most of the oldest known combs are found, and where the proper sandstone was widely available.   Appendix F is a partial listing of combs with early dates and their locations; their distribution is shown in Figure 6.

 

Plate 21:  Rosey Hutson comb, date of death 1817, but headstone style suggests that this comb was likely erected at a later date. Mt. Pisgah Cem., Doyle quad, White Co.

 

1The Rosey Hutson headstone is of the necked discoid style; both the author of this paper and Michael McNerney believe this stone was cut at a date later than 1817.  McNerney, who has studied this style extensively, estimates that this headstone was carved sometime within the years 1825-1835. (McNerney,personal communications, Mar. 2013 and Jan. 2014).

 

Plate 22: 1822 J. H. Bilbrey comb, Roaring River Cem., Okalona quad, Overton Co.

 

Plate 23: Uninscribed comb for Geo. T. Sparkman, deceased 1816, Sparkman-Yates Cem., Bald Knob quad, Van Buren Co.

 

 

 

            The comb grave style appears to have “caught on” and spread rapidly throughout its full range.  A comb dated 1835 is found in Perkins Cem. (Winchester quad, Coffee Co.) at the southernmost end of the main comb range, and a comb dated 1839 may be seen in Fitzgerald Cem. (Dale Hollow Dam quad, Clay Co.) near the northern end of the comb range. By the mid-19th century comb graves were very popular throughout the comb range, and in some cemeteries became the dominant form of burial. 

 

Cantrell (1981) meticulously logged the death dates inscribed on over 700 combs in his Caney Fork Valley and Overton County groups.  His plot of these data shows that the use of comb graves peaked in the 1876-86 decade in White and Van Buren counties, and around 1906 in Overton Co.  The plots indicate a rapid decline in the erection of combs in both areas, with some combs still being erected in the Overton Co. area into the 1950s, some three decades longer than in the Caney Fork Valley area.

 

No collection of dates comparable to Cantrell’s work has been compiled for the present study; however a number of more recent combs were noted.  Combs dated 1956 and 1958 were noted in Flat Creek Cem. (Hilham quad, Overton Co.) during the early stages of this project, but have since been removed. Comb graves dated 1967 and 1969 occur in Stockton Cem. (Stockton quad, Fentress Co.), and a pair of sheet metal combs cover the graves of a husband (d. 1983) and wife (d. 2001) in Bear Creek Cem., (Plate 20, Cookeville East quad, Putnam Co.).  To date, the most recent comb is that of Kathleen Rodgers, who was buried at her home in 2012 (Plate 24, Windle quad, Overton Co.).  The two 21st century combs (2001 and 2012) and the separate circum-stances leading to their erection have been described in detail by Finch (2013).

 

In sum, the comb tradition spans nearly two centuries of Tennessee cultural history, from shortly before 1820 to at least 2012.  Perhaps the custom will yet continue.

 

Plate 24: Comb grave of Kathleen Rodgers, erected in 2012, Windle quad, Overton Co.  Made of Hartselle sandstone slabs from the Walker quarry in Overton Co.

The purpose of the combs:

 

“What was the purpose of combs?” is a commonly asked question, one for which there is no definitive or “one size fits all” answer.

 

Hoping to answer this question, Cantrell (1981) interviewed funeral directors, a monument dealer, other cemetery researchers, a longtime resident of Allred (in the heart of the Overton County comb group), and even a member of the Vaughn family of stonecutters who had quarried gravestones in his younger days.  The most common reason cited was to protect the grave from rain.  The second most common reason given was to protect the grave from animals, whether domestic or wild.  At least one informant said that one purpose for the combs was to make the grave more permanent.  Oddly enough, the retired stonecutter said he knew of no reason for combs other than people wanted them.

 

During the course of the present survey, informal conversations with a few old timers also elicited the same reasons:  protection from rain or from animals.  With regard to rain, this notion may be supported by the observation of combs sealed with

cement in ten graveyards, and by metal combs sealed with a tar-like substance in one graveyard.  As noted earlier, the normal lapping of one side slab over the other might be for the same reason.  However, protecting the grave from rain does not bear up well to logic, inasmuch as there is no real purpose in doing so.  Cold logic, of course, cannot be relied upon to explain the reasons for customs surrounding emotional events such as burials.

 

With regard to protecting the grave from animals, one person remarked that the soil was so rocky that the graves were not very deep, and therefore had to be protected from being dug up by wild animals.  This cannot be the general reason, inasmuch as combs are found in many different soil conditions. 

 

An Overton Co. man explaining why he had a box grave erected over his mother in 1954 stated that she requested it, fearing that the graveyard –located in a field—might become neglected and she did not want the cows to walk on her. A second informant reported that as a boy he visited numerous cemeteries with his father who told him that combs were erected to prevent unfenced cattle from walking on graves.

“I remember him demonstrating with his foot how a cow's foot would slip off of the slanted side [of a comb].”1 It is certainly true that cattle can severely damage a graveyard by rubbing against headstones to scratch themselves.  Worse yet, pigs, rubbing against and rooting underneath gravestones, can and do topple markers and bury them in the mud.

 

            On the other hand, cattle may have been deliberately allowed into some graveyards.  According to the White county cemetery book (Pollard, 2003), “In the days before power mowers, the easiest way to keep a cemetery mowed was to allow livestock to graze it.  The cover [comb] protected the grave from…trampling.”

 

1Cliff Owens, personal communication, Apr. 2014.

While some combs may well have been erected to protect the grave from animals, personal observations show that many a groundhog has found a happy home beneath a comb, and the occasional blacksnake has taken refuge there.

 

An additional reason for the erection of combs is that they were sometimes specifically requested by the decedent or by a family member. Myrtle Webb asked her brother to build a comb for her husband, Joe, who died in 1983.  Whether or not Joe himself requested a comb is not known, but he may have, as his parents were buried beneath combs in the same cemetery where he was interred (Bear Creek Cem., Cookeville East quad, Putnam Co.).  In addition, Myrtle requested a comb for herself, matching that of her husband, and her brother built hers, too, when she died in 2001 (Finch, 2013).

 

Ball (1999), noting the “desire to protect the burial from the elements or animal disturbance”, concluded that comb graves served the same purpose as gravehouses and other types of grave covers:  “Functionally, [combs] are but one of a class of grave marker designed to cover the entire grave which fulfilled an emotional need to provide a level of protection to the remains of the deceased from rain and other factors.” 

 

While agreeing with Ball, I would add that combs make graves more visible and more permanent, less susceptible to being lost (when the cemetery is abandoned) or obliterated (by rain, animals, or vandals).  This is an important effect of the comb structures, and was probably the intent or reason behind the erection of some combs.

Twelve lone combs were noted in this survey, two in pastures and ten “lost” in thickly  wooded areas. Headstones alone might or might not have preserved these grave locations; any or all of these graves could easily have completely disappeared had they not been covered with combs.

 

None of the above effectively explains why combs became so popular in the comb range.  Other forms of grave covers were known and used to some extent. Box

graves were more expensive than combs.1   Gravehouses, commonly constructed with a wooden frame, did not last as long.  Cairn graves and some coffin graves required more stone cutting and dressing labor. All of these forms of grave covers served the same purpose as combs; however, none of these alternate forms of grave covers achieved the enormous popularity of the comb graves. 

 

The very rapid spread of the comb tradition throughout the length of the comb range, documented earlier in this article, suggests that combs may have first become a sort of graveyard “fad,” and later an enduring fashion. They were relatively simple to construct, cheaper than some alternative forms of grave cover, and served a variety of purposes, both emotional and functional, including marking the grave in a more permanent manner than a simple headstone.  Combs became fashionable, and like all fashions, this one ran its course.   As modern, factory-produced stones of marble and granite became widely available, they became more popular. Concomitantly, the use of combs made by local artisans of local stone declined and nearly died out. 

 

1Cantrell, 1981, reported that in the 1930’s a comb set cost $30, whereas a box set cost $60.

Origin of the comb grave custom:

 

            Cantrell (1981) concluded that “the early popularity of these structures [combs] indicates that the settlers were already familiar with the tradition and brought it with them to Tennessee.”  This would suggest that the use of combs came to Tennessee from North Carolina.  But Cantrell adds that “preliminary inquiries about the existence of comb graves in North Carolina have yielded negative results”.

 

            More recently, a single comb grave has been located in the old City Cemetery of Raleigh, N.C.  It is made of weakly foliated granitic rock (Plate 25), and it bears the date 1834, making it more than a decade younger than the oldest known combs in Tennessee.  To date, there is no evidence for a North Carolina origin for the comb style.

 

Plate 25:  Comb grave of Mary Beasle, died 1834; in old City Cemetery, Raleigh, NC. The comb is made of weakly foliated granitic rock.  (Image courtesy of Susan K. Wiley.) 

 

In Tennessee, no combs have been reported east of the Cumberland Plateau, where they would be expected had the style been brought from North Carolina.

 

That said, one must admit that emigrants from North Carolina westward into Tennessee undoubtedly carried with them familiarity with the concept of covered graves, such as ledger graves and box graves. Ball (2005, 2008) makes a strong logical case for his supposition that the idea, if not the style, behind comb graves (as well as gravehouses and other forms of grave covers) derives from box and stone table graves popularized in England and Scotland during the 18th century.  Several types of grave covers can be seen in the Old Burying Grounds at Beaufort, N.C., including a number of graves covered by comb-shaped structures made of carefully fitted bricks (Plate 26).  By construction technique the graves are cairn graves, but the resulting form is distinctly comb-like.  None are known to pre-date the Tennessee combs (the four grave covers pictured date from the mid-nineteenth century) and it seems unlikely that these comb-like grave covers inspired the Tennessee combs or vice-versa. The similarity of form is most likely a coincidental repetition of a basic shape. 

 

Plate 26:  Comb-like mid-19th century grave covers made of carefully fitted bricks, in Old Burying Grounds, Beaufort, N.C.  (Image courtesy Beaufort Historical Assoc.)

 

While considering a possible source for the Tennessee comb grave custom, one must ask if there are comb graves in England.  And the answer is yes, for in 2015 a single comb grave was noted in the cemetery at Otley All Saints Church, in West Yorkshire, England.1  This comb is essentially identical in form and construction to the Tennessee combs in that it covers a single grave, and is made of two long sandstone slabs supported at the ends by triangular gable stones.  Unfortunately, it is uninscribed except for the single letter “P”, so at the time of this writing, its age is only hinted at by the nearest surrounding graves which range from 1794 to 1856.  The Otley comb could be older or younger than the oldest Tennessee combs.  If it is older, was it the progenitor of the Tennessee comb grave tradition?  The answer to this question is “probably not.” As far as is currently known, the Otley comb is an isolated example and not part of any established tradition.  It is unlikely that a single English comb grave would inspire a widespread custom in central Tennessee without any intermediate occurrences in North Carolina or eastern Tennessee.

 

            Several stone grave covers or “tomb shrines” of triangular form are also known in Ireland.2  Three are found in County Kerry (two on the Iveragh Peninsula, one on Illaunloughan Island) and two are located at St. Cronan’s Temple in County Clare.  (See http://orthodoxcumbria.org.uk/british/ireland-3.html )  One of the tomb shrines at St. Cronan’s Temple is thought to cover the grave of St. Cronan himself and date to the 7th

 

1Emma Herbert-Davies, University of Leeds, sent a description and images of the Otley comb; personal communications, Jan. 2016.

 

2Dr. Ray Hutchison, Prof. of Urban and Regional Studies, Univ. of Wisconsin, Green Bay, alerted me to the existence of these grave structures, personal communication, Jan. 2016.

century.  It has been described as “made of only four pieces of stone, two for the sides, two for the ends, rather like a tent.  One end piece is only a half piece—allowing the disciple to put his hand inside and touch the earth where his dear one is buried.”  (See http://www.earlychristianireland.net/Specials/Irish%20Hermits/ )

 

The Irish tomb shrines have a distinctive look, being much more steeply pitched than the Tennessee combs. Nonetheless, we clearly have a type of Irish comb grave tradition that predates the Tennessee tradition.  Was it the inspiration for the later tradition? The difference in overall appearance, the great difference in age, and the apparent paucity of examples in Ireland, along with the lack of any “trail” through North Carolina and eastern Tennessee mitigate against  --but do not disprove—an Irish origin for the Tennessee comb grave custom. 

 

The similarities between the Tennessee combs and these scattered examples in the UK are most easily attributed to two facts:  1) many cultures evince a desire to protect graves by some means, and 2) a comb-type grave cover is a simple geometric construction that could easily be invented by different peoples at different times.

 

Based on the evidence currently available, Ball (1999) is correct in stating that the comb grave “likely originated in the early 19th century in the northeastern Highland Rim area of middle Tennessee as a regional adaption of a yet earlier prototype grave covering.”  What that earlier prototype was may never be known with certainty.

 

Regardless of conceptual inspiration, it seems that the comb grave custom as known in the Upland South was born in Tennessee, perhaps in the White Co. area, in the 1815-1820 period. The use of combs spread rapidly throughout the main Tennessee range, achieved a popularity that greatly exceeded that of other types of grave covers, and, as discussed below, was later carried into other areas.

 

 

Religious connections:

 

Ball’s (1997) assertion that comb graves “seem to have no particular association with any churches in the region”, is reconfirmed by the present survey.  Seventy-four comb cemeteries were found associated with churches, 68 in the main Tennessee comb range, three outside the main range, and three in Kentucky. The church denominations, where known, were recorded. A few church buildings are known to have changed from one denomination to another; in these cases, the earlier denomination was recorded.  A few church buildings are now in disuse with no indication of their denomination and in one case the church building has long since been razed. 

 

            The denominationally identified churches include 32 Baptist churches, 17 Methodist, 11 Churches of Christ, 5 Presbyterian, 1 Christian Church, 1 Lutheran church.  Seven “other” or unidentified churches complete the list.  Appendix G summarizes these findings.

 

While it is clear the comb grave tradition is not tied to any particular denomination, the birth of the comb fashion coincides closely with the peak of the religious movement known as the Second Great Awakening.1   Whether or not the combs are related in any way to this movement remains unclear, however Ball2 feels that “At a minimum, the time lag between the Great Awakening and the earliest known comb graves seems too close for mere coincidence.”

 

Comb graves in other states:

 

In addition to Tennessee, combs are known from eight other Southern states:  Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana and North Carolina.  And a few combs are known in eastern Oklahoma, culturally part of the Upland South (Jordan-Bychkov, 2003).

 

Alabama has at least 63 cemeteries reported to have comb graves.  Twenty-four of these cemeteries were visited during the course of this study, for comparison to the Tennessee combs.  The known Alabama comb cemeteries are found in the northern half of the state, in Blount, Cullman, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Marion, Morgan, Tuscaloosa, Walker and Winston counties.  Tuscaloosa and Walker counties seem to be areas of comb concentrations, having 30 and 16 comb cemeteries, respectively, of the total catalogued.  It is highly probable that numerous other comb cemeteries are present in Alabama, but not yet reported.  The 24 cemeteries visited contained 148 combs (113 extant combs plus at least 35 ex-combs). Based on the average of this sample, the total number of combs in the 63 known comb cemeteries should be in the 385-395 range, if not higher.  Sixty-three dated combs were seen, ranging from 1848 to 1917, with dates in the 1870s, ‘80s, and ‘90s accounting for 67% of all dates.  Brown (2004) also found that “most Alabama combs date between the 1840s and World War I.”  However, a comb located in a row of seven combs in Gravlee-Nall Cem. (Fayette Co.) covers a 1980 burial.

 

            The Cargile Cem. (Jackson Co.), containing three limestone combs, may be the northernmost Alabama comb cemetery. It is the closest known Alabama comb cemetery to the main Tennessee comb range, lying just 23 miles from the southernmost cemetery in the main Tennessee range, the Perkins Cem. (Winchester quad, Franklin Co.).

 

The Roberts family cemetery in Morgan county contains several combs and is of particular interest as it is reported3 that the Roberts family moved to Alabama from White Co., Tennessee. It would appear they brought their burial customs with them.

 

Almost half the reported Alabama comb cemeteries (30) are found in the northern half of Tuscaloosa Co., where sandstone suitable for comb slabs occurs.  In

 

1This time relationship was first called to my attention by graveyard enthusiast Dr. Ray Hutchison.

 

2Donald B. Ball, personal communication, Mar. 2014.

 

3http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pis&PIcrid=25835&PIpi=15137701&PIMode=cemetery

addition to this geologic influence, it is also interesting to note that local historians say that this portion of the county was settled by emigrants from Tennessee.1

 

As in Tennessee, the preferred stone for comb construction in Alabama was sandstone.  The Hartselle Formation is present in the Alabama comb grave region (the type section is near the town of Hartselle, whence the name), is predominantly quartz sandstone, and probably was the source of some comb slabs. Another unit quarried for sandstone in Alabama is the Pottsville Formation of Pennsylvanian age2.  The Pottsville contains sandstone of dimension stone quality, despite a tendency to spall upon weathering. It was quarried for the original state capitol in Tuscaloosa and for stone used in locks and dams on the Black Warrior River, and for some of the early tombstones in Tuscaloosa’s Greenwood Cemetery3.  A comparison of comb cemetery locations with the geologic map of Alabama shows that the majority of the 63 known comb cemeteries (45) are located on outcrops of the Pottsville Fm. or, if actually sited on other stratigraphic units, then very close to Pottsville outcrops (12).  Only a single comb cemetery was found to be located on the Hartselle, with one additional cemetery being located close to Hartselle outcrops. Considering the transportation difficulties during the era of comb erection, it is only reasonable to assume that local availability determined which unit supplied the sandstone slabs used in the comb graveyards. 

 

Regarding the geographic range of the Alabama comb cemeteries, all of the Alabama counties in which combs have been reported lie partially or wholly within the Cumberland Plateau physiographic province.  In Alabama the Cumberland Plateau is more dissected and discontinuous than in Tennessee, and Pottsville (and to a much lesser degree, Hartselle) outcrops are found over a broad region. If, as seems certain, these units supplied most of the comb slabs, this may explain why combs are found not in a linear belt as in Tennessee, but scattered over an irregular geographic area as broad from east to west as from north to south. Nonetheless, the Alabama comb range appears to be controlled by the distribution of suitable sandstone outcrops, just as in Tennessee.

 

Taking a multistate viewpoint, it could be argued that the Alabama comb cemeteries are in fact a continuation of the Tennessee comb range.  However, there is a gap --albeit not a large one-- between the two collections of combs, both geographically and, it would seem, temporally.  The use of comb graves in Alabama developed later than in Tennessee.

 

In Arkansas, at least 11 cemeteries are known with comb graves, with a total of around 52 combs. Most of these comb cemeteries are found in the NW quarter of Arkansas, mainly in the Ozark Mtns., in Benton, Boone, Crawford, Franklin, Newton and

 

1James Ezell, P.E., personal communications, May 2016.

 

2Dr. Eugene M. Wilson, Prof. of Geography, Univ. of South Alabama, suggested that sandstone from the Pottsville Formation of Pennsylvanian age might also be a source of comb slabs.  Personal communications, Oct. 1981, Apr. 2014.

 

3James Ezell, P.E., personal communications, May 2016.

Searcy counties.  Union  and Camp cemeteries (Fulton Co.) and Denton Cem. (Sharp Co.) are exceptions, being found in the north-central area of the state. Seven of these cemeteries were visited during the field work for this study.  Most of the observed combs did not feature dates, but those that did ranged from 1855 to 1883.

 

Again, most combs were made of sandstone slabs, but a few were of limestone, including very finely dressed limestone (coarsely crystalline pink limestone, likely sold as marble) combs in Holmes Cem. in Boone Co. 

 

The known comb grave cemeteries in Arkansas seem to be scattered over a wider area than the relatively narrow geographic belt containing the Tennessee combs.  This may indicate that more comb grave cemeteries remain to be discovered in Arkansas.  One might also infer from this distribution that the Arkansas combs result from the “Tennessee diaspora” described by Jordan-Bychkov (2003).  One of the eight combs in Holmes Cem. covers the grave of a woman originally from Tennessee1 and

Tennesseans from Overton Co. (including stonemasons from the Allred and Norris families) are known to have migrated into the Ozark region of northwest Arkansas.2 

In her book on burial customs of the Arkansas Ozarks, Burnett (2014) states that “older burials were protected by a variety of grave coverings, their styles [her list includes comb graves] having all been traced back to Tennessee.” 

            

Combs are known from eight Kentucky cemeteries, one of which, Taylor Grove Cem., is included in the northernmost end of the main Tennessee comb grave range. Four of the other seven comb cemeteries visited during fieldwork for this study –Redbird, Steely, and Canada Church cemeteries (Wofford quad, Whitley Co.) and Ballou-Worley Cem. (Cumberland Falls quad, McCreary Co.)-- all lie 40 to 45 miles northeast of the easternmost Tennessee comb cemetery. Redbird Cem. was reported by Richmond (1998) and Ball (1999); it contains six combs, made of sandstone (as would be expected, considering the geology of the Cumberland Mountains). Three of the six combs are dated:  1862, 1863, and 1922.  Nearby Steely Cem. once had three combs, now dismantled, and Canada Church cemetery has three combs.  Ballou-Worley Cem. contains a single sandstone comb dated 1860.

 

The remaining three Kentucky comb cemeteries are found in western Kentucky, between Hopkinsville and Lake Barkley, well to the west of the main Tennessee comb range.  Lander Cem., in westernmost Christian Co., holds four combs, three made of calcarenite (limestone of sand-sized grains) composed of fossil bits and ooids, and one made of white marble.  The talented stonecutter who erected these combs did excellent work in dressing and shaping the side slabs, most of which, if not all, feature beveled upper edges so that they meet neatly at the crest of the comb.  Unfortunately, these

combs are not in good condition, for two reasons: the calcarenite tends to disaggregate and split apart as it weathers; furthermore, it appears that no gable stones were used to support the side slabs, leading to a tendency for the side slabs to spread and collapse

 

1John Waggoner, Jr., personal communication, Mar. 2014.

 

2Michael McNerney, personal communications, May 2013.        

with time.  Three of these combs are dated:  1857, 1860 and 1860.  Sinking Fork Cem., located a little east of Lander, holds a single comb, of the same type of stone and style as the Lander combs, and probably by the same stonecutter.

 

Just a few miles to the west, across the line in Trigg Co., lies Wall Cem., which has a single comb, made in the same style as the Lander and Sinking Fork combs, of the same calcarenite, and likely by the same stonecutter.  In addition to deterioration of the comb by weathering, its headstone has recently (since 2012) been broken into several pieces, possibly by vandals.  This comb is especially interesting due to its date, 1847.  It has been demonstrated earlier in this paper that the practice of erecting combs over graves spread very rapidly throughout the main Tennessee comb range; this comb in Wall Cemetery shows that the practice did not require many years to be carried beyond its main range.    

 

In West Virginia, combs constructed with roofing metal have been documented in  two cemeteries in northern Mingo Co., not far from the Kentucky border.  Newsome Ridge Cem., sited on a high and remote ridge, is a graveyard in which traditional grave customs are still strongly maintained.  Five relatively recent combs made of corrugated roofing “tin” are found here.  Four bear dates: 1937, 1947, 1948, and 1952, long post-dating the majority of the Tennessee combs. In addition to these five metal combs, nine gravehouses—including a new one in the process of being erected in Sept. 2014—were noted.  Annually, on the third Sunday in August, local folk hold a cemetery decoration day that is attended by hundreds.  This meeting is called the “Reunion” or “Basket Meeting” because participants bring baskets of food to be shared in a communal “dinner on the ground”, laid out on a long buffet table in the cemetery’s pavilion.1

 

            In nearby Rose Town, at the Rose and Brewer Cem., a metal comb lies somewhat downhill and just outside of the graveyard proper.  It is also 90 degrees out of alignment with the other graves (which run east-west, facing east).  The corrugated “tin” comb is intact, but has been removed from the grave to which it once belonged, and discarded, possibly to make mowing easier.  A local informant stated that there were formerly at least two combs in this cemetery.

 

            No connection between the West Virginia combs and the Tennessee combs has been established.  However, the use of “Tennessee” as a woman’s given name in another nearby Newsome family cemetery hints that a connection may exist. 

 

Two Texas cemeteries are known to feature comb graves. Shiloh Cem., in Denton Co., contains an elegant marble comb (Plate 27), the ends of which are closed by large, matching head- and footstones much in the same manner as the truncated triangle combs of Overton Co., Tennessee. The name on this comb is Nancy Yeats and the date of death is 1910.  How this lone comb came to be erected here is not known,

but several possible connections with Tennessee exist.  Although Nancy Yeats and her husband Dr. T. A. Ball came to Denton Co. from Missouri, Nancy was born in Tennessee; it is not impossible that Yeats might be the same surname spelled Yates in

 

1Dr. Alan Jabbour, personal communications, Sept. 2014 and Apr. 2015.

several comb cemeteries in Tennessee (e.g., Sparkman-Yates and Gravel Hill

cemeteries in the Bald Knob quad, Van Buren Co.).  Furthermore, the county and town

of Denton were named for John B. Denton, a Methodist-Episcopal preacher and Indian

fighter who was born in White Co., Tennessee in 1806. However, Denton was orphaned

at age eight and moved with his adopted family to Arkansas around the same time the comb grave style was nascent in Tennessee.  Hence it seems unlikely that Denton took any knowledge of comb graves with him when he left his natal state.  In Arkansas he became a preacher, and in this profession would certainly have become familiar with burial customs, including, perhaps, comb graves.  Yet if Denton brought the idea of comb graves from Arkansas to Texas, there should be other combs in this area, for Denton died in 1841, long before Nancy Yeats arrived around 1865.  Other Dentons from White county emigrated to Texas around 18701  and the role of Tennesseans in Texas history is well known.  It seems likely that the Nancy Yeats comb has Tennessee origins, whether through Yeats herself, John B. Denton or someone else.

 

Plate 27:  Nancy Yeats’ 1910 marble comb, Shiloh Cem., Denton Co., Texas. (Image courtesy of Jim Fritze.)

 

The Nancy Yeats comb was the only Texas comb known to Jordan, a long-time researcher of traditional graveyards in Texas and the South.2  Nonetheless, two sheet metal combs have been discovered in Walling Cem. in Cooke Co., one of which is a matrimonial comb covering the graves of a couple originally from Tennessee.3  The dates of death are 1916 and 1917.

 

1Beth Moore Farmer (a Denton descendant), personal communication, Feb. 2014.

 

2The late Dr. Terry G. Jordan, personal communication, Aug. 1981.

 

3John Waggoner, Jr., personal communication, Nov. 2014.

Mississippi has at least one cemetery that features comb graves.  Pickle Cem., in Monroe Co., has four sheet metal combs ranging in age from 1946 to 1991.1  Thornton2 describes these combs as grave shelters and adds that he remembers others from his youth.  It would not be surprising if other comb cemeteries still exist in Mississippi.

 

In Louisiana, one comb is found in the Old Bellwood Cem. (Natchitoches parish).  

It is a limestone comb for a child who died in 1878.3

 

The lone North Carolina comb, dated 1834, in the City Cemetery of Raleigh (Wake Co.) has already been described.

 

Eastern Oklahoma lies within the cultural region of the Upland South (Jordan-Bychkov, 2003) and comb graves arrived here prior to statehood. At least three comb graves, extant in 2016, are documented by photographs in Old Cache Cem., near Keota, in Haskell Co.  The combs seen in the images are very typical combs, and could easily pass for combs in a Tennessee graveyard. The stone slabs have the appearance of being sandstone, though it is difficult to be certain from photographs.  One of the combs covers the grave of a child named Sarah Jackson and bears a date of death that appears to be 1891 (or possibly 1881).

 

According to local lore, the combs in Old Cache Cem. cover Native American graves.  While it is beyond the scope of this paper to ascertain whether or not this fervently held belief is correct, the fact that the original land for the cemetery was donated by the Choctaw Nation makes this local history more plausible than it might otherwise seem. Furthermore, Jackson is a common Choctaw surname. The Choctaws were one of the Five Tribes (often referred to as the “Five Civilized Tribes”) that had adopted Anglo names and ways early in the 19th century. Further research would be needed to demonstrate that the combs at Old Cache Cem. are Native American graves, but the possibility is intriguing.4

 

            In Muskogee Co., about 30 miles west from Old Cache is the 1889 grave of Belle Starr, notorious as the "Outlaw Queen."  Photographs of her gravesite, which may be seen on the internet, show that her grave is marked by a structure that looks like a box grave made of cut stones and topped by a stone slab comb. This monument is very like the transitional comb structures found in Holmes Cem. in Arkansas (and described later in this paper).

           

 

1John Waggoner, Jr., personal communication, Feb. 2014.

 

2Terry Thornton, http://hillcountryhogsblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/grave-shelters.html

 

3John Waggoner, Jr., personal communication, Jan. 2014.

 

4My thanks to Dagmar Anne Cole of Ft. Worth, TX, for calling the combs in Old Cache Cemetery to my attention, and to Jerry Smith of Cartersville, OK, for providing images.

 

On the basis of the Old Cache combs and the Belle Starr grave, it seems likely that a search of eastern Oklahoma traditional cemeteries would turn up more comb graves.     

 

This survey of combs outside of Tennessee, while admittedly incomplete, indicates that Tennessee has by far and away a greater number of comb cemeteries

and combs than any other state. The oldest known combs are also found in Tennessee. 

With the exceptions of the single North Carolina comb, the ten Kentucky combs lying to the east of the Tennessee comb range, and the six combs in West Virginia, all the other extant non-Tennessee combs are found westward or southward of the main Tennessee comb range.  Westward, of course, was the general direction of historic migration.  From this distribution pattern of numbers of comb cemeteries and combs, dates, and apparent westward spread, it is reasonable to infer that the comb tradition originated in Tennessee.

 

It should be noted here that the dispersion of the comb grave tradition from Tennessee into other Southern states is but one facet of a larger and more complex cultural transfer. Jordan-Bychkov (2003) defined the Upland South not only by its geography, physiography and agricultural style, but by a specific material culture.  He argues persuasively that the Upland South culture first came to full flower in central Tennessee in the early 19th-century and was carried to the rest of the region by the “Tennessee diaspora.”  The suite of cultural features Jordan-Bychkov found diagnostic of the Upland South includes graveyards and mortuary customs, and in particular,

gravehouses (which he called “gravesheds”).  While he did not mention comb graves per se, he was definitely aware of combs (as indicated by his reference to Finch, 1982). Possibly he considered combs a subclass of gravehouse (as did Ball in his 1977 paper). In the light of this general spread of material culture and customs from Tennessee westward and southward, the findings presented in the present paper regarding the origin and spread of the comb grave tradition are not unexpected.

 

Questionable comb graves in Georgia:

 

            At least two Georgia cemeteries in the towns of Fairburn and Campbellton (west of Atlanta) feature a variety of cement or concrete grave covers that range in form from

flat slabs, to rounded mounds, to round-crested comb-like structures, to a single instance of a triangular prism form that has the basic shape of a comb (Plate 28).

 

The graveyard at the Baptist Church in the old community of Campbellton is of particular interest as featuring not only the one prismatic grave, but also a rounded

grave cover that has been breached by weathering to the extent that the internal

structure can be seen.  This grave cover is constructed of a brick core that was

plastered over with a relatively thin layer of cement.  It is not a comb.  A pair of comb-

like (but round-crested) grave covers photographed in this cemetery in 1982,1 but no longer extant, were raised on brick bases, and may or may not have had brick cores. In

contrast to the cement/concrete combs found in Tennessee, the molding of these

 

1Marion O. Smith, personal communication, Apr. 2014.

        

Plate 28:  Comb-like cement grave cover beside flat cement grave covers in Baptist Church Cem., Campbellton, GA.  (Image courtesy of Steven A. Hurd.)

 

former comb-like grave covers did not include any attempt to mimic the side slabs or

triangular gable stones found in comb graves.  Likewise, the single prismatic cement

grave covering shows no attempt at mimicking the side slabs or gable stones of a

traditional comb grave. Whether or not this prismatic grave is built over a brick core is not known, but it seems likely in view of the other brick cored structures and the fact that the structure would be much easier to build with a solid core under the cement.

 

The popularity and variety of cement grave covers in the Fairburn and Campbellton cemeteries, the use of brick sub-structures, and the failure to mimic the side slabs or gable stones in those structures that were comb-like in form all point toward the conclusion1 that these grave covers were not built by people aware of the comb grave style. Those grave covers that were comb-like were at best “coincidental combs”, resulting from the independent use of a very basic geometric form in the construction of a cement grave cover.

           

Former comb graves in the Delmarva Peninsula:

 

The former existence of a small number of wooden comb graves has been documented in a handful of graveyards in southernmost Delaware and adjacent Maryland, a region with strong historical cultural ties to the South.  I am much indebted to Chris Slavens2 of Laurel, Delaware, for calling these now vanished combs to my attention and for the factual information in the following paragraphs.  Any conclusions drawn from this information I must take responsibility for myself. 

 

1I am indebted to Steven A. Hurd, Ray Hutchison and John Waggoner, Jr. for insightful comments regarding these debatable comb graves in the Campbellton Baptist Cemetery.

 

2Chris Slavens, personal communications, Sept. 2016; also Slavens (2017).

In Sussex County, just north of the state line with Maryland, lies Bethel M. E. Church where the original church building was erected in 1841.  At Bethel the writers of Delaware:  A Guide to the First State (a Federal Writers Project publication issued in 1938) found “several old graves with shingle roofs….  ….examples of the once-popular

local custom of placing a small pitched roof close over a grave to keep off the rain”. According to Zebley (1947), “in the old graveyard a few roofed-over graves can be seen, one of the few places in Delaware where any of these graves remain.  These roofs are A shaped with the gables closed in, rest directly on the ground with the entire frame-work covered with shingles.”  Zebley provides a photograph1 showing two combs in Bethel cemetery; the construction of the comb in the foreground of Zebley’s photo clearly fits the definition of comb grave, i.e., a grave cover in the form of a gable roof set directly on the ground over the length of an in-ground burial.  As illustrated by the varied materials used for the construction of the Tennessee combs, it is the form, not the materials used, by which a comb may be defined.  The Delaware combs were naturally made of wood inasmuch as stone suitable for quarrying is scarce or non-existent in this region.   

 

Zebley goes on to state that “in the private graveyard on the farm of Ira West….there are several graves over which roofs have been built….  The most recent of these were over the graves of John C. West who died in 1858 and Mahala West who died in 1852.”  In addition, he mentions that there “is one roofed-over grave” at King’s M.E. Church, where the first church building was erected in 1842.  A third author, Pepper (1976), writes that “an old graveyard in back of Millard Johnson’s home near Bayard had some graves with a roof on top of each one.  The A-shaped roofs were made of cedar shingles pointed on top exactly like a house roof, and each one covered an entire grave.” A 1947 photograph shows a comb over an 1891 grave near Bayard;  this comb, like the Bethel and West combs has not survived to the present.

 

Immediately south of Sussex Co. lies Wicomico Co., Maryland, where Jacob (1971) reported that “it was the custom in the eastern section of Wicomico for many years to build a roof over a new grave.  The roof was built on an ‘A’ frame, the peak about thirty inches high, with the structure covering the entire grave.” According to

Jacob, only one of these grave roofs remained in 1971.

 

It is notable that the sources quoted above referred to the grave covers as “roofs”.  The term “comb grave” was not used by these writers, and it seems likely that the term was not used locally. The overall number and time range of the Delmarva combs is unknown at present. The only dates currently known for Delaware combs are 1852, 1858 and 1891.  An intriguing question is how long could wooden combs have survived?  Pepper (1976) mentions “cedar” shingles, but a shingle-making industry using both cedar and bald cypress --the latter a very durable, rot-resistant wood-- was formerly important in Sussex county, and combs constructed of cypress would indeed have been long-lived for wooden structures.  Although a number of combs still existed in the late 1930s and 1940s, and at least one as late as 1971, so far as is known, no

 

1Zebley (1947), p. 349; see also the Zebley Collection Churches of Delaware, Delaware Public Archives for a better image.

Delaware or Maryland combs have survived to the present, presumably due to the ultimate perishability of the wood of which they were constructed. 

 

What little is known of the dates for the Delmarva combs suggests that they post-date the earliest Tennessee combs, and therefore were not the source for the idea of combs in Tennessee.   Furthermore, while it is unknown how many Delmarva graveyards once featured combs, it seems clear from the small number reported that the custom never became very widespread or strongly entrenched here, and therefore was less likely to have been exported.  On the other hand, by reviewing census reports Slavens has found that dozens of residents from the Delmarva Peninsula emigrated to Tennessee.  For example, Thomas West, born 1760 in the Delmarva region settled in DeKalb Co., Tennessee in 1804. The main Tennessee comb range extends into DeKalb Co.  The possibility of a cultural exchange involving mortuary customs—either from Delaware to Tennessee or a cultural backflow from Tennessee to Delaware--- cannot be ruled out by the information currently in hand.  Alternatively, the Delaware combs may simply have resulted from an independent solution to the problem of covering and protecting the graves of loved ones, employing one of the simplest –both in geometric form and in construction-- types of grave covers.  It is a pity that neither the combs nor custom survived in Delmarva to present times. 

 

Comb graves outside the South:

 

Another venue in which comb graves once existed and may yet exist is in Native American cemeteries where grave covers --commonly known as “Spirit Houses”-- have been built by various Native American groups.  Spirit Houses have been found in a number of states, mostly outside the South.  A collection of early 20th century picture postcards belonging to John Waggoner, Jr.1 shows Native American graveyards in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Oklahoma, Alaska, British Columbia, Ontario and the Yukon Territory. In addition, Ball (1977) notes that Native American gravehouses have been documented in Louisiana and Washington State.  The Spirit Houses pictured in Waggoner’s collection appear to be constructed of wood or wood with sheet metal.  Among the many grave covers are a few that are simple gable roofs resting directly on the ground. They are in essence combs, though probably not by intent.  No connection is known to exist between these Spirit House combs and the Tennessee comb grave tradition.

 

Noteworthy comb variants:

 

            With over 3500 extant combs known in ten states, produced by different local artisans, over nearly two centuries, it would be remarkable if there were no

significant and interesting variations in the comb form.  The aforementioned  “truncated

 

 

1I am grateful to John Waggoner, Jr. for making his collection of postcards picturing Spirit Houses available to me.

 

 

triangle” style of comb (Plates 8 and 9) was used in Overton Co. for over a century1,

especially in the Allred area. It also occurs in Putnam Co., in lesser numbers. The following paragraphs will highlight some other noteworthy comb variants.

 

Concurrently with the “truncated triangle” combs, the Vaughn family of

quarrymen also produced box graves consisting of four large sandstone slabs, held upright against each other by long iron cross bolts, and topped by an even larger flat-

lying sandstone slab.  The distinctive feature of these massive boxes was the necked

discoid headstone that was integral with, and an extension to, the upright slab at the

head end of the grave.  Judging from two graves in Beaty Cem. (Moodyville quad, Pickett Co.), a few discerning comb customers wanted the best of both styles:  the “truncated triangle” plus a necked discoid (Plate 29).

 

Remote Davis Cemetery, deep in the heart of Scotts Gulf (Lonewood quad, White Co.) hosts a unique mushroom-shaped headstone (Plate 30).  This family graveyard also features several comb graves with inscriptions chiseled in cursive, something rarely seen and surely much more difficult than block lettering.  The scrawled

inscriptions likely mirror in no small degree the handwriting abilities of the family member who wrote the inscription for the stonecutter, or perhaps the stonecutter himself-- possibly one and the same person.

 

Although gravehouses not infrequently are constructed to cover multiple graves, with comb graves the rule is one comb per grave.  Two exceptions are known.  In Pine Hill Cem. (Cookeville West quad, Jackson Co.) a somewhat crudely constructed matrimonial comb covers the graves of John and Elizabeth Cummins (Plate 31), who died in 1868 and 1864 respectively.  And in Walling Cem. (Cooke Co., Texas), a broad sheet metal comb covers the graves of a Squire Umsted (1916) and his wife Mary Adams (1917).

 

Alabama cemeteries contain a number of unusual combs, with Old Liberty Hill Cem. (Walker Co.) being a special treasure trove of oddities.  Several combs here feature bas relief geometric designs on the side slabs.  One of these (Plate 32) includes the deceased’s three initials, J D E, in the centers of the three design panels.  The side slabs of this comb rest on a sand or earth mound that apparently fills the interior of the

comb and gives support to the side slabs.  Several other combs in this cemetery and in

other Alabama cemeteries were seen to be fill-supported, but triangle gable stones remain the rule.

 

A single comb in Old Liberty Hill Cem. with a “jig-saw puzzle” comb support system was photographed in 1982 (Plate 33).  In this comb, the end stones are larger than normal gable stones, and notched in such a way that the modified lower corners of

the side slabs fit into the notches to form an interlocking, self-supporting structure.  Sadly, this unusual comb was not found when this cemetery was re-visited in 2012.

 

1In the Allred area a truncated triangle comb covers an 1847 grave in Shiloh Cem., several dated in the 1850s are known, and a 1963 date occurs on a truncated triangle comb in Cub Cem. (all in Crawford quad, Overton Co.).

 

Plate 29: Truncated triangle comb with integral necked discoid headstone (1854), Beaty Cem., Moodyville quad, Pickett Co.

 

Plate 30: Unique mushroom shaped headstone (1873) with cursive inscription, Davis Cem., Lonewood quad, White Co.

Plate 31:  Matrimonial comb for John and Elizabeth Cummins, with marble headstones, Pine Hill Cem., Cookeville West quad, Jackson Co.

 

Plate 32:  Sandstone comb, side slabs supported by fill and decorated with bas relief geometric designs containing the initials, J D E, of the deceased.  Old Liberty Hill Cem., Walker Co., AL.            

Plate 33:  Unusual sandstone comb with notched end stone interlocking with modified side slabs to make a self-supporting structure.  Photo taken 1982.  Old Liberty Hill Cem., Walker Co., AL.

 

Also in Alabama are perhaps the most unusual combs seen during this study: two rather skeletal-looking combs covering the graves of Moses Barton (1890) and his wife, Margaret (1898) in Sardis Cem. (Walker Co.).  This pair of combs is constructed of

sections of ornate iron railing or fencing (Plate 34), such as might normally be found encircling a family plot.  But here they have been deliberately arranged to form symbolic, if not practically functional, combs.

 

Plate 34:  Symbolic combs made of ornate iron fencing, Sardis Cem., Walker Co., AL

In Arkansas, two of the eight combs in Holmes Cem. (Boone Co.), sit atop stone boxes (Plate 35).  In both cases, the comb and box are of finely dressed limestone and evidently built as a unit.  These structures are, essentially, composites of comb graves and box graves.  One might also call them gravehouses, but the presence in the same cemetery of six normal --i.e., directly on the ground-- combs, of similar limestone construction suggests that these two graves should be deemed unusual comb variants.

 

Plate 35: Combination box – comb grave, Holmes Cem., Boone Co., AR. 

 

Finally, to return to Tennessee, a concrete or cement comb in Curlee Cem. (Readyville quad, Cannon Co.) seems to begin to blur the lines between comb and gravehouse. The key difference between a comb grave and a gravehouse is that the gravehouse has a roof that sits atop walls, or at least corner posts, whereas the comb has no walls, but rather is a gable roof set directly on the ground or (rarely) on a very low base.  This comb at Curlee Cem. (Plate 36) features low but distinct walls.  While more of a comb than a gravehouse, it is something of a hybrid, which serves to emphasize that the basic purpose of both types of grave covers is the same.

 

Plate 36: Cement or concrete comb grave with low supporting walls, Curlee Cem. , Readyville quad, Cannon Co.

 

Transitional grave covers:

 

As noted above, the cement comb at Curlee Cem. has very low supporting walls, a feature more appropriate to a gravehouse than a comb grave.  Two concrete combs at Rock Springs Cem. (Buffalo Valley quad, Putnam Co.) (Plate 37) also deviate from the normal comb pattern with each being set on a concrete base and having a flattened apex rather than a sharp ridgeline. Nonetheless, they have been counted as cement combs in this survey, inasmuch as they are more like combs than unlike.  Note that the molding mimics the side slabs and triangular end stones.      

                                                                

On the other hand, grave covers such as several graves covered with mounded and sculpted cement in Reed Cem. (Oneida South quad, Scott Co.) (Plate 38) clearly are not combs, though they serve the same purposes and probably were erected for the same reasons of protecting the graves.  Nor are the stone structures at Clear Creek Cem. (Lancing quad, Morgan Co.) (Plate 39) combs, although they have sloping side slabs of sandstone.  Observations made during this survey show that there are transitional forms between combs and gravehouses, combs and box graves, and a variety of unusual grave covers that may have some attributes in common with comb graves.  Nonetheless, comb graves represent a distinctive style of grave cover, normally featuring two planar surfaces inclined to meet at a sharp crest like a gable roof over the grave, and normally set directly on the ground rather than on foundations or walls.

 

 

Plate 37: Concrete combs showing non-standard features:  concrete bases and flattened ridge crests;  Rock Springs Cem., Buffalo Valley quad, Putnam Co.

 

Plate 38:  Grave covers made of mounded and shaped cement in Reed Cem., Oneida South quad, Scott Co.

 

Plate 39:  Grave with mixed box and comb grave characteristics in Clear Creek Cem., Lancing quad, Morgan Co.  Original slab top cover has been broken.

 

An additional class of comb grave:

 

            Near the woods along the back edge of an Overton Co. comb cemetery lies a very special comb.  It is small –just 33 inches long—and uninscribed except for the name “Zip” neatly engraved on one gable stone.  It is the grave of a much beloved dog that died in Dec. 2012.  Zip’s owner is an admirer of the comb grave tradition and chose to memorialize Zip in this manner (Plate 40).

 

            Zip’s comb is made of sandstone slabs from a quarry in Rhea Co.  The stones were cut, Zip’s name engraved, and the comb erected by a close friend of Zip’s master.  Inasmuch as Zip’s comb was erected in 2013, the earlier statement regarding the Kathleen Rodger’s 2012 comb as being the most recent comb must be revised as the most recent comb for a human being.

 

                A second comb for a pet exists in Sumner Co., well to the west of the main comb range.  This comb was erected in 2012 by an historian with an interest in Tennessee’s cultural history, in memory of his cat, Stubby.  He explained, “I thought Sumner County needed one, even though the form was historically expressed further east, on the Highland Rim. I bought two longer than wide slabs of sandstone from Lowe's or Home Depot. Not Hartselle Formation, I know, but that is not easily available in Sumner County.”1

 

1Dr. Joseph C. Douglas, personal communication, Mar. 2014.

Plate 40: A sandstone comb for Zip, a beloved dog, Overton Co.

 

A third pet comb exists in a backyard in Monterey (Putnam Co.), where it was constructed several years ago over the grave of a pet dog.  The gentleman who erected

 it formerly worked in kitchen counter installation and had some spare slabs of stone.  Although he was unfamiliar with the term “comb grave,” he most likely was inspired by combs seen in local cemeteries.             

 

While combs over pet graves are a rarity, they are nonetheless legitimate combs.  They are erected out of affection for and in tribute to the departed friends, just as regular combs have been erected.

 

Loss of combs:

 

            Both Cantrell (1981) and Ball (1998) comment on the destruction and disappearance of comb graves.  For the present survey, some 33 cemeteries were noted that once had combs, but which no longer do (Appendix H).  In many cases the presence of a former comb is recorded by a pair of triangular gable stones left behind when the side slabs were removed.  In the case of 20 former comb cemeteries, the combs were present when first visited for this study, but not when revisited in later years.

 

            The reasons for the loss of combs are numerous.  Cantrell (1981) notes that some cemetery committee members feel combs do not fit in well with “well-ordered rows” of modern headstones, that they are a “hindrance to the proper upkeep of a cemetery”, that they are “snake harbors,” and that they “are being removed to make graveyard cleaning easier.” Ball (1998) comments “even markers made of stone are not impervious to the long term deteriorating effects of wind, rain, and freezing weather or destruction by unthinking (or uncaring) individuals bent on vandalism.”

            During the present study the following reasons for damage to or destruction of combs were catalogued: 

 

1) Sheet metal combs collapse as their wooden frames rot; once collapsed they tend to be removed rather than rebuilt.  Six of the 20 cemeteries that have lost their combs since the beginning of this survey fall into this category.

 

2) Some stone combs are broken by falling trees (e.g., Southard Cem., Burgess Falls quad, White Co.).

 

3) Combs are sometimes removed by individuals who fear that they may harbor snakes (e.g., Richard Bradley Cem., Monterey Lake quad, White Co.). 

 

4) Combs are taken down by groundskeepers for various reasons; broken or deteriorated combs are more likely to be removed by groundskeepers than combs in good condition (e.g., Ole Bethel Cem., Dale Hollow Reservoir SE quad, Overton Co.).

 

5) Cemeteries, including comb graves, are moved for commercial development; when the remains are moved, the combs may not get re-erected at the new gravesite (e.g., the lone comb grave of Ben Allen, formerly located just two blocks west of the courthouse square in Livingston, was removed for new construction).

 

6) Combs may be dismantled for whatever reason, and the stones repurposed in the cemetery (e.g. Hall Cem., Burristown quad, Clay Co. where comb side slabs have been made into a bench;  McBroom Cem., Cookeville West quad where four side slabs from two combs have been used for a sidewalk; and Walnut Grove Cem., Livingston quad, Overton Co., Plate 41, where comb slabs have been used in a bench and patio).

 

Plate 41:  Bench and patio beside Walnut Grove Cem. (Livingston quad, Overton Co.) which no longer has any extant comb graves.

7) Combs are sometimes removed by family members and replaced with “nicer” modern stones (e.g., the 1936 comb of Baley Fredric Allred in Cub Cem., Crawford quad, Overton Co.), or because family members feel the old-fashioned combs may attract vandals (e.g.,Phillips Cem., Cookeville East quad, Putnam Co.).

 

8) Comb stones, according to several informants, are sometimes stolen out of graveyards by people who use them for walkways and patios.

 

Natural weathering processes may rapidly destroy combs made of inferior stone, such as Chattanooga shale, and obliterate inscriptions on limestone grave markers in little over a century, but combs made of well-indurated quartz sandstone, such as the Hartselle sandstone, should last for many centuries.  The relatively rapid loss of combs in the latter half of the 20th century is largely due to misguided human activities. 

To respect the wishes of both the departed and of their loved ones who memorialized them with combs, we should preserve the remaining combs.  The combs provide an interesting glimpse of a nearly bygone funerary custom, one that apparently is original with Tennesseans. In the words of Lynwood Montell, a well known folklorist, “these traditional prismatic grave structures more than any other single cultural feature lend uniqueness to the folk cemeteries in the Upper Cumberland” (Montell, 1993). The comb graves of Tennessee, and other states as well, constitute an interesting and valuable part of our material cultural heritage and should be cherished.

Summary:

 

A comb grave is an interment over which a protective cover having the form of a gable roof, resting directly on the grave (not raised above it on walls or corner posts), has been erected.  Most combs are made of sandstone slabs, with other materials being used to a much lesser degree:  limestone, marble, cement or concrete, sheet metal, foliated granite, and even shale.  In Tennessee, sandstone slabs quarried from the Hartselle Formation are the traditionally preferred comb-building material.

 

 Tennessee combs are found in a geographic belt that parallels the western escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau from Winchester northward to just across the state line into Kentucky.  The majority of combs are found in small cemeteries on the Eastern Highland Rim, but combs are also found on the Hartselle Bench and on the western portions of the Cumberland Plateau itself.  This geographic distribution strongly correlates with the outcrop of the Hartselle Formation along the western flank of the Plateau and in erosional outliers of the Plateau.  Evidently, the presence of appropriate sandstone in the Hartselle Formation exerted a major control on the use of combs to cover graves.

 

Within the main comb range there are two notable local concentrations of comb graves in the Caney Fork Valley (White and northern Van Buren counties) and in Overton Co.

 

Although admittedly incomplete, the data presented in this paper, augmented with anecdotal information, point toward the conclusion that the style of covered graves known as comb graves originated in Tennessee, likely in or near White Co. around 1815-1820, or possibly slightly earlier.  From Tennessee, the comb style and custom was carried, mainly westward and southward, into other states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Oklahoma, and also into Kentucky, West Virginia and North Carolina.  The relationship, if any, between the Tennessee comb tradition and the former wooden combs of the Delmarva Peninsula remains at present enigmatic. 

 

Historic picture postcards show that at least a few Native American Spirit Houses were, by form and construction, combs; however, it seems probable that these grave covers were unrelated to the Tennessee comb grave tradition.

 

More definitively documented by the data, the comb style spread rapidly throughout the full length of its main Tennessee range by the mid-1830s. The style achieved its greatest popularity during the latter half of the 19th century and was still commonly used, especially in Overton Co., up through the 1930s.  By the 1950s the practice of erecting combs over graves had nearly been abandoned, with a few rare exceptions.  Nonetheless, the custom has survived into the 21st century, the most recent two combs for human interments being erected in 2001 and 2012.

 

Combs serve the same functional purposes as any other form of grave cover, primarily to offer some protection to the grave from the elements and, to some extent, from animals.  The erection of a comb over the grave of a loved one no doubt also helped fulfill emotional needs, showing that the deceased was cared for.  Combs also serve to make graves more permanent, less likely to disappear when graveyards cease to be kept up.

 

During the course of this study comb graves were documented in 429 Tennessee cemeteries; however, the actual number of comb cemeteries is undoubtedly higher.  As of 2017 there were 3303 extant comb graves known in Tennessee, far more than any other state. Unfortunately, combs are being dismantled or destroyed for a variety of reasons, none of them very good.  At least 34 former comb cemeteries are known within the main Tennessee comb grave range; of these, 20 have lost their combs since this survey was initiated in the mid-1970s.

 

In recent years, combs have been erected over at least three pet graves.

 

Comb graves, an original Tennessee folk custom, represent an unusual and charming part of Tennessee’s material cultural heritage.  Comb graves should be appreciated and conserved, yea even cherished.

 

 

 

 

Concluding musings:

 

In Overton county, on the back side of Alpine Mtn., lying on the Hartselle Bench at a spot reached via several miles of very rough 4WD road, is an old house site, the house now entirely disappeared except for some ornamental plantings and a pile of stones that may have been a chimney.  A keen eye is needed to recognize this as the location of a former home.  In contrast, a hiker passing by the right spot in the woods a few yards to the north of the house site could not fail to notice a lone comb grave. Made of Hartselle sandstone, beautifully inscribed, and almost certainly a Vaughn family product from their nearby quarry, this comb is in nearly perfect condition. The inscription reads “Daughter of W. T. & Z. D. Gore  Born Mar. 17. 1902.  Died The Same.  At Rest.”  Although the infant may not have lived long enough to receive a name, her parents nonetheless cared sufficiently to provide her with a lasting memorial. 

 

Nameless, forgotten, her home long abandoned and now almost entirely obliterated, the short existence of the Gore infant is still memorialized 115 years after her death.  Indeed, the fine-grained, quartz-cemented Hartselle sandstone will easily endure long after marble has weathered to illegibility; the sandstone will likely outlast granite.  Barring its destruction by a falling tree or vandals, this comb should easily attest to her memory for several centuries more.  Hikers wandering through the woods will readily see her grave long after the house site is completely unrecognizable.  This solitary comb in the wilderness bears witness to the remarkable permanence of the Hartselle sandstone comb graves.

 

--R.I.P.--

 

 

 

 

References Cited:

 

Ball, Donald B., 1977, Observations on the Form and Function of Middle Tennessee

            Gravehouses: Tennessee Anthropologist, v. II, n. 1, Spring 1977, p. 29-61.

 

Ball, Donald B., 1997, Types of Early Grave Decoration in Middle Tennessee:

            Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin, v. LVIII, n. 3, p. 117-127.

 

Ball, Donald B., 1999, Comments on the Distribution and Chronology of Comb Graves

in the Upland South:  Ohio Valley Historical Archaeology, v. 14, p. 58-66.

 

Ball, Donald B., 2005, Further Observations on Gravehouse Origins in the Upland

            South: Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin, v. LXI, n. 2, p. 17-30.

 

Ball, Donald B., 2008, An Alternate Hypothesis on the Origin of Upland South

            Gravehouses:  Ohio Valley Historical Archaeology, v. 23, p. 101-118.

 

Brown, Ian W., 2004, Some Grave Houses in West-central Alabama: AGS Quarterly,

            Bulletin of the Association for Gravestone Studies, v. 28, n. 2, p. 14-15.

 

Burnett, Abby. 2014.  Gone to the Grave:  Burial Customs of the Arkansas Ozarks,

            1850-1950:  The University Press of Mississippi, 327 p.

 

Cantrell, Brent, 1981, Traditional Grave Structures on the Eastern Highland Rim:

            Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin, v. XLVII, n. 3, p. 93-103.

 

Crissman, James K., 1994, Death and Dying in Central Appalachia: Urbana, University

            of Illinois Press, 247 p.

 

Federal Writers’ Project, 1938, Delaware: A Guide to the First State, Compiled and

            Written by the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration:

            The Viking Press, New York, 549 p.

 

Finch, Richard C., 1982, Unique Grave Houses in Tennessee:  Monterey, TN, The

            Standing Stone Press, 4th year, n. 4, Spring 1982, p. 1-3.

 

Finch, Richard C., 2004, Ashes to Ashes, in Birdwell, Michael E. and Dickinson, W.

            Calvin, 2004, Rural Life and Culture in the Upper Cumberland: Lexington, KY,

            The University Press of Kentucky, p. 66-72

 

Finch, Richard C., 2013, Tennessee Comb Grave Tradition Survives into the 21st

            Century:  Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin, v. LXIX, n. 1 (Spring 2013),

p.17-24.

 

Jacob, John E., 1971, Graveyards and Gravestones of Wicomico: Salisbury, MD,

            Salisbury Advertiser, 131 p.

 

Jordan-Bychkov, Terry G., 2003, The Upland South: Santa Fe, NM, Center for

            American Places, 121 p.

 

Montell, William Lynwood, 1993, Upper Cumberland Country: The University Press of

            Mississippi, Print-on-Demand Edition,187 p.

 

Oxford English Dictionary, The Compact Edition, Vol. 1 A-O, 1971: New York,      Oxford University Press, p. 472.

 

Pepper, Dorothy W., 1976, Folklore of Sussex County, Delaware: Sussex County

            Bicentennial Committee, (no publisher given), 116 p.

 

Pollard, Geraldine Elrod, ed., 2003, The Fred Clark Book of Cemeteries of White

County, Tennessee, v I and II: Published by The White County Genealogical – Historical Society, 564 p. and 524 p.

 

Richmond, Michael D., 1998, An Archeological Survey of the Proposed Lake       Cumberland Debris Management System Near the Community of Redbird in        Whitley County, Kentucky:  Lexington, KY, Contract Publications Series 98-09          prepared by Cultural Resource Analysists, Inc., 28 p.

 

Slavens, Chris, 2017, The Roofed Graves of Delmarva: Laurel Historical Society

            Newsletter, Winter 2017, p. 4.

 

White, Vernon, 2002, Grave Covers:  Our Cultural Heritage: Berea, KY, KANA Imprints,

            119 p.

 

Zebley, Frank R., 1947, The Churches of Delaware: (no publisher given), 363 pages.

 

Special thanks to Janie C. Finch for accompanying me on many of my cemetery survey outings and for her superb proofreading and editing abilities which have greatly improved this manuscript.

 

Any reader of this paper who knows of the existence of a Tennessee comb cemetery not listed in Appendix A1 or A2 is urged to send this information to the author at rfinch@tntech.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX A-1: Comb Cemetery Inventory by Quadrangle Map:

Locations, Numbers of combs, Notes

 

NB:  GPS set for NAD 27 datum (same datum used for topos)

NB:  * indicates lat-long measured from the quads, not on-site GPS readings.

 

First number after quad name = number of comb cemeteries in quad, based on numbers in ( ), i.e., sum of number of cems with extant combs + number of cems with only ex-combs.  NB: Cems with only “possible” ex-combs listed but not included in comb cem total for quad (there are 9 such cems listed)..

 

NB: Among the ex-comb cems included in the comb cem count are three cems recorded as comb cems when first surveyed, that when resurveyed (2011-2017) were not only found to no longer contain combs but which were said by informants who should know to never have contained combs.  The rationale for including these three cems in the ex-comb cem count is this:  It is unlikely that the mistake of mis-recording a non-comb cem as a comb cem occurred three separate times during this survey.  More probably the informants had their own reasons for denying the former existence of combs in these cems.  Ex-comb cems listed in blue.

 

Number of extant combs, used to calculate total extant combs in Tennessee (2011-

2017) given in brackets [ ] 

 

UID = Unidentified cemetery, no basis on which to name.

 

 

 

COMB CEMETERIES IN THE MAIN TENNESSEE COMB CEMETERY RANGE:

 

Alpine Q – 19 (17 + 2 ex-comb cems) + 1 pos ex-comb cem;  [123 extant] + 7 ex-combs

 

1 Allison (Winton) Cem                  36 24 38.5*     85 12 16       ex-comb cem;  recorded in original survey as a comb cem;  no combs at present;  caretaker states that it never had a comb.

2 Cooper-Bowman Cem                 36 25 15.5*    85 12 32.5    1 comb

3 Ferrill Cem                                     36 23 17*       85 09 45         19 combs

4 Garrett Cem                                   36 29 53.5*    85 07 32        1 comb

5 Green Hill Cem                             36 23 38*       85 13 42        1 comb

6 Hancock Cem                               36 23 22*       85 11 28.5    2 combs

7 Hayter Cem                                    36 22 51*       85 11 55        45 combs

 - Wm Ledbetter Cem                       36 23 25.4     85 14 55.7    possible ex-comb cem

8 Martin Cem                                    36 26 37*       85 12 52        3 combs

9 Jane R. McDonald Cem              36 24 46.5*    85 13 24        3 combs

10 McManus-Roberts Cem                        36 23 11*       85 13 47.5    1 comb

11 Nettlecarrier Creek Cem            36 23 41.9     85 11 58.9    28 combs       1833

12 Norrod Cem                                 36 26 06*       85 14 04        2 combs

13 Robbins Cem                              36 26 14*        85 08 28.5    ex-comb cem; 6 combs

            present when first visited

14 Smith Cem                                   36 24 41.5*    85 10 45.5    2 combs

15 Clayton Smith Cem                    36 24 42*       85 08 55         10 combs

16 Dugan Smith Cem                     36 25 01.5*    85 09 18        1 comb

17 Story Cem                                    36 28 18*       85 12 08.5    1 comb          

18 Winningham Cem                      36 29 04*       85 07 53        1 comb

19 Winton combs                             36 23 31.6     85 13 16.0    2 combs

 

Alto Q – 4  [15 extant]

           

20 Caldwell Cem                             35 16 55.5*    85 53 10        6 limestone combs

21 Cash Cem                                   35 22 21.7     85 57 22.5    4 limestone combs

22 Old Baptist Cem                          35 18 45.2     85 53 05.6    3 limestone combs

23 Willis Cem                                   35 19 22.8     85 54 14.4    2 combs

 

Bald Knob Q – 27  (24 + 3 ex-comb cems);   [347 extant] + 22-29 ex-combs

 

24 Bethlehem Cem                         35 51 34*       85 28 40        30 + at least 5 ex-combs

25 Big Fork Cem                              35 48 43.7     85 27 04.4    37 + 2 ex + 4 pos ex-comb

26 Hannah Billingsley comb         35 45 54.6     85 23 31.9   1 lone comb 

27 Cummingsville Cem                  35 48 15.6     85 27 41.5    5 + 2 ex-combs

28 Cunningham Cem                     35 49 32.1     85 25 46.2    9 combs

29 Dodson Rd. Cem                        35 52 29*       85 24 17        ex-comb cem

30 Carter Drake Cem                      35 46 54.5*    85 24 22.5    1 comb

31 Ford Cem                                     35 46 54.0     85 27 37.4    2 combs

32 Forsythe Cem                             35 48 02.3     85 25 13.4    2 combs

33 Wm. Fraser comb                       35 49 03.6     85 22 54.3   1 lone comb

34 Frazier Chapel Cem                  35 49 37*       85 23 55      15 combs

35 Gamble Cem                               35 47 59.9     85 25 12.4    1 comb, badly broken up

36 Gravel Hill Cem                          35 48 10.6     85 25 34.5    28 combs

37 Greenwood Cem                                    35 50 37*       85 29 56        25 combs

38 Guy comb                                                35 49 00.1     85 24 01.0    1 lone comb

39 Haston Cem                                35 47 58.5     85 26 20.7    ex-comb cem, 2 children’s ex-combs

40 Hodges Cem                               35 48 56.8     85 28 36.7    28 + 1 or 2 pos ex-combs

41 Hollingsworth Cem                    35 47 55.2     85 29 50.5    11 + 1 or 2 prob ex-combs

42 Lewis (Cane Creek) Cem         35 45 56*       85 23 47        5 + 1 prob ex-comb

43 Moon Cem                                   35 51 40.9     85 25 44.2    1 or 2 ex-combs: several sandstone comb slabs, representing at least two combs, visible when first visited;  not as many slabs visible when revisited in 2014;  slabs gradually being buried.

44 Old Union Cem                           35 49 30.4     85 26 26.9    102 + >4 prob ex-combs

45 Rogers Cem                                35 51 47.1     85 25 47.1    11 + 1 prob ex-comb

46 Scurlock Cem                             35 49 35         85 29 53        12 combs

47 Sparkman-Yates Cem               35 48 16.7     85 29 42.6    13 combs       Uninscribed comb covers 1816 grave.

48 Swinging Bridge Cem               35 47 44.3     85 24 31.0      3 combs, one of which is

            missing one side slab

49 White Cem                                   35 50 03.5     85 25 46.5    1 + 1 ex + 1 pos ex-comb

50 Wilson Cem                              35 46 17.3     85 24 02.9    3 combs

 

Baxter Q – 4 (3 + 1 ex-comb cem);   [4 extant] + 1 ex-comb

 

51 Halfacre Cem                              36 14 11*       85 40 04        ex-comb cem, formerly

1 5-Vee metal comb

52 Hop T. Lee Cem                          36 13 22*       85 43 36.5    1 comb

53 Maxwell Family Cem                 36 07 44.3     85 44 52.6    2 combs

54 Smellage Cem                            36 07 41.0     85 41 59.5    1 comb

 

Buffalo Valley Q – 3  [8 extant]

           

55 Lancaster Cem                           36 07 39.3     85 51 21.6    4 concrete combs

56 Rock Springs Cem.                    36 09 34.6     85 46 56.8    2 concrete combs

57 Russell Cem                               36 08 11.0     85 45 27.2    2 combs, features

            1 sandstone comb and 1 infant’s comb made of Chattanooga Shale

 

Burgess Falls Q – 9 (8 + 1 ex-comb cem);  [51 extant] + 2 – 6 ex-combs

 

58 England Cem                              36 01 36.0     85 30 02.8    4 + 1 pos ex-comb

59 Farley Cem                                  36 02 11.4     85 36 16.2    3 combs

60 Goodwin Cem                             36 03 33.4     85 30 33.1    3 combs

61 Lovelady Cem                             36 05 24.3     85 30 42.2    4 combs

62 Rice Cem                                     36 02 10.3     85 35 53.5    1 comb + 1 pos ex-comb

63 Saylor Cem                                  36 02 12*       85 32 00        28 combs + 1 probable

ex-comb

64 Southard Cem                            36 00 22.5     85 34 51.6    3 combs

65 Tollison Cem                               36 00 16.5*    85 34 32        5 + 1 ex-comb

66 West Cem                                    36 06 46.5*    85 31 45        ex-comb cem, 1 to possibly 4  ex-combs

 

Burristown Q – 5 (4 + 1 ex-comb cem);   [10 extant] + 1 ex-comb

 

67 Hall Cem                                      36 29 58*       85 32 13        ex-comb cem; 1 comb

            when first visited, now dismantled and used as a bench.

68 Lynn Cem                                                36 22 58*       85 32 42        2 limestone combs

69 McDonald Cem                           36 29 09*       85 30 43        5 combs

70 New Hope Cem                          36 22 50*       85 30 37        2 combs

71 Pleasant Hill Cem                      36 24 53*        85 34 01        1 comb

 

Burrow Cove Q – 2  [2 extant]

 

72 Payne Cove Cem                       35 19 32.5*    85 49 45        1 limestone comb  

73 Warren Cem                                35 18 08*       85 52 29        1 limestone comb   

There is what appears to be a Native American burial mound in this cemetery.

 

Byrdstown Q – 3 [6 extant]

 

74 Eligah Garret Cem                     36 31 20.0     85 08 48.2   1 limestone comb

75 Hatcher Hall Cem                       36 30 19*       85 13 30        3 combs

76 Love Lady Sims Cem                 36 35 53*       85 09 53        2 combs

 

Campaign Q  - 8 (7 + 1 ex-comb cem)   [13 extant]

 

77 Bain Cem                                     35 52 22*       85 40 29        1 comb

78 Len Cantrell Cem                       35 51 02.7     85 38 15.2     ex-comb cem;  Jerry Wright, who grew up here, said there were combs, which were removed by a later landowner;  broken slabs beside cem.

79 Chisam Cem                               35 49 17.6     85 37 33.3    1 comb

80 Chisum-Cole                               35 49 41.4     85 40 17.4    2 combs

81 Concord Cem                              35 46 14*       85 44 54        1 comb

82 Pine Bluff Cem                           35 47 00*        85 37 41        4 combs

83 Wiley Sandrs (sic) comb           35 50 40.6     85 39 11.4    1 lone comb

84 Wright Cem                                 35 50 52.5*    85 38 36        3 combs

 

Campbell Jcn. Q – 2 [3 extant]

 

85 Pugh Cem                                   36 05 02*       85 07 46.5    2 combs

86 Rains Cem                                  36 02 49.6     85 11 30.6   1 badly broken up comb

 

Capitol Hill Q – 1 [3 extant]

 

87 Partin Cem                                  35 15 17.1     86 00 09.4    3 limestone combs

 

Cardwell Mtn. Q – 2  [4 extant]

 

88 Mt. Vernon Cem                         35 44 21*       85 38 17.5    1 comb

89 Shellsford Cem                           35 40 15*       85 42 28        3 limestone combs

 

Cassville Q – 22  (21 + 1 ex-comb cem);  [358 extant] + 19 or more ex-combs

 

90 Anderson Cem                           35 54 14*       85 33 35        16 combs

91 Baker Cem east                          35 59 29*       85 31 58        ex-comb cem, 4 ex +

1 pos ex-comb

92 Blankenship-Ball-Baker Cem   35 59 52.5    85 33 04.3    2 combs

93 Cooke Cem                                 35 54 55*       85 35 52.5    4 combs         1830

94 Cope and Sullivan Cem                       35 56 47.5     85 36 18.8    2 combs

95 Davis Cem                                   35 56 30*       85 31 03        15 + 3 ex-combs

96 Gooch-Jett Cem                          35 52 52.8     85 30 14.9    3 combs

97 Herd-Hensley-Lowery Cem      35 55 07.5     85 30 16.8    16 combs      

98 Hurd Cem                                                35 53 07*       85 31 37        53 + 2 ex-combs

99 Martin Cem                                  35 57 27.1     85 33 14.5    10 combs (3 in poor cond.)

100 McGee Cem                              35 59 39.4     85 34 02.4    2 combs

101 Mt Gilead Cem                          35 53 42.2     85 30 11.5    138 combs     1836

            Mt Gilead contains more combs than any other comb cemetery.

102 New Hope Cem                                    35 56 51.5*    85 36 26        31 + 5 ex-combs

103 Oakwood combs                       35 59 54.6     85 31 05.0    2 combs right on the edge

            of SR 136 ROW

104 Old Zion Cem                           35 58 14*       85 33 49        5 + 1 ex + 1 prob ex, plus ca. 10 – 12 slabs laid flat that may have once been combs

105 Walker–England Cem             35 58 31.4     85 32 45.5    3 combs + 2 ex-combs

106 Ward-Cashdollar Cem                        35 55 26.5*    85 33 21        5 combs

107 Wesley Chapel Cem               35 58 23*       85 36 46.5    13 combs

108 White Cem                                35 54 49.8     85 30 40.3    19 combs

109 Winstead Cem                          35 53 51.5     85 34 28.9    2 combs

110 Young Cem                               35 54 11.3     85 32 55.7    6 combs

111 Young-Hensley Chapel Cem            35 54 27*       85 31 47        11 combs

 

Clarkrange Q  - 2  [5 extant]  possibly 8 originally

 

112 Campground Cem                   36 11 21.5*    85 03 17        2 + 3 prob ex-combs

113 Weeks Cem                               36 11 55.6     85 05 47.0    3

 

Cookeville East Q – 15  (13 + 2 ex-comb cem) + 1 pos ex-comb cem; 

[47 extant]  52+ originally

 

114 Bear Creek Cem                       36 14 27.6     85 25 57.5    3 combs: 1 sandstone +

2 sheet metal, 1989 & 2001; formerly 4 5-Vee sheet metal combs, but 2 removed

115 James Bohannon Cem           36 07 58.8     85 25 57.9    16 combs      

116 Buck Cem north                       36 09 42.6     85 26 26.2    10 combs

117 Buck Cem south                      36 08 59.0     85 26 59.7    1 comb

118 Buck Cem west                                    36 09 18.9     85 27 14.0    3 combs

119 Campbell-Bohannon Cem     36 07 54.3     85 25 11.4    ex-comb cem, 4 or 5  combs when photographed in 1979.

120 Lee Cem                                    36 09 19.3     85 22 54.1    3 combs

121 Marchbanks Cem                     36 12 22.5     85 26 23.7    1 comb + 1 pos ex-comb

122 Norris Cem                                36 14 43.0     85 27 11.1    1 + 1 pos ex-comb

123 Officer Chapel Cem                 36 13 22.8     85 24 57.5    5 combs

124 Pearson Cem                            36 12 22.4     85 29 16.5    1 comb

125 Phillips Cem                             36 12 46.9     85 27 24.7    ex-combs cem, combs present when first visited.

126 Quarles Cem                             36 10 35.1     85 26 44.5    1 comb 

-       Salem Church Cem                36 08 27.8     85 28 56.3     pos. ex-comb cem:

          3 possible or probable ex-combs

127 Whitaker Cem                           36 09 12.9      85 24 05.1    1 comb

128 Whitson-Denton Cem             36 09 36.9     85 28 37.0    1 comb

 

Cookeville West Q – 18 (17 + 1 ex-comb cem)  [64 extant] + unk. number of ex-combs

 

129 Alex Byers Cem                        36 11 53.9     85 35 57.6    12 combs

130 Bloomington Springs Cem     36 11 47.5     85 37 14.1    3 combs + 1 prob ex-comb

131 Brewington Cem                      36 09 38.5     85 33 30.9    4 + 1 ex-comb

132 Bullington (Quarles) Cem      36 12 53.9     85 32 28.1    1 comb          

133 Cooke Cem                               36 08 55.6     85 36 54.0    ex-comb cem;  at least

            one extant when first visited.

134 Double Springs Cem               36 10 19.4     85 35 26.8    1 comb

135 Green Family Cem                   36 07 39.7     85 30 01.3    1 comb

136 Judd Cem                                  36 09 01.3     85 32 17.0    1 combs + 1 ex-comb

137 McBroom Cem                          36 11 22.6     85 36 51.0    1 + 2 probable ex-combs

138 Pine Hill Cem                           36 14 58.7     85 33 39.6    1 matrimonial comb

139 Pippin Cem                               36 13 17.1     85 33 51.7    12 combs

140 Post Oak Shade Cem              36 11 15.6     85 33 54.9    2 combs + formerly 1 sheet metal comb when first visited

141 Scarlett Cem                             36 09 16.6     85 31 53.6    4 combs

            Unusual location in middle of intersection of two city streets.

142 Smyrna Cem                             36 12 33.5     85 30 37.6    9 + 1 ex-comb

143 Stewart Cem                             36 08 14.4     85 34 25.8    1 comb

144 Thompson-Carr Cem               36 07 50.4     85 34 21.4    3 + 3 probable ex-combs

145 Wasson-Essex Cem                36 07 49.5     85 31 25.0    6 combs + 1pos ex-comb

146 Whitson Cem                            36 11 46.5     85 35 05.2    2 combs

 

Crawford Q – 22  [418 extant] + 6 ex-combs, 8 prob. ex-combs, 5-6 pos ex-combs

 

147 Allred Cem                                36 19 31.5     85 12 53.8    22 + 1 ex-comb

148 Allred Family Cem                   36 19 35.2     85 11 14.2    6 combs

149 Bilbrey grave                             36 21 05.7      85 10 26.3   1 lone comb

150 Boswell Cem                             36 19 09.6     85 11 08.1    19 + 1 probable ex-comb

151 Bowman Cem                           36 16 29.3     85 11 52.9    3 combs

152 Brown Cem                               36 21 39.0      85 14 26.4    3 combs

153 Brown-Walker Cem                 36 18 32.3     85 14 30.7    6 + 2 ex + 3 probable           ex-combs

154 Cub Cem                                   36 18 18.2     85 10 20.4    35 + 1 ex + 3-4 possible

            ex-combs;      1963 comb

155 Davis Cem                                 36 15 26.6     85 12 43.5    44 combs

156 Falling Springs Cem               36 20 27.6     85 10 52.5    102 combs; one of the most interesting comb cemeteries in Tennessee   

157 French-Hill Cem                     36 19 48.7     85 13 42.2    8 combs           

158 Gore infant comb                     36 20 28.2     85 13 27.4    1 lone comb

159 Honey Springs Cem                36 15 50*       85 10 12        16 + 2 ex-combs

160 Ledbetter Cem                          36 22 17.8     85 13 53.4    4 combs

161 Looper Cem                              36 15 53.4     85 14 45.4      14 combs

162 Nicy Looper Cem                     36 18 07.8     85 11 45.7    10 combs

163 Phillips Cem                             36 18 44*       85 13 16        27 combs

164 Shiloh Cem                               36 18 42.1     85 11 12.3    23 combs

165 Speck Cem                                36 15 39.3     85 12 11.9    51 + 4 prob + 2 pos

ex-combs

166 UID comb                                   36 20 33.4     85 10 42.1    1 lone comb, but the presence of a small upright fieldstone nearby suggests that at least one other grave was present originally

167 UID cem S side Alpine Mtn.  36 19 52.2     85 12 54.2   8 combs

168 Walker Mountain Cem                        36 16 51.0     85 12 54.1    14 combs

 

Crossville Q – 1 (1 + 1 pos ex-comb cem not counted in total); [3 extant]

+ 2 pos ex-combs

 

   -  Crossville City Cem                   35 57 09*       85 00 57         2 possible ex-combs

169 Frost Cem                                  35 57 31.9      85 03 19.4     3 combs

 

Dale Hollow Dam Q – 1  [1 extant]

           

170 Fitzgerald Cem                         36 33 03.5*    85 29 45        1 comb           1839

 

Dale Hollow Res. SE Q – 4 (3 + 1 ex-comb cem)  [4 extant] + at least 3 ex-combs

 

171 Fellowship Cem                       36 31 05*       85 19 22         1 + 2 ex + 2 pos ex-combs

172 Mt. Pisgah Cem                        36 33 43*       85 17 51         2 combs

173 Ole Bethel Cem                        36 31 48*       85 17 18         ex-comb cem; combs

            present when first visited.

174 Sells Cem                                  36 30 40.0    85 17 07.7     1 comb

 

DeRossett Q – 6  [35 extant] + 3-4 ex-combs

 

175 Austin (Anderson) Cem          35 53 16.5*    85 22 27.5     20 + 3 – 4 ex-combs;

            uninscribed comb covers 1818 grave;  dated combs from 1820s

176 Dumplin Knob Cem                 35 53 18.2     85 16 56.0      1 comb

177 Lost Creek Cem                        35 52 50*       85 22 08         7 combs

178 Mitchell Cem (no. 2)                35 52 34.3     85 21 58.1      5 combs

179 John Shellito comb                  35 52 35.7     85 17 43.5     1 lone headless comb

180 John L. Smith comb                 35 55 23.5     85 17 53.2      1 lone comb; difficult to locate:  badly overgrown area, no good landmarks;  should be sought in winter.

 

Dibbrell Q – 1  [2 extant]

 

181 Woods Cem                              35 50 49.5*    85 50 06        2 combs

 

 

 

Doyle Q – 29  (28 + 1 ex-comb cem) + 1 pos ex-comb cem;  [511 extant] + 3 ex-combs,

7 prob ex-combs + 7 – 11 pos ex-combs

 

182 Anderson Cem                         35 49 39.5*    85 30 56        53 combs

183 Beech Cove (Dodson) Cem   35 46 59.1     85 31 15.3     27 combs

184 Bright Cem                                35 49 31.0     85 36 01.3      1 comb

185 Cummings (Stony Pt) Cem   35 48 09.4     85 30 57.2      2 combs        

186 Dillon Cem                                35 49 01.2     85 35 58.4      1 comb

187 Dillon-Sparkman Cem                        35 48 57*       85 34 26.5     18 combs

188 Simon Dodson Cem                35 47 01.2     85 31 03.6     1 comb

189 Doyle Cem north                      35 51 19.2     85 30 59.2      1 comb

190 Doyle Cem south                     35 50 47*       85 30 40         8 combs

191 Hash Cem                                 35 47 20.2     85 37 13.0      3 combs         1832

192 Holder Cem                               35 49 08.1     85 33 05.6    3 combs + 2 prob

ex-combs

193 Hutson Cem  No. 3                  35 50 21.8     85 36 03.0      24 combs       1833

  -    Abel Hutson Cem                     35 50 15.0     85 35 56.6      1 possible ex-comb

194 Jericho Cem                              35 50 05.5*    85 34 14        21 combs

195 McElroy Cem                            35 47 33*       85 33 55         39 combs

196 Moore Cem                                35 49 48*       85 36 03         7 combs

197 Moore Cem No. 2                     35 51 48.2     85 35 21.8      3 + 1 prob ex-comb

198 Moore Cem No. 3                     35 52 19.3     85 33 54.0      8 + 1 prob ex-comb + slabs laid flat that likely represent another 8 combs

199 Mt. Pisgah Cem                        35 50 52.5     85 35 32.1      126 + 1 prob + 2 pos ex-combs; perhaps the best comb cemetery in Tennessee for variety; 1817 dated comb, believed on basis of headstone style to have been erected later than date

200 Old Jericho Cem                      35 50 29.0      85 33 51.5     65 + 1 prob ex-comb

201 Roberts Cem                             35 52 12*       85 37 02.5     2 combs

202 Rock Island Cem                      35 47 50.7     85 36 56.8      ex-comb cem, 2 ex-combs

203 Simmons Cem                          35 48 54*       85 30 06         3 combs

204 Simrell Cem                              35 51 36*       85 36 14         24 combs

205 Charlie Sparkman Cem          35 50 49.7     85 37 23.0      5 + 1 ex-comb

206 Sparkmantown (Hopewell) Cem 35 48 27*  85 30 41        22 combs      

207 Swindell Cem                           35 51 48*       85 36 28.5     3 combs

208 Templeton Cem                        35 50 39.5     85 35 19.5      1 comb

209 Underwood Cem                      35 50 39.3     85 31 45.0      2 combs

210 Walling-Randals Cem             35 52 15.5*    85 31 44        38 combs

 

Dry Valley Q – 20 (18 + 2 ex-comb cems);  [94 extant]

 

211 Bartlett Cem                              36 07 25.1     85 26 36.0      4 + 2 possible ex-combs

  -    Board Valley Church Cem     36 03 02*      85 22 44       possible ex-combs

212 Brown’s Mill Cem                     36 07 05.0     85 27 23.6      4 combs

213 Cash-Farley Cem                     36 04 21.1     85 28 50.3     5 combs

214 Cherry Creek C of C Cem      36 00 23.6     85 25 45.8      6 combs

215 Cunningham Cem                   36 04 18.9     85 29 37.8      4 flat sheet metal combs

216 Dyer Cem                                  36 04 03.9     85 27 52.1      11 combs

217 England Cem (north)              36 02 01.3     85 28 51.7      3 + 1 probable ex-comb

218 England Cem (south)              36 01 01.0     85 29 01.5      6 combs

219 Hill Cem                                     36 02 38.1     85 28 22.6      12 combs

220 Isom Cem                                  36 04 24.7     85 28 42.0      2 combs

221 Pennington Cem                     36 04 40.8     85 28 50.7    5 combs

222 Robinson-Stallion Cem          36 05 26.4     85 27 16.7      ex-comb cem, 12 to

possibly 15 ex-combs

223 Scott Cem                                  36 00 59.9     85 29 56.2      4 combs, likely

5 originally; 1830

224 Sliger Cem                                36 07 09.9     85 29 45.8      1 comb

225 Smith Cem                                36 00 04.8     85 29 26.0      2 combs

226 Tettleton Cem                           36 00 18.8     85 28 16.8    2 combs

227 Upper Cherry Creek Cem       36 01 14.7     85 26 39.0      5 + 1 possible ex-comb

228 Watson Cem                             36 07 09.4     85 26 28.8      4 combs – said to have

            been 2-3 more prior to 1974 tornado damage

229 Whiteaker Cem                         36 06 44.8     85 27 03.7      ex-comb cem;  

2 ex-combs that the owners stated (in 2014) that they intended to restore; they re-set the headstones but used the broken side slabs in a small patio.

230 Wilhite Cem                              36 03 59.3     85 29 07.5      14 combs + 1 remnant

 

Herbert Domain Q – 3  [3 extant]

 

231 Bolin Cem                                 35 51 22.4     85 10 44.9      1 child’s comb

232 Newton Cem                             35 47 54.1     85 12 38.9      1 comb

233 Thomas Springs Cem             35 50 31*       85 13 15         1 infant’s comb

 

Hilham Q – 13 (12 + 1 prob ex-comb cem);  [29 extant] + 15 or more ex-combs

 

234 Andrew Cem                             36 26 44.2     85 22 38.0      5 combs

235 Campground Cem                   36 22 30.5     85 26 05.1      ex-comb cem, based on

            the presence of two triangular stones, apparently gable stones;  were these two

 stones in line it would be obvious that they represented a single former comb;  however, they are side by side and it is uncertain if they are remnants of two dismantled combs or one that has been redistributed to mark two graves;  the logical interpretation in either case is that this cem once had at least one comb.

236 Cook Cem                                 36 25 57.5     85 25 16.3      1 comb

237 Dale Cem                                  36 26 22.1     85 27 53.5      1 comb

238 Fisk Cem                                   36 24 25.7     85 26 12.7      2 + probably 5 ex-combs

239 Flat Creek Cem                                    36 23 39.5*    85 23 19.5     6 + 1 possible ex-comb;

             two combs dated 1956 & 1958 when first visited, no longer present

240 Fleming Cem                            36 23 35.1     85 23 59.4      3 combs

241 Glasscock Cem                                    36 27 22.2     85 22 35.3      6 combs

242 Holly Springs Cem                   36 25 07.5*    85 23 39.5     1 comb

243 McFerrin Cem                           36 29 25.2     85 24 28.1      1 comb

244 Neal Cem                                  36 24 28*       85 23 10         1 child’s comb

245 Old Union Cem                                    36 23 11.9     85 25 35.6      1 + 1 ex + 4 probable

            combs laid flat + 4 possible ex-combs

246 Elizabeth Savage comb          36 27 56.9     85 26 28.9      1 lone comb

 

Hillsboro Q – 4 (3 + 1 ex-comb cem);  [18 extant] + 1 ex-comb

 

247 Lambert Cem                            35 23 20.2     85 55 57.1      ex-comb cem;  metal

 comb photographed by Ball (1977), now gone.

248 Phillips Cem                             35 23 54.7     85 57 16.4      13 combs, 9 sandstone

            and 4 limestone

249 Price Cem                                  35 24 24*       85 55 32         1 dressed limestone comb

250 Stephenson Cem                     35 23 50.5     85 55 36.5   4 dressed limestone combs

 

Irving College Q – 2  [3 extant]

 

251 Armstrong Cem                                    35 34 30*      85 44 10          1 comb

252 Philadelphia Cem                    35 31 15*      85 41 08          2 combs

 

Isoline Q – 1  [1 extant]

 

253 Creston Cem                             36 00 25*      85 04 47          1 comb

 

Jamestown Q – 1  [2 extant]

 

254 Franklin Cem                            36 27 15.5*    84 59 31.5     2 combs, including one

            which has been repaired with cinderblocks.

 

Jones Knob Q – 2  [6 extant]

 

255 Cold Spring Cem                     36 08 21*       84 59 55         1 comb

256 Westfelt Cem                            36 12 42.5     84 55 33.5      5 combs

 

Liberty Q – 1   [1 extant, limestone]

 

257 New Hope Cem                        36 04 50*       85 59 50         1 limestone comb

 

Livingston Q – 22 (19 + 3 ex-comb cems)  [103 extant]

 

258 Ben Allen grave       approx.: 36 22 58         85 19 30         ex-comb cem,

            formerly 1 lone comb, removed for commercial development of lot.

259 Brown & Neal Cem                 36 25 26.6     85 21 20.7      10 combs

260 Cash Cem                                 36 23 47.5*    85 19 50.5     6 combs

261 Coffee Cem                               36 26 21.1     85 15 54.4      1 comb

262 J. S. Copland Cem.                  36 24 29.8     85 20 25.8   2 combs (1 necked discoid)

263 Craft Cem                                  36 27 02.2     85 22 22.8      2 combs

264 Eubank – Garrett Cem            36 25 35.2     85 18 45.5      3 combs

265 Eubank–Jackson–Rains  Cem  36 25 31.4             85 17 41.9     1 comb

266 Garrett Cem                               36 28 43*      85 22 08          9 combs

267 Good Hope Cem                      36 23 20*      85 17 54          23 combs

268 Holman Cem                             36 28 49.7     85 19 16.2      8 combs

269 Buckner Ledbetter Cem          36 23 39.5     85 15 12.8      4 + 1 possible ex-comb

270 Little Cem                                  36 24 38.6     85 17 24.6      7 combs

271 Monroe Cem                             36 26 05*       85 15 05.5     6 combs, probably once 7

272 Old Walnut Grove Cem           36 24 16.0     85 21 39.8      1 ex + 1 possible ex-comb

273 Robbins Cem                            36 23 37.6     85 15 22.6      5 combs

274 Stover Cem                               36 28 25*       85 16 55.5     2 combs

275 Tompkins Cem                         36 26 33.4     85 21 38.8      5 combs

276 Tower Hill Cem                         36 24 23.7     85 20 47.8      5 combs

277 Walnut Grove Cem                  36 23 54*       85 21 19         ex-comb cem;  at least one comb when first visited; now dismantled and used as bench & patio.   

278 Warthen Cem                           36 25 17.3     85 21 31.1      2 combs

279 West Cem                                  36 22 32.9     85 16 25.1      2 + 1 pos collapsed comb or box grave

 

Lonewood Q – 7 (6 + 1 ex-comb cem);  [39 extant] + 2-3 ex-combs + 1-2 pos ex-combs 

 

280 Davis Cem                                 35 49 34*       85 19 56         22 + 2 ex + 1-2 pos  

ex-combs

281 Fraser combs, Scotts Gulf      35 48 59*       85 21 20         2 combs

282 Frasier (Fraser) Cem, Dog Cove  35 52 25.0   85 20 39.5   2 combs

283 Green Cem                                35 52 24.7     85 21 01.6      3 combs

284 Lonewood Cem                                    35 45 47*       85 16 42         7 combs

285 Parks Cem                                 35 52 06*       85 21 46         3 combs

286 Welch Cem                               35 50 32.4     85 17 51.9     ex-comb cem, 2 or 3 ex-combs

 

Manchester – 1 [2 extant]

 

287 Hickerson Cem                         35 27 11.4     86 00 19.5     2 limestone combs

 

McMinnville – 1 [2 extant]

 

288 Riverside Cem                          35 40 36*       85 46 23        2 limestone combs

 

Melvine – 2  [8 extant]

 

289 Stephens Cem                         35 44 58*       85 02 54         3 combs

290 Tollett Cem                                35 44 49*       85 00 53         5 combs

 

Monterey Q – 24  [219 extant] + 5 or more prob ex-combs

 

291 Bilbrey Cem                              36 14 25*       85 22 22.5     8 combs

292 Bilbrey–Stamps Cem               36 10 44.9     85 19 35.7      18 combs

293 Cooper Cem                              36 11 15.6     85 21 48.2      1 comb

294 Copeland Cem                         36 12 32.0     85 15 13.1     7 combs

295 France-Poteet Cem                 36 08 22.1     85 17 34.8      1 comb

296 Robert Goodwin comb            36 12 16.4     85 20 42.6      1 lone comb

297 Jones-Livesay Cem                 36 11 16.5     85 20 22.3      4 combs

298 Kimes Cem                                36 14 43.8     85 15 37.0      6 combs

299 Lee Cem                                    36 13 55.5     85 17 41.2      19 + 2 or more probable ex-combs           

300 Miller Cem                                 36 11 02.7     85 18 42.1     6 combs (100%)

301 Officer Cem                               36 11 35*       85 16 28.5     15 combs

302 Ray Cem                                    36 10 02.7     85 16 38.4      23 combs

303 Ray Cem                                    36 12 48.8     85 18 22.8     6 combs

304 Rushing Springs Cem                        36 14 52.2     85 15 01.0      3 combs

305 Shady Grove Cem                   36 11 24.5*    85 19 23        20 + 3 probable ex-combs

306 Stamps Cem                             36 10 50.6     85 20 56.6      24 combs

307 Thompson Cem                        36 11 51.2     85 15 53.4      3 combs

308 Verble Cem                               36 13 21.2     85 17 59.6     10 combs

309 Walker Cem                              36 12 05.9     85 16 27.0      4 combs

310 Walker Hollow Cem                 36 10 14.2     85 18 42.6     12 combs

311 Webb Cem                                36 12 49.6     85 22 08.8     9 combs

312 West Cem                                  36 11 30.5     85 20 13.4      5 combs

313 Whittaker Cem                          36 08 42.8     85 15 36.8      10 combs, including 1

            flat sheet metal comb

314 Woodcliff Cem                          36 09 27.8      85 18 17.1     4 + 1 possible ex-comb

 

Monterey Lake Q - 6  [71 extant] + 1 ex-comb +1 prob ex-comb + 1 pos ex-comb

 

315 Richard Bradley Cem              36 00 43.6     85 21 12.4      9 + 1 ex-comb, including

1 1839 comb and 1 1838 ex-comb (dismantled by woman who feared snakes)

316 Farley Seminary Cem             36 05 12.4     85 19 29.3     7 (1 crude) + 1 prob

ex-comb;  cows are destroying this cem

317 Floyd-Cameron Cem               36 00 23.3     85 22 15.4      3 + 1 possible ex-comb

318 France Cem                              36 01 31.5*    85 20 17        14 combs

319 Henry Cem                                36 06 46*       85 19 01         7 combs

320 Johnson Chapel Cem             36 03 45.2     85 19 31.0      31 combs

 

Moodyville Q – 5  [7 extant]

 

321 Beaty Cem                                 36 32 38.1     85 04 54.4      2 combs, with necked-

discoid headstones

322 Campbell-Canute Cem           36 36 03.6     85 03 36.9      1 limestone comb

323 Huddleston Cem                      36 34 29*       85 07 12.5     2 combs

324 Rector Cem                               36 37 21*       85 06 12         1 comb in cemetery on top of Native American burial mound;  cem split by TN-KY state line

325 Shadow Cem                            36 32 07.5*    85 02 12        1 comb

Morrison Q  - 1  [1 extant]

 

326 Smith Cem                                35 32 05*       85 53 53         1 comb

 

Obey City  6 + 1 pos ex-comb cem not counted in total;  [32 extant] + 1 ex-comb +

            11 possible ex-combs

           

327 Chapel Hill (Chapel Flatt) Cem  36 12 56.5*  85 07 51     4 combs

328 France Cem                              36 13 52.5*    85 11 46.5     3 combs                    

329 Hanging Limb Missionary Bapt. Cem  36 14 06.3  85 09 46.6    1 + 1 ex + ca 10 possible ex-combs

330 Pierce Cem                               36 13 35.6     85 13 37.1      19  including 11 sandstone combs + 4 5-Vee sheet metal combs & 4 corrugated roofing combs

-       Pine Ridge Cem                      36 10 53.4     85 07 39.6      1 possible ex-comb

331 Swallows Cem                          36 11 46.5*    85 08 32.5     4 combs                    

332 Moses Wilson Cem                  36 12 53.2     85 13 44.4      1 comb

 

Okalona Q   34 (30 + 4 ex-comb cems) + 1 pos ex-comb cem;  [349 extant] +

13-15 ex-combs

 

333 Almonrode Cem                       36 22 11.5*    85 16 04        1 comb

334 Arline Cem                                36 15 40.5     85 15 34.2    1 infant comb

335 Ashburn Cem                           36 17 08.3     85 18 02.7      3 combs

336 Bethlehem Cem                       36 20 01.5*    85 18 34        5 combs

337 Bilbrey Cem                              36 17 49*       85 16 45         14 combs

338 Polk Bilbrey Cem                     36 16 46.5*    85 19 30        28 combs

339 Carr Cem                                   36 20 14.5*    85 15 18.5     27 combs

340 Christian Cem                          36 19 38.5*    85 18 27.5     ex-comb cemetery; recorded in original survey as a comb cem;  no combs at present;  farm manager of forty years states that it never had a comb.

341 Copeland-Carr Cem                36 22 06*       85 20 07.5     2 + 2 ex-combs

342 Copeland Cem                         36 18 50.9     85 17 57.3    13 combs

343 Deck Family Cem                     36 19 07.1     85 16 35.7     2 combs

344 Fredonia Cem                           36 22 08*       85 16 44.5     13 combs

345 Gardenhire Cem                      36 15 35*       85 21 52.5     1 comb

346 Hammock Cem                         36 19 28*       85 16 05         5 combs

347 Harris Cem                                36 15 44.8     85 18 00.1      14 combs  

348 Harris Chapel Cem                  36 15 31*       85 18 25         ex-comb cem, at least one sheet metal comb present when first visited, now gone.

349 Hartsaw Cem                            36 18 00.4     85 18 10.8      5 combs

350 Highland Cem                          36 17 25        85 15 59.5      13 combs

351 Jones Cem                                36 22 05*       85 15 03.5     ex-comb cem, at least

1 comb present when first visited.

352 Liberty Cem                               36 19 17.2      85 16 49.5     22 + 2 probable ex-combs;

            combs include 2 cement combs

 

353 Looper-Speck Cem                  36 15 01*       85 15 45.5     9 combs + 2 pos combs

            almost buried out of sight, just the upper edge of one side slab visible

354 Matthews-Eckels Cem                        36 18 06.3     85 21 39.8      1 comb

355 Oakley Cem                              36 16 36*       85 16 45         11 + 2 ex-combs

356 Okalona Cem                            36 19 18.1     85 20 21.5      32, inc.1 cement comb

357 Old Matthews Cem                36 20 00.6     85 22 12.4        12 + 1 pos ex-comb

358 Phillips-Martin Cem                 36 16 58*       85 15 51.5     ex-comb cem, at least

1 comb present when first visited.

359 Poston Cem                              36 17 40.1     85 22 19.2      4 combs

360 Archibald Qualls Cem             36 15 04.8     85 16 17.8      15 combs

361 Roaring River Cem                  36 18 15.2     85 20 28.7      38 combs, including

the oldest known dated comb, 1822

362 Robbins Cem                            36 22 29*       85 15 14         3 combs

363 Ruth Chapel Cem                    36 22 19*       85 21 27         3 + 1 or 2 pos ex-combs

364 Michael Speck Cem                36 15 20*       85 15 03,5     11 + 1 possible ex-comb

365 Staggs Hollow Cem                 36 16 00.9     85 19 02.6    7 combs + 1 ex-comb

            + 1 pos ex-comb

-       Wells Cem                                36 19 27.7     85 21 29.5      1 possible ex-comb

366 Ruben Wilson Cem                 36 20 32.7     85 22 11.2      34 + 1 ex + 1 pos ex-comb

 

Pall Mall Q – 1 (1 ex-comb cem);  [0 extant]

 

367 Jasper Pile Cem                       36 32 48.5*     84 56 40   ex-comb cem;  said to have

had 3-4 metal combs at one time;  at least one sheet metal comb present when first visited, now gone.

 

Pleasant Hill Q – 2  [7 extant]

 

368 Houllette Cem                           35 54 57.0     85 14 12.9      5 combs

369 Old Neverfail Cem                   35 59 19.2     85 14 17.9      2 combs                                

 

Powersburg KY Q – 1 (1 ex-comb cem);  [0 extant]

 

370 Taylor Grove Cem                    36 44 21*       84 57 14         ex-comb cem, at least one

sheet metal comb present when first visited, now gone.

 

Riverton Q - 6 (5 + 1 ex-comb cem);  [14 extant] + 1 metal ex-comb

 

371 Albertson (Gould Hollow)  Cem   36 25 19.9     85 01 18.6    4 combs

372 George Beaty Cem                  36 27 04*       85 02 28         1 comb

373 Elias Bowden Cem                  36 24 55*       85 02 27.5     1 comb

374 Gunter Cem                              36 25 53*       85 07 11         3 combs

375 Wood Cem                                36 27 02*       85 04 16         5 combs

376 Wright Cem                               36 25 22*       85 03 21         ex-comb cem, at least  one sheet metal comb when first visited, now gone.

 

Silver Point Q – 3  [3 extant]

 

377 Herron-Thomas Cem               36 04 51*       85 39 51.5     1 comb

378 Maynard Cem                           36 02 26*       85 40 50.5     1 comb

379 Robinson Hill Cem                  36 00 30.9     85 39 11.6    1 comb

 

Sligo Bridge Q - 8  [48 extant]

 

380 Adcock Cem                              35 53 37.6     85 39 57.5      3 combs

381 Anderson Cem                         35 59 49.5*    85 40 00        2 combs        

382 Baker Cem                                35 58 55.5*    85 37 44.5     8 combs

383 Cope Cem                                 35 55 26.5*    85 37 42.5     11 combs

384 Indian Mound (Adcock) Cem   35 55 28*     85 40 34        1 comb

385 Martin Cem                                35 59 52.0     85 38 02.3      2 combs, 1 of which is

            missing one side slab

386 Peeled Chestnut Cem                        35 57 49.5*    85 39 33        6 combs

387 Pollard Cem                              35 53 54.9     85 38 26.1      15 combs

 

Smartt Mtn. Q – 1 possible ex-comb cem   [0 extant]

 

  -    Seitz (Walling) Cem                 35 36 26*       85 26 07.5     possible ex-comb cem,

            with 6 graves covered by flat slabs, possibly representing 3 to 6 ex-combs            

 

Sparta Q - 9  [63 extant] + approx. 15 ex-combs

 

388 Crawford Cem                          35 54 18.2     85 27 58.9      8 combs

389 Hudgens Cem                          35 55 01*       85 25 04.5     11 combs       1833

390 Lance Cem                                35 55 56        85 24 16.1      2 combs

-       Officer Cem                              35 57 16.3     85 23 06.9     1 pos ex-comb;  slabs so disrupted by growth of a tree that it is not possible to tell for certain if this was a comb or a box grave;  no gable stones visible

391 Old Bon Air Cem                      35 54 51*       85 23 11         3 + 1 possible ex-comb

392 Old Sparta Cem                        35 55 31*       85 28 02         5 + at least 12 ex-combs +

            numerous other graves that likely were once covered by combs      

393 Pleasant Hill-Davis Cem        35 52 59*       85 28 00         10 + 1 possible ex-comb

394 Plum Creek Cem                      35 59 53*       85 23 55         7 combs

395 Wheeler Cem                            35 58 27.5*    85 25 19.5     4 + 1 ex-comb

396 Wilson Cem                              35 52 49*       85 24 41         13 combs, including

            several combs from the 1820s

 

Spencer Q – 2 (1 + 1 ex-comb cem);  [14 extant} + 1 metal ex-comb

 

397 Denney-Molloy Cem               35 44 27.5*    85 27 56        14 combs

398 Hale-Sodom Cem                    35 44 33*       85 29 28.5     ex-comb cem, at least one

            sheet metal comb when first visited, now gone.

 

Stockton Q   1  [11 extant]

 

399 Stockton Cem                           36 24 11.5     84 50 05.5      11 combs       1967 & 1969

            Contains several headstones believed to have been brought from White county.

 

Vandever Q  1 [1 extant]

 

400 Hales Chapel Cem                  35 49 45.1     85 05 32.6      1 comb

 

Viola Q – 1 [1 extant]

 

401 Blue Springs Cem                   35 32 23.4     85 51 26.7      1 comb           1828

 

Welchland Q – 3  [15 extant]

 

402 Eureka Church Cem               35 43 38.6     85 37 18.3      1 striped marble comb

403 Long Chapel Cem                   35 44 02*       85 32 31         13 combs

404 Old Drake Cem                         35 44 16.2     85 33 19.2      1 comb

 

Wilder Q  - 3  [8 extant] + 1 pos ex-comb

           

405  “Convict” Cem                          36 15 19.7     85 04 39.5      now 1 lone comb, though

        when first visited several fieldstones said to mark convict graves were visible

406 Sells Cem                                  36 18 58.1     85 07 19.5     4 combs                                

407 Wilder Cem                               36 15 59.2     85 05 48.8      3 + 1 possible ex-comb

 

Winchester Q -1  [13 extant  - 12 limestone, 1 marble]

 

408 Perkins Cem                             35 14 20.1     86 03 12.3      13 combs, 12 of limestone

 and 1 child’s comb of pink marble; the southwestern most combs in the main Tennessee comb range  1835

 

Windle Q -  16 (13 + 3 ex-comb cems);  [71 extant]  estimated at least 85 originally

 

409 Clark Cem                                 36 18 52*       85 27 03.5     1 comb

410 Clay Springs Cem                    36 17 28.9     85 24 22.8      4 + 5 to 7 ex-combs (2 or 4

            laid flat, and 3 others indicated by gable stones)

411 Cobble Cem                              36 16 38.5*    85 23 10        5 combs

412 Crawford Chapel Cem           36 20 18.3     85 25 25.3    ex-comb cem; 7 prob ex-

combs: 4 with pairs of gable stones;  6  prob side slabs covering other graves

413 Eckel Cem                                 36 18 02*       85 22 36         19 combs

414 Goodbar Cem                           36 20 35*       85 23 15         2 combs

415 Green Cem                                36 16 59.1     85 26 26.1      10 + 1 possible ex-comb

416 Isaac Gore Masters Cem         36 22 04.5*    85 24 00        ex-comb cem;  recorded in

            original survey as a comb cem;  no combs at present;  several local informants

            say it never had a one, whereas two informants believe they remember a comb.

417 John S. Masters Cem             36 22 21.6     85 24 32.5      2 combs

418 Mt Gilead Cem                          36 22 17.5*    85 24 09        16 combs

419 Poplar Springs Cem                36 20 03*       85 29 05.5     ex-comb cem, 7 ex-combs

420 Kathleen Rodgers comb         36 19 18.1     85 29 26.6      1 lone comb, erected in 2012, the newest comb grave known

421 Terry Cem                                  36 16 11.0     85 28 43.1      2 combs

422 UID cem. with 4 combs           36 18 28.4     85 26 06.1      4 combs

423 Nelson Williams Cem              36 19 00.7     85 25 58.8      2 combs

424 Zion Hill Cem                            36 16 44*       85 23 17         3 + 5 ex-combs                    

 

Number of comb cems in main Tennessee comb range, inc. ex-comb cems:  424

Number of comb cems with extant combs:  390

Number of ex-comb cems: 34

Number of possible comb cems, not included in above totals:   9

Total number of extant combs:   3296

 

 

 

TENNESSEE COMB CEMETERIES OUTSIDE THE MAIN COMB RANGE

 

Dellrose Q, Lincoln Co.

 

   Roper Cem                                     35 01 16.1     86 46 17.5      2 limestone combs,

            the southwesternmost known combs in Tennessee

 

Normandy Q, Bedford Co.

           

   Shofner Cem                                 35 26 47.4     86 19 46.6      2 limestone children’s

            combs, Shofner boys, both d. 1854

 

Readyville Q – 2  [2 extant]

 

   Curlee Cem                                   35 46 37*       86 09 46.5     1 cement comb with very

            low walls, something of a hybrid comb-gravehouse

  

   Science Hill Cem                          35 49 28*       86 14 52.5     1  5-Vee sheet metal comb

 

Savage Point Q – 1  [1 extant] 

 

   McGlothen Cem                            35 27 55        85 26 44         1 comb, though two when

            first visited

 

Number of comb cems in Tennessee, including cems outside the main range: 429

Number of comb cems with extant combs:  395

Total number of extant combs:   3303

 

If you know of any Tennessee comb cemetery not included in this list, please contact the author at rfinch@tntech.edu    Or by writing Richard Finch

299 Allen Hollow Rd.,

Cookeville, TN 38501

 

 

 

 

NUMBERS of EXTANT COMB GRAVES in the MAIN COMB RANGE

 

Quad name               Number of combs                Quad name               Number of combs

 

Doyle                          511                                         Wilder                                     8

Crawford                    418                                         Buffalo Valley                       8

Cassville                    358                                         Pleasant Hill                         7

Okalona                     349                                         Moodyville                             7

Bald Knob                 347                                         Byrdstown                             6

Monterey                   219                                         Jones Knob                          6

Alpine                                    123                                         Clarkrange                            5                     

Livingston                 103                                         Dale Hollow Res. SE          4         

Dry Valley                    94                                          Cardwell Mtn                                    4                     

Windle                         71                                          Baxter                                     4         

Monterey Lake            71                                          Herbert Domain                    3         

Cookeville West         64                                          Crossville                              3                     

Sparta                          63                                          Irving College                       3         

Burgess Falls             51                                          Capitol Hill                            3                     

Sligo Bridge                48                                          Silver Point                           3         

Cookeville East          47                                          Campbell Junction              3         

Lonewood                   39                                          Burrow Cove                         2         

DeRossett                   35                                          Jamestown                            2         

Obey City                     32                                          Dibbrell                                  2

Hilham                         29                                          McMinnville                          2

Hillsboro                      18                                          Manchester                           2

Alto                               15                                          Dale Hollow Dam                 1

Welchland                   15                                          Isoline                                                1

Spencer                       14                                          Liberty                                    1

Riverton                       14                                          Morrison                                1

Winchester                  13                                          Vandever                               1

Campaign                   13                                          Viola                                       1

Stockton                      11                                          Pall Mall                                 0

Burristown                   10                                          Powersburg, KY                   0         

Melvine                          8                                          Smartt Mtn.                            0

                                                                                                                            _____

                                                                                                            TOTAL:   3296

 

 

EXTANT COMBS OUTSIDE the MAIN COMB RANGE

 

Dellrose*                        2                                          Readyville                             2

Normandy*                    2                                          Savage Point                                    1

                                                                                                                          _____

                                                                                    GRAND TOTAL:           3303

 

*Not all cemeteries in these two quads were visited.

 

 

 

NUMBERS of COMB CEMETERIES by COUNTY

 

County                                   No. of Comb Cems.

 

Main Tennessee Comb Range                             Outside the Main Range

 

Overton                                  143                             Bedford                                      1

White                                      107                             Cannon                                     1

Putnam                                    65                              Lincoln                                       1

Van Buren                              25                              Rutherford                                 1

Fentress                                  14                              Sequatchie                               1

Cumberland                            11                                               GRAND TOTAL  429

Warren                                     11

DeKalb                                     10

Pickett                                      10

Coffee                                                    7

Grundy                                       6

Jackson                                     5

Clay                                            4

Bledsoe                                     2

Franklin                                     2

Smith                                          1

Wayne, KY                                1

                                TOTAL  424

                 

GRAVESTONE QUARRIES:

 

Crawford Q -- Vaughn quarry:       36 20 10*       85 12 05

 

Doyle Q – Keathley quarry:            35 50 44.7     85 34 15.0

 

Hilham Q – Ogletree quarry:          36 25 46.1     85 22 32.9

 

Okalona Q--  Billy Walker quarry:  36 17 01.2     85 18 39.0

                        Billy Walker stoneyard: 36 16 46.0    85 18 22.0

-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-

 

 

APPENDIX A-2: Comb Cemetery Inventory by County:

Locations, Numbers of combs, Notes

 

NB:  GPS set for NAD 27 datum (same datum used for topos)

NB:  * indicates lat-long measured from the quads, not on-site GPS readings.

 

NB: Cems with only “possible” ex-combs listed and marked with a “-”, but not included in comb cem total for county (there are 9 such cems listed)..

 

NB: Among the ex-comb cems included in the comb cem count are three cems recorded as comb cems when first surveyed, that when resurveyed (2011-2016) were not only found to no longer contain combs but which were said by informants who should know to never have contained combs.  The rationale for including these three cems in the ex-comb cem count is this:  It is unlikely that the mistake of mis-recording a non-comb cem as a comb cem occurred three separate times during this survey.  More probably the informants had their own reasons for denying the former existence of combs in these cems.  Ex-comb cems listed in blue.

 

Numbers of extant combs given refers to combs extant as of 2011-2017.

 

UID = Unidentified cemetery, no basis on which to name.

 

If you know of any Tennessee comb cemetery not included in this list, please contact the author at rfinch@tntech.edu    

 

 

COMB CEMETERIES IN THE MAIN COMB CEM RANGE, LISTED BY COUNTY:

 

BLEDSOE Co.                      2 comb cems             8 combs extant

 

Stephens Cem                                 35 44 58*       85 02 54         3 combs

Tollett Cem                                        35 44 49*       85 00 53         5 combs

 

 

CLAY Co.                              4 comb cems             8 combs extant

 

Fitzgerald Cem                                 36 33 03.5*    85 29 45        1 comb           1839

Hall Cem                                           36 29 58*       85 32 13        ex-comb cem; 1 comb

            when first visited, now dismantled and used as a bench.

McDonald Cem                                36 29 09*       85 30 43        5 combs

Mt. Pisgah Cem                                36 33 43*       85 17 51         2 combs

 

 

COFFEE Co.                                    7 comb cems             25 combs extant

 

Cash Cem                                         35 22 21.7     85 57 22.5    4 limestone combs Hickerson Cem                                  35 27 11.4     86 00 19.5    2 limestone combs

Lambert Cem                                    35 23 20.2     85 55 57.1      ex-comb cem;  metal           

            comb photographed by Ball, 1977, now gone.

Phillips Cem                                     35 23 54.7     85 57 16.4      13 combs, 9 sandstone

            and 4 limestone

Price Cem                                         35 24 24*       85 55 32         1 dressed limestone comb Smith Cem                                        35 32 05*       85 53 53         1 comb

Stephenson Cem                            35 23 50.5     85 55 36.5   4 dressed limestone combs

 

 

CUMBERLAND Co.            11 comb cems          19 combs extant

 

Bolin Cem                                         35 51 22.4     85 10 44.9      1 child’s comb

Cold Spring Cem                             36 08 21*       84 59 55         1 comb

Creston Cem                                                36 00 25*      85 04 47          1 comb

 - Crossville City Cem                      35 57 09*       85 00 57         2 possible ex-combs

Frost Cem                                          35 57 31.9      85 03 19.4     3 combs

Hales Chapel Cem                          35 49 45.1     85 05 32.6      1 comb

Houllette Cem                                  35 54 57.0     85 14 12.9      5 combs

Newton Cem                                     35 47 54.1     85 12 38.9      1 comb

Old Neverfail Cem                           35 59 19.2     85 14 17.9      2 combs        

Pugh Cem                                         36 05 02*       85 07 46.5    2 combs

Rains Cem                                        36 02 49.6     85 11 30.6   1 badly broken up comb

Thomas Springs Cem                     35 50 31*       85 13 15         1 infant’s comb

                                               

 

DEKALB Co.                         10 comb cems          14 combs extant

           

Adcock Cem                                     35 53 37.6     85 39 57.5      3 combs

Anderson Cem                                 35 59 49.5*    85 40 00        2 combs        

Bain Cem                                          35 52 22*       85 40 29        1 comb

Indian Mound (Adcock) Cem         35 55 28*     85 40 34           1 comb

Len Cantrell Cem                            35 51 02.7     85 38 15.2     ex-comb cem;  Jerry

Wright, who grew up here, said there were combs, which were removed by a later landowner;  broken slabs beside cem.

Maynard Cem                                   36 02 26*       85 40 50.5     1 comb

New Hope Cem                                36 04 50*       85 59 50         1 limestone comb

Robinson Hill Cem                          36 00 30.9     85 39 11.6    1 comb

Wiley Sandrs (sic) comb                 35 50 40.6     85 39 11.4    1 lone comb

Wright Cem                                       35 50 52.5*    85 38 36        3 combs

 

 

 

FENTRESS Co.                   14 comb cems          40 combs extant

 

Albertson (Gould Hollow)  Cem    36 25 19.9      85 01 18.6    4 combs

George Beaty Cem                          36 27 04*       85 02 28         1 comb

Elias Bowden Cem                          36 24 55*       85 02 27.5     1 comb

Campground Cem                           36 11 21.5*    85 03 17        2 + 3 prob ex-combs

“Convict” Cem                                  36 15 19.7     85 04 39.5      now 1 lone comb, though

        when first visited several fieldstones said to mark convict graves were visible

Franklin Cem                                                36 27 15.5*    84 59 31.5     2 combs, including one

            that has been repaired with cinderblocks.

Jasper Pile Cem                               36 32 48.5*     84 56 40   ex-comb cem, said to have

had 3-4 metal combs at one time;  at least one sheet metal comb present when first visited, now gone.

Sells Cem                                          36 18 58.1     85 07 19.5     4 combs                                

            Cem is partly in Overton Co., but older section with comb graves is in Fentress.

Shadow Cem                                    36 32 07.5*    85 02 12        1 comb

Stockton Cem                                   36 24 11.5     84 50 05.5      11 combs       1967 & 1969

            Contains several headstones believed to have been brought from White county.

Westfelt Cem                                    36 12 42.5     84 55 33.5      5 combs

Wilder Cem                                       36 15 59.2     85 05 48.8      3 + 1 possible ex-comb

Wood Cem                                        36 27 02*       85 04 16         5 combs

Wright Cem                                       36 25 22*       85 03 21         ex-comb cem, at least  one sheet metal comb when first visited, now gone.

 

 

FRANKLIN Co.                     2 comb cems             16 combs extant

 

Partin Cem                                        35 15 17.1     86 00 09.4    3 limestone combs

Perkins Cem                                     35 14 20.1     86 03 12.3      13 combs, 12 of limestone

 and 1 child’s comb of pink marble; the southwestern most combs in the main Tennessee comb range  1835

 

 

GRUNDY Co.                       6 comb cems             15 combs extant

 

Caldwell Cem                                   35 16 55.5*    85 53 10        6 limestone combs

Old Baptist Cem                               35 18 45.2     85 53 05.6    3 limestone combs

Payne Cove Cem                            35 19 32.5*    85 49 45        1 limestone comb   Philadelphia Cem                             35 31 15*       85 41 08         2 combs

Warren Cem                                     35 18 08*       85 52 29        1 limestone comb   

There is what appears to be a Native American burial mound in this cemetery.

Willis Cem                                         35 19 22.8     85 54 14.4    2 combs

 

 

 

 

JACKSON Co.                      5 comb cems             6 combs extant

 

Halfacre Cem                                   36 14 11*       85 40 04        ex-comb cem, formerly

1 5-Vee metal comb

Lynn Cem                                         36 22 58*       85 32 42        2 limestone combs

New Hope Cem                                36 22 50*       85 30 37        2 combs

Pine Hill Cem                                   36 14 58.7     85 33 39.6    1 matrimonial comb

Pleasant Hill Cem                            36 24 53*        85 34 01        1 comb

 

 

OVERTON Co.                     143 comb cems        1210 combs extant

 

Ben Allen grave              approx.: 36 22 58         85 19 30          ex-comb cem,

          formerly 1 lone comb, removed for commercial development of lot.

Allison (Winton) Cem                      36 24 38.5*     85 12 16       ex-comb cem;  recorded in

          original survey as a comb cem;  no combs at present;  caretaker states that it

          never had a comb.

Allred Cem                                        36 19 31.5     85 12 53.8    22 + 1 ex-comb

Allred Family Cem                           36 19 35.2     85 11 14.2    6 combs

Almonrode Cem                               36 22 11.5*    85 16 04        1 comb

Andrew Cem                                     36 26 44.2     85 22 38.0      5 combs

Arline  Cem                                       36 15 40.5     85 15 34.2    1 infant comb

Ashburn Cem                                   36 17 08.3     85 18 02.7      3 combs

Bethlehem Cem                               36 20 01.5*    85 18 34        5 combs

Bilbrey grave                                     36 21 05.7      85 10 26.3   1 lone comb

Bilbrey Cem                                      36 17 49*       85 16 45         14 combs

Bilbrey Cem                                      36 14 25*       85 22 22.5     8 combs

Polk Bilbrey Cem                             36 16 46.5*    85 19 30        28 combs

Boswell Cem                                                36 19 09.6     85 11 08.1    19 + 1 probable ex-comb

Bowman Cem                                   36 16 29.3     85 12 54.1    3 combs

Brown Cem                                       36 21 39.0      85 14 26.4    3 combs

Brown & Neal Cem                         36 25 26.6     85 21 20.7      10 combs

Brown-Walker Cem                         36 18 32.3     85 14 30.7    6 + 2 ex + 3 probable          

ex-combs

Campground Cem                           36 22 30.5     85 26 05.1      ex-comb cem, based on

            the presence of two triangular stones, apparently comb gable stones;  were

            these two stones in line it would be obvious that they represented a single former

            comb;  however, they are side by side and it is uncertain if they are remnants of

            two dismantled combs or one that has been redistributed to mark two graves;

            the logical interpretation in either case is that this cemetery once had at least one

            comb.

Carr Cem                                           36 20 14.5*    85 15 18.5     27 combs

Cash Cem                                         36 23 47.5*    85 19 50.5     6 combs

Chapel Hill (Chapel Flatt) Cem     36 12 56.5*  85 07 51          4 combs

Christian Cem                                  36 19 38.5*    85 18 27.5     ex-comb cemetery; recorded in original survey as a comb cem;  no combs at present;  farm manager of forty years states that it never had a comb.

Clark Cem                                         36 18 52*       85 27 03.5     1 comb

Clay Springs Cem                           36 17 28.9     85 24 22.8      4 + 5 to 7 ex-combs (2 or 4

            laid flat, and 3 others indicated by gable stones)

Cobble Cem                                      36 16 38.5*    85 23 10        5 combs

Coffee Cem                                      36 26 21.1     85 15 54.4      1 comb

Cook Cem                                         36 25 57.5     85 25 16.3      1 comb

Cooper-Bowman Cem                    36 25 15.5*    85 12 32.5    1 comb

Copeland-Carr Cem                                    36 22 06*       85 20 07.5     2 + 2 ex-combs

Copeland Cem                                 36 18 50.9     85 17 57.3    13 combs

Copeland Cem                                 36 12 32.0     85 15 13.1     7 combs

J. S. Copland Cem.                         36 24 29.8     85 20 25.8   2 combs (1 necked discoid)

Craft Cem                                          36 27 02.2     85 22 22.8      2 combs

Crawford Chapel Cem           36 20 18.3     85 25 25.3    ex-comb cem; 7 prob ex-

combs: 4 with pairs of gable stones;  6  prob side slabs covering other graves

Cub Cem                                           36 18 18.2     85 10 20.4    35 + 1 ex + 3-4 possible

            ex-combs;      1963 comb

Dale Cem                                          36 26 22.1     85 27 53.5      1 comb

Davis Cem                                        36 15 26.6     85 12 43.5    44 combs

Deck Family Cem                            36 19 07.1     85 16 35.7     2 combs

Eckel Cem                                         36 18 02*       85 22 36         19 combs

Eubank – Garrett Cem                    36 25 35.2     85 18 45.5      3 combs

Eubank–Jackson–Rains  Cem      36 25 31.4    85 17 41.9     1 comb

Falling Springs Cem                       36 20 27.6     85 10 52.5    102 combs; one of the

            most interesting comb cemeteries in Tennessee

Fellowship Cem                               36 31 05*       85 19 22         1 + 2 ex + 2 pos ex-combs

Ferrill Cem                                        36 23 17*       85 09 45         19 combs

Fisk Cem                                           36 24 25.7     85 26 12.7      2 + probably 5 ex-combs

Flat Creek Cem                                36 23 39.5*    85 23 19.5     6 + 1 possible ex-comb;

             two combs dated 1956 & 1958 when first visited, no longer present

Fleming Cem                                                36 23 35.1     85 23 59.4      3 combs

France Cem                                      36 13 52.5*    85 11 46.5     3 combs        

Fredonia Cem                                  36 22 08*       85 16 44.5     13 combs

French-Hill Cem                              36 19 48.7     85 13 42.2    8 combs

Gardenhire Cem                              36 15 35*       85 21 52.5     1 comb

Garrett Cem                                       36 28 43*       85 22 08         9 combs

Glasscock Cem                                36 27 22.2     85 22 35.3      6 combs        

Goodbar Cem                                   36 20 35*       85 23 15         2 combs

Good Hope Cem                              36 23 20*       85 17 54         23 combs

Gore infant comb                             36 20 28.2     85 13 27.4    1 lone comb

Green Cem                                       36 16 59.1     85 26 26.1      10 + 1 possible ex-comb

Green Hill Cem                                36 23 38*       85 13 42        1 comb

Hammock Cem                                 36 19 28*       85 16 05         5 combs

Hancock Cem                                   36 23 22*       85 11 28.5    2 combs

Hanging Limb Missionary Bapt. Cem  36 14 06.3          85 09 46.6    1 + 1 ex + ca 10

            possible ex-combs

Harris Cem                                        36 15 44.8     85 18 00.1      14 combs  

Harris Chapel Cem                          36 15 31*      85 18 25          ex-comb cem, at least one sheet metal comb present when first visited, now gone.

Hartsaw Cem                                    36 18 00.4     85 18 10.8      5 combs

Hatcher Hall Cem                            36 30 19*       85 13 30        3 combs

Hayter Cem                                       36 22 51*       85 11 55        45 combs

Highland Cem                                  36 17 25        85 15 59.5      13 combs

Holly Springs Cem                          36 25 07.5*    85 23 39.5     1 comb

Holman Cem                                    36 28 49.7     85 19 16.2      8 combs

Honey Springs Cem                                    36 15 50*       85 10 12        16 + 2 ex-combs

Jones Cem                                        36 22 05*       85 15 03.5     ex-comb cem, at least

1 comb present when first visited.

Kimes Cem                                       36 14 43.8     85 15 37.0      6 combs

Ledbetter Cem                                  36 22 17.8     85 13 53.4    4 combs

Buckner Ledbetter Cem                  36 23 39.5     85 15 12.8      4 + 1 possible ex-comb

 - Wm Ledbetter Cem                       36 23 25.4     85 14 55.7    possible ex-comb cem

Lee Cem                                            36 13 55.5     85 17 41.2      19 + 2 or more probable

            ex-combs      

Liberty Cem                                       36 19 17.2       85 16 49.5    22 + 2 probable ex-combs;

            combs include 2 cement combs

Little Cem                                          36 24 38.6     85 17 24.6      7 combs

Looper Cem                                      36 15 53.4     85 14 45.4      14 combs

Nicy Looper Cem                             36 18 07.8     85 11 45.7    10 combs

Looper-Speck Cem                          36 15 01*       85 15 45.5     9 combs + 2 pos combs

            almost buried out of sight, just the upper edge of one side slab visible

Martin Cem                                       36 26 37*       85 12 52        3 combs

Isaac Gore Masters Cem   36 22 04.5*    85 24 00        ex-comb cem;  recorded in

            original survey as a comb cem;  no combs at present;  several local informants

            say it never had a one, whereas two informants believe they remember a comb.

John S. Masters Cem                     36 22 21.6     85 24 32.5      2 combs

Matthews-Eckels Cem                    36 18 06.3     85 21 39.8      1 comb

Jane R. McDonald Cem                 36 24 46.5*    85 13 24        3 combs

McFerrin Cem                                   36 29 25.2     85 24 28.1      1 comb

McManus-Roberts Cem                  36 23 11*       85 13 47.5    1 comb

Monroe Cem                                     36 26 05*       85 15 05.5     6 combs, probably once 7 Mt Gilead Cem                                    36 22 17.5*    85 24 09        16 combs

Neal Cem                                          36 24 28*       85 23 10         1 child’s comb

Nettlecarrier Creek Cem                 36 23 41.9     85 11 58.9    28 combs       1833

Norrod Cem                                      36 26 06*       85 14 04        2 combs

Oakley Cem                                      36 16 36*       85 16 45         11 + 2 ex-combs

Officer Cem                                       36 11 35*       85 16 28.5     15 combs

Okalona Cem                                   36 19 18.1     85 20 21.5      32, inc.1 cement comb

Old Matthews Cem                          36 20 00.6     85 22 12.4    12 + 1 pos ex-comb

 

Old Union Cem                                36 23 11.9     85 25 35.6      1 + 1 ex + 4 probable

            combs laid flat + 4 possible ex-combs

Old Walnut Grove Cem                   36 24 16.0     85 21 39.8      1 ex + 1 possible ex-comb Ole Bethel Cem                                    36 31 48*       85 17 18         ex-comb cem – combs

            present when first visited.

Phillips Cem                                     36 18 44*       85 13 16        27 combs

Phillips-Martin Cem                         36 16 58*       85 15 51.5     ex-comb cem, at least

1 comb present when first visited.           

Pierce Cem                                       36 13 35.6     85 13 37.1      19  including 11 sandstone combs + 4 5-Vee sheet metal combs & 4 corrugated roofing combs

 - Pine Ridge Cem                           36 10 53.4     85 07 39.6      1 possible ex-comb

Poplar Springs Cem                                    36 20 03*       85 29 05.5     ex-comb cem, 7 ex-combs

Poston Cem                                      36 17 40.1     85 22 19.2      4 combs

Archibald Qualls Cem                     36 15 04.8     85 16 17.8      15 combs

Ray Cem                                           36 12 48.0     85 18 22.8     6 combs

Roaring River Cem                          36 18 15.2     85 20 28.7      38 combs, including

the oldest known dated comb, 1822

Robbins Cem                                   36 23 37.6     85 15 22.6      5 combs

Robbins Cem                                   36 22 29*       85 15 14         3 combs

Kathleen Rodgers comb                 36 19 18.1     85 29 26.6      1 lone comb, erected in

            2012, the newest comb grave known

Rushing Springs Cem                    36 14 52.2     85 15 01.0      3 combs

Ruth Chapel Cem                           36 22 19*       85 21 27         3 + 1 or 2 pos ex-combs

Elizabeth Savage comb                  36 27 56.9     85 26 28.9      1 lone comb

Sells Cem                                          36 30 40.0    85 17 07.7     1 comb

Shiloh Cem                                       36 18 42.1     85 11 12.3    23 combs

Smith Cem                                        36 24 41.5*    85 10 45.5    2 combs

Clayton Smith Cem                         36 24 42*       85 08 55         10 combs

Dugan Smith Cem                           36 25 01.5*    85 09 18        1 comb

Speck Cem                                       36 15 39.3     85 12 11.9    51 + 4 prob + 2 pos

ex-combs

Michael Speck Cem                                    36 15 20*       85 15 03,5     11 + 1 possible ex-comb

Staggs Hollow Cem                         36 16 00.9     85 19 02.6      7 combs + 1 ex-comb

            + 1 pos ex-comb

Story Cem                                         36 28 18*       85 12 08.5    1 comb

Stover Cem                                       36 28 25*       85 16 55.5     2 combs

Swallows Cem                                 36 11 46.5*    85 08 32.5     4 combs        

Thompson Cem                               36 11 51.2     85 15 53.4      3 combs

Tompkins Cem                                 36 26 33.4     85 21 38.8      5 combs

Tower Hill Cem                                 36 24 23.7     85 20 47.8      5 combs

UID comb                                          36 20 33.4     85 10 42.1    1 lone comb, but the presence of a small upright fieldstone nearby suggests that at least one other grave was present originally

UID cem S side Alpine Mtn.           36 19 52.2     85 12 54.2    8 combs

UID cem. with 4 combs                   36 18 28.4     85 26 06.1      4 combs

Verble Cem                                       36 13 21.2     85 17 59.6     10 combs

Walker Cem                                      36 12 05.9     85 16 27.0      4 combs

Walker Mountain Cem                    36 16 51.0     85 12 54.1    14 combs

Walnut Grove Cem                          36 23 54*       85 21 19         ex-comb cem;  at least one comb when first visited; now dismantled and used as bench & patio.   

Warthen Cem                                   36 25 17.3     85 21 31.1      2 combs

Weeks Cem                                      36 11 55.6     85 05 47.0    3 combs

West Cem                                          36 22 32.9     85 16 25.1      2 + 1 pos collapsed comb or box grave

Nelson Williams Cem                     36 19 00.7     85 25 58.8      2 combs

Moses Wilson Cem                         36 12 53.2     85 13 44.4      1 comb

Ruben Wilson Cem                         36 20 32.7     85 22 11.2      34 + 1 ex + 1 pos ex-comb

 - Wells Cem                                     36 19 27.7     85 21 29.5      1 possible ex-comb

Winton combs                                  36 23 31.6     85 13 16.0    2 combs

Zion Hill Cem                                   36 16 44*       85 23 17         3 + 5 ex-combs

 

 

PICKETT Co.                        10 comb cems          14 combs extant

 

Beaty Cem                                        36 32 38.1     85 04 54.4      2 combs, with necked-

            discoid headstones

Campbell-Canute Cem                   36 36 03.6     85 03 36.9      1 limestone comb

Garrett Cem                                       36 29 53.5*    85 07 32        1 comb

Eligah Garret Cem                           36 31 20.0     85 08 48.2   1 limestone comb

Gunter Cem                                      36 25 53*       85 07 11         3 combs

Huddleston Cem                              36 34 29*       85 07 12.5     2 combs

Love Lady Sims Cem                      36 35 53*       85 09 53        2 combs

Rector Cem                                       36 37 21*       85 06 12         1 comb in cemetery on top of Native American burial mound; cem split by TN-KY state line

Robbins Cem                                   36 26 14*        85 08 28.5    ex-comb cem; 6 combs

            present when first visited.

Winningham Cem                           36 29 04*       85 07 53        1 comb

 

 

PUTNAM Co.                        65 comb cems          326 combs extant

 

Alex Byers Cem                               36 11 53.9     85 35 57.6    12 combs

Bartlett Cem                                      36 07 25.1     85 26 36.0      4 + 2 possible ex-combs

Bear Creek Cem                              36 14 27.6     85 25 57.5    3 combs: 1 sandstone +

2 sheet metal, 1989 & 2001; formerly 4 5-Vee sheet metal combs, but 2 removed

Bilbrey–Stamps Cem                      36 10 44.9     85 19 35.7      18 combs

James Bohannon Cem                  36 07 58.8     85 25 57.9    16 combs

Bloomington Springs Cem             36 11 47.5     85 37 14.1    3 combs + 1 prob ex-comb

Brewington Cem                              36 09 38.5     85 33 30.9    4 + 1 ex-comb

Brown’s Mill Cem                             36 07 05.0     85 27 23.6      4 combs        

Buck Cem north                               36 09 42.6     85 26 26.2    10 combs

Buck Cem south                              36 08 59.0     85 26 59.7    1 comb

Buck Cem west                                36 09 18.9     85 27 14.0    3 combs

Bullington (Quarles) Cem              36 12 53.9     85 32 28.1    1 comb

Campbell-Bohannon Cem             36 07 54.3     85 25 11.4    ex-comb cem, 4 or 5 when

photographed in 1979.

Cooke Cem                                       36 08 55.6     85 36 54.0    ex-comb cem;  at least

            one extant when first visited.

Cooper Cem                                     36 11 15.6     85 21 48.2      1 comb

Double Springs Cem                      36 10 19.4     85 35 26.8    1 comb

Farley Seminary Cem                     36 05 12.4     85 19 29.3     7 combs (1 crude) +

1 prob comb;  cows are destroying this cem

France-Poteet Cem                         36 08 22.1     85 17 34.8      1 comb

Robert Goodwin comb                    36 12 16.4     85 20 42.6      1 lone comb

Green Family Cem                          36 07 39.7     85 30 01.3    1 comb

Henry Cem                                        36 06 46*       85 19 01         7 combs

Herron-Thomas Cem                      36 04 51*       85 39 51.5     1 comb

Johnson Chapel Cem                    36 03 45.2     85 19 31.0      31 combs

Jones-Livesay Cem                         36 11 16.5     85 20 22.3      4 combs

Judd Cem                                          36 09 01.3     85 32 17.0    1 comb + 1 ex-comb

Lee Cem                                            36 09 19.3     85 22 54.1    3 combs

Hop T. Lee Cem                               36 13 22*       85 43 36.5    1 comb

Lovelady Cem                                  36 05 24.3     85 30 42.2    4 combs

Marchbanks Cem                            36 12 22.5     85 26 23.7    1 comb + 1 pos ex-comb

Maxwell Family Cem                       36 07 44.3     85 44 52.6    2 combs

McBroom Cem                                  36 11 22.6     85 36 51.0    1 + 2 probable ex-combs

Miller Cem                                         36 11 02.7     85 18 42.1     6 combs (100%)

Norris Cem                                        36 14 43.0     85 27 11.1    1 + 1 pos ex-comb

Officer Chapel Cem                                    36 13 22.8     85 24 57.5    5 combs

Pearson Cem                                   36 12 22.4     85 29 16.5    1 comb

Pennington Cem                             36 04 40.8     85 28 50.7    5 combs

Phillips Cem                                     36 12 46.9     85 27 24.7    ex-combs cem, combs present when first visited.

Pippin Cem                                       36 13 17.1     85 33 51.7    12 combs

Post Oak Shade Cem                     36 11 15.6     85 33 54.9    2 combs + formerly 1 sheet metal comb when first visited

Quarles Cem                                                36 10 35.1     85 26 44.5    1 comb 

Ray Cem                                           36 10 02.7     85 16 38.4      23 combs

Robinson-Stallion Cem                  36 05 26.4     85 27 16.7      ex-comb cem, 12 to

possibly 15 ex-combs

Rock Springs Cem.                         36 09 34.6     85 46 56.8    2 concrete combs

Russell Cem                                     36 08 11.0     85 45 27.2    2 combs, features

1     sandstone comb and 1 infant’s comb made of Chattanooga Shale

 - Salem Church Cem                     36 08 27.8     85 28 56.3     pos. ex-comb cem:

          3 possible or probable ex-combs

Scarlett Cem                                     36 09 16.6     85 31 53.6    4 combs

            Unusual location in middle of intersection of two city streets.

Shady Grove Cem                           36 11 24.5*    85 19 23        20 + 3 probable ex-combs

Sliger Cem                                        36 07 09.9     85 29 45.8      1 comb

Smellage Cem                                  36 07 41.0     85 41 59.5    1 comb

Smyrna Cem                                     36 12 33.5     85 30 37.6    9 + 1 ex-comb

Stamps Cem                                     36 10 50.6     85 20 56.6      24 combs

Stewart Cem                                     36 08 14.4     85 34 25.8    1 comb

Terry Cem                                          36 16 11.0     85 28 43.1      2 combs

Thompson-Carr Cem                      36 07 50.4     85 34 21.4    3 + 3 probable ex-combs

Watson Cem                                     36 07 09.4     85 26 28.8      4 combs – said to have

            been 2-3 more prior to 1974 tornado damage

Walker Hollow Cem                         36 10 14.2     85 18 42.6     12 combs

Wasson-Essex Cem                        36 07 49.5     85 31 25.0    6 combs + 1 pos ex-comb

Webb Cem                                        36 12 49.6     85 22 08.8     9 combs

West Cem                                          36 11 30.5     85 20 13.4      5 combs

West Cem                                          36 06 46.5*    85 31 45        ex-comb cem, 1 to

            possibly 4 ex-combs

Whittaker Cem                                  36 08 42.8     85 15 36.8      10 combs, including 1

            flat sheet metal comb

Whitaker Cem                                   36 09 12.9      85 24 05.1    1 comb

Whiteaker Cem                                36 06 44.8     85 27 03.7      ex-comb cem with

2 ex-combs that the owners stated (in 2014) that they intended to restore; they re-set the headstones but used the broken side slabs in a small patio.

Whitson Cem                                    36 11 46.5     85 35 05.2    2 combs

Whitson-Denton Cem                     36 09 36.9     85 28 37.0    1 comb

Woodcliff Cem                                  36 09 27.8      85 18 17.1     4 + 1 possible ex-comb

 

 

SMITH Co.                             1 comb cem               4 combs extant

 

Lancaster Cem                                 36 07 39.3     85 51 21.6    4 concrete combs

 

 

VAN BUREN Co                  25 comb cems.         266 combs extant

 

Beech Cove (Dodson) Cem           35 46 59.1     85 31 15.3     27 combs

Big Fork Cem                                    35 48 43.7     85 27 04.4    37 + 2 ex + 4 pos ex-comb

Hannah Billingsley comb                           35 45 54.6     85 23 31.9   1 lone comb 

Cummings (Stony Pt) Cem            35 48 09.4     85 30 57.2      2 combs        

Cummingsville Cem                                    35 48 15.6     85 27 41.5    5 + 2 ex-combs

Denney-Molloy Cem                       35 44 27.5*    85 27 56        14 combs

Simon Dodson Cem                                    35 47 01.2     85 31 03.6    1 comb          

Carter Drake Cem                            35 46 54.5*    85 24 22.5    1 comb

Ford Cem                                          35 46 54.0     85 27 37.4    2 combs

Forsythe Cem                                   35 48 02.3     85 25 13.4     2 combs

Gamble Cem                                     35 47 59.9     85 25 12.4     1 comb, badly broken up

Gravel Hill Cem                                35 48 10.6     85 25 34.5     28 combs

 

Hale-Sodom Cem                           35 44 33*       85 29 28.5     ex-comb cem, at least one

            sheet metal comb when first visited, now gone.

Haston Cem                                      35 47 58.5     85 26 20.7     ex-comb cem,

 2 children’s ex-combs

Hodges Cem                                     35 48 56.8     85 28 36.7    28 + 1 or 2 pos ex-combs Hollingsworth Cem                            35 47 55.2     85 29 50.5    11 + 1 or 2 prob ex-combs

Lewis (Cane Creek) Cem               35 45 56*       85 23 47        5 + 1 prob ex-comb

Lonewood Cem                                35 45 47*       85 16 42         7 combs

Long Chapel Cem                           35 44 02*       85 32 31         13 combs

McElroy Cem                                    35 47 33*       85 33 55         39 combs

Old Drake Cem                                 35 44 16.2     85 33 19.2      1 comb

 - Seitz (Walling) Cem                     35 36 26*       85 26 07.5     possible ex-comb cem,

            with 6 graves covered by flat slabs, possibly representing 3 to 6 ex-combs            

Sparkmantown (Hopewell) Cem   35 48 27*       85 30 41         22 combs      

Sparkman-Yates Cem                     35 48 16.7     85 29 42.6    13 combs       Uninscribed

comb covers 1816 grave.

Swinging Bridge Cem                     35 47 44.3     85 24 31.0    3 combs, one of which is

            missing one side slab

Wilson Cem                                      35 46 17.3     85 24 02.9    3 combs

 

 

WARREN Co.                       11 comb cems          19 combs extant

 

Armstrong Cem                                35 34 30*       85 44 10         1 comb

Blue Springs Cem                           35 32 23.4     85 51 26.7      1 comb           1828

Concord Cem                                   35 46 14*       85 44 54        1 comb

Eureka Church Cem                       35 43 38.6     85 37 18.3      1 striped marble comb

Mt. Vernon Cem                               35 44 21*       85 38 17.5    1 comb

Pine Bluff Cem                                35 47 00*        85 37 41        4 combs

Hash Cem                                         35 47 20.2     85 37 13.0      3 combs         1832

Riverside Cem                                  35 40 36*       85 46 23       2 limestone combs

Rock Island Cem                             35 47 50.7     85 36 56.8      ex-comb cem, 2 ex-combs

Shellsford Cem                                35 40 15*       85 42 28        3 limestone combs

Woods Cem                                      35 50 49.5*    85 50 06        2 combs  Cem split in half by DeKalb-Warren county line, but combs thought to lie in Warren Co.

 

 

WAYNE Co. KENTUCKY   1 comb cem               No extant combs

 

NB:  This comb cemetery is considered to be part of the main Tennessee comb range.

Taylor Grove Cem                36 44 21*       84 57 14         ex-comb cem, at least one

sheet metal comb present when first visited, now gone.

 

 

 

 

WHITE Co.                            107 comb cems        1306 combs extant 

 

Anderson Cem                                 35 54 14*       85 33 35        16 combs

Anderson Cem                                 35 49 39.5*    85 30 56        53 combs

Austin (Anderson) Cem                  35 53 16.5*    85 22 27.5     20 + 3 – 4 ex-combs;

            uninscribed comb covers 1818 grave;  dated combs from 1820s

Baker Cem                                        35 58 55.5*    85 37 44.5     8 combs

Baker Cem east                                35 59 29*       85 31 58        ex-comb cem, 4 ex +

1 pos ex-comb

Bethlehem Cem                               35 51 34*       85 28 40        30 + at least 5 ex-combs

Blankenship-Ball-Baker Cem        35 59 52.5     85 33 04.3    2 combs 

 - Board Valley Church Cem         36 03 02*      85 22 44       possible ex-combs

Richard Bradley Cem                      36 00 43.6     85 21 12.4      9 + 1 ex-comb, including

1 1839 comb and 1 1838 ex-comb (dismantled by woman who feared snakes)

Bright Cem                                        35 49 31.0     85 36 01.3      1 comb

Cash-Farley Cem                            36 04 21.1     85 28 50.3     5 combs

Cherry Creek C of C Cem              36 00 23.6     85 25 45.8      6 combs

Chisam Cem                                     35 49 17.6     85 37 33.3    1 comb

Chisum-Cole                                                35 49 41.4     85 40 17.4    2 combs

Cooke Cem                                       35 54 55*       85 35 52.5    4 combs         1830

Cope Cem                                         35 55 26.5*    85 37 42.5     11 combs

Cope and Sullivan Cem                 35 56 47.5     85 36 18.8    2 combs

Crawford Cem                                  35 54 18.2     85 27 58.9      8 combs

Cunningham Cem                          36 04 18.9     85 29 37.8      4 flat sheet metal combs

Cunningham Cem                          35 49 32.1     85 25 46.2    9 combs

Davis Cem                                        35 56 30*       85 31 03        15 + 3 ex-combs

Davis Cem                                        35 49 34*       85 19 56         22 + 2 ex + 1-2 pos  

ex-combs

Dillon Cem                                        35 49 01.2     85 35 58.4      1 comb

Dillon-Sparkman Cem                    35 48 57*       85 34 26.5     18 combs

Dodson Rd. Cem                             35 52 29*       85 24 17         ex-comb cem

Doyle Cem north                              35 51 19.2     85 30 59.2      1 comb

Doyle Cem south                             35 50 47*       85 30 40         8 combs

Dumplin Knob Cem                                    35 53 18.2     85 16 56.0      1 comb

Dyer Cem                                          36 04 03.9     85 27 52.1      11 combs

England Cem                                   36 01 36.0     85 30 02.8    4 + 1 pos ex-comb England Cem (north)             36 02 01.3     85 28 51.7      3 + 1 probable ex-comb England Cem (south)               36 01 01.0     85 29 01.5           6 combs

Farley Cem                                       36 02 11.4     85 36 16.2    3 combs

Floyd-Cameron Cem                       36 00 23.3     85 22 15.4      3 + 1 possible ex-comb

France Cem                                      36 01 31.5*    85 20 17        14 combs

Fraser combs, Scotts Gulf              35 48 59*       85 21 20         2 combs

Wm. Fraser comb                             35 49 03.6     85 22 54.3    1 lone comb

Frasier (Fraser) Cem, Dog Cove  35 52 25.0   85 20 39.5      2 combs

Frazier Chapel Cem                                    35 49 37*       85 23 55      15 combs

Gooch-Jett Cem                               35 52 52.8     85 30 14.9    3 combs        

Goodwin Cem                                  36 03 33.4     85 30 33.1    3 combs

Green Cem                                       35 52 24.7     85 21 01.6      3 combs

Greenwood Cem                              35 50 37*       85 29 56        25 combs

Guy comb                                          35 49 00.1     85 24 01.0    1 lone comb

Herd-Hensley-Lowery Cem           35 55 07.5     85 30 16.8    16 combs

Hill Cem                                             36 02 38.1     85 28 22.6      12 combs

Holder Cem                                       35 49 08.1     85 33 05.6     3 + 2 prob ex-combs

Hudgens Cem                                  35 55 01*       85 25 04.5     11 combs       1833

Hurd Cem                                          35 53 07*       85 31 37        53 + 2 ex-combs 

- Abel Hutson Cem                          35 50 15.0     85 35 56.6      1 possible ex-comb

Hutson Cem  No. 3                          35 50 21.8     85 36 03.0      24 combs       1833

Isom Cem                                          36 04 24.7     85 28 42.0      2 combs

Jericho Cem                                     35 50 05.5*    85 34 14        21 combs

Lance Cem                                       35 55 56        85 24 16.1      2 combs

Lost Creek Cem                               35 52 50*       85 22 08         7 combs

Martin Cem                                       35 59 52.0     85 38 02.3      2 combs, 1 of which is

            missing one side slab

Martin Cem                                       35 57 27.1     85 33 14.5    10 combs (3 in poor cond.)

McGee Cem                                      35 59 39.4     85 34 02.4    2 combs

Mitchell Cem (no. 2)                        35 52 34.3     85 21 58.1      5 combs

Moon Cem                                        35 51 40.9     85 25 44.2    1 or 2 ex-combs:  several

           sandstone comb slabs, representing at least two combs, visible when first visited;

           not as many slabs visible when revisited in 2014;  slabs gradually being buried.

Moore Cem                                       35 49 48*       85 36 03         7 combs

Moore Cem No. 2                             35 51 48.2     85 35 21.8      3 + 1 prob ex-comb

Moore Cem No. 3                             35 52 19.3     85 33 54.0      8 + 1 prob ex-comb + slabs laid flat that likely represent another 8 combs

Mt Gilead Cem                                  35 53 42.2     85 30 11.5    138 combs     1836

            Mt Gilead contains more combs than any other comb cemetery.

Mt. Pisgah Cem                                35 50 52.5     85 35 32.1      126 + 1 prob + 2 pos ex-combs; perhaps the best comb cemetery in Tennessee for variety; 1817 dated comb, believed on basis of headstone style to have been erected later than date

New Hope Cem                                35 56 51.5*    85 36 26        31 + 5 ex-combs

Oakwood combs                              35 59 54.6     85 31 05.0    2 combs right on the edge

            of SR 136 ROW

-       Officer Cem                              35 57 16.3     85 23 06.9     1 pos ex-comb;  slabs so disrupted by growth of a tree that it is not possible to tell for certain if this was a comb or a box grave;  no gable stones visible

Old Bon Air Cem                              35 54 51*       85 23 11         3 + 1 possible ex-comb

Old Jericho Cem                              35 50 29.0      85 33 51.5     65 + 1 prob ex-comb

Old Sparta Cem                                35 55 31*       85 28 02         5 + at least 12 ex-combs +

            numerous other graves that likely were once covered by combs      

Old Union Cem                                35 49 30.4     85 26 26.9    102 + >4 prob ex-combs

Old Zion Cem                                   35 58 14*       85 33 49        5 + 1 ex + 1 prob ex, plus

            ca. 10 – 12 slabs laid flat that may have once been combs

Parks Cem                                        35 52 06*       85 21 46         3 combs

Peeled Chestnut Cem                    35 57 49.5*    85 39 33        6 combs

Pleasant Hill-Davis Cem                35 52 59*       85 28 00         10 + 1 possible ex-comb

Plum Creek Cem                             35 59 53*       85 23 55         7 combs

Pollard Cem                                      35 53 54.9     85 38 26.1      15 combs

Rice Cem                                          36 02 10.3     85 35 53.5    1 comb + 1 pos ex-comb

Roberts Cem                                     35 52 12*       85 37 02.5     2 combs

Rogers Cem                                      35 51 47.1     85 25 47.1    11 + 1 prob ex-comb Saylor Cem                                      36 02 12*       85 32 00        28 combs + 1 probable

            ex-comb

Scott Cem                                          36 00 59.9     85 29 56.2      4 combs, likely

5 originally; 1830

Scurlock Cem                                   35 49 35         85 29 53        12 combs

John Shellito comb                         35 52 35.7     85 17 43.5     1 lone headless comb

Simmons Cem                                  35 48 54*       85 30 06         3 combs

Simrell Cem                                      35 51 36*       85 36 14         24 combs

Smith Cem                                        36 00 04.8     85 29 26.0      2 combs

John L. Smith comb                                    35 55 23.5     85 17 53.2      1 lone comb; difficult to locate:  badly overgrown area, no good landmarks;  should be sought in winter.

Southard Cem                                  36 00 22.5     85 34 51.6    3 combs

Charlie Sparkman Cem                  35 50 49.7     85 37 23.0      5 + 1 ex-comb

Swindell Cem                                   35 51 48*       85 36 28.5     3 combs

Templeton Cem                                35 50 39.5     85 35 19.5      1 comb

Tettleton Cem                                   36 00 18.8     85 28 17.1    2 combs

Tollison Cem                                                36 00 16.5*    85 34 32        5 + 1 ex-comb

Underwood Cem                              35 50 39.3     85 31 45.0      2 combs

Upper Cherry Creek Cem               36 01 14.7     85 26 39.0      5 + 1 possible ex-comb

Walling-Randals Cem                    35 52 15.5*    85 31 44        38 combs

Walker–England Cem                    35 58 31.4     85 32 45.5    3 combs + 2 ex-combs

Ward-Cashdollar Cem                    35 55 26.5*    85 33 21        5 combs

Welch Cem                                       35 50 32.4     85 17 51.9     ex-comb cem, 2 or 3 ex-combs

Wesley Chapel Cem                       35 58 23*       85 36 46.5    13 combs

Wheeler Cem                                   35 58 27.5*    85 25 19.5     4 + 1 ex-comb

White Cem                                        35 54 49.8     85 30 40.3    19 combs

White Cem                                        35 50 03.5     85 25 46.5    1 + 1 ex + 1 pos ex-comb Wilhite Cem                                         36 03 59.3     85 29 07.5      14 combs + 1 remnant

Wilson Cem                                      35 52 49*       85 24 41         13 combs, including

            several combs from the 1820s

Winstead Cem                                  35 53 51.5     85 34 28.9    2 combs

Young Cem                                      35 54 11.3     85 32 55.7    6 combs

Young-Hensley Chapel Cem        35 54 27*       85 31 47        11 combs

 

Number of comb cems in main Tennessee comb range, inc. ex-comb cems:  424

Number of comb cems with extant combs:  390

Number of ex-comb cems: 34

Number of possible comb cems, not included in above totals:   9

Total number of extant combs:   3296 

TENNESSEE COMB CEMETERIES OUTSIDE THE MAIN COMB RANGE

 

BEDFORD Co.         1 comb cem  

 

Shofner Cem                                                35 26 47.4     86 19 46.6      2 limestone children’s

            combs, Shofner boys, both d. 1854

 

 

CANNON Co.           1 comb cem

 

Curlee Cem                                      35 46 37*       86 09 46.5     1 cement comb with very

            low walls, something of a hybrid comb-gravehouse

 

 

LINCOLN Co.           1 comb cem

 

Roper Cem                                        35 01 16.1     86 46 17.5      2 limestone combs,

            the southwesternmost known combs in Tennessee

 

 

RUTHERFORD Co.            1 comb cem

 

Science Hill Cem                             35 49 28*       86 14 52.5     1  5-Vee sheet metal comb

 

 

SEQUATCHIE Co.   1 comb cem 

 

McGlothen Cem                               35 27 55        85 26 44         1 comb, though two when

            first visited

 

Number of comb cems in Tennessee, including cems outside the main range: 429

Number of comb cems with extant combs:  395

Total number of extant combs:   3303

 

 

-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX B: Limestone Comb Graves

 

NB:  GPS set for NAD 27 datum (same datum used for topos)

NB:  * indicates lat-long measured from the quads, not on-site GPS readings.

 

 

LIMESTONE COMBS IN THE MAIN TENNESSEE COMB RANGE:

 

Alto Q

           

   Caldwell Cem                                35 16 55.5*      85 53 10         6 limestone combs

   Cash Cem                                      35 22 21.7       85 57 22.5     4 limestone combs

   Old Baptist Cem                            35 18 45.2       85 53 05.6     3 limestone combs

 

Burristown Q

 

   Lynn Cem                                      36 22 58*         85 32 42         2 limestone combs

 

Burrow Cove Q

 

   Payne Cove Cem                         35 19 32.5*      85 49 45         1 limestone comb  

   Warren Cem                                  35 18 08*         85 52 29         1 limestone comb   

 

Byrdstown Q

 

   Eligah Garrett Cem                       36 31 20.0       85 08 48.2     1 limestone comb

 

Capitol Hill Q

 

   Partin Cem                                     35 15 17.1       86 00 09.4     3 limestone combs

 

Cardwell Mtn. Q

 

   Shellsford Cem                             35 40 15*         85 42 28         3 limestone combs

 

Hillsboro Q

 

   Phillips Cem                                  35 23 54.7       85 57 16.4     3 limestone combs (plus 10 sandstone combs in same cemetery)

   Price Cem                                      35 24 24*         85 55 32       1 dressed limestone comb

   Stephenson Cem                         35 23 50.5       85 55 36.5    3 dressed limestone combs, one sidescribed (plus 1 sandstone comb in same cemetery)

 

Liberty Q

 

   New Hope Cem                             36 04 50*         85 59 50         1 limestone comb

Manchester Q

 

   Hickerson Cem                             35 27 11.4       86 00 19.5      2 limestone combs,

           somewhat crudely constructed

 

McMinnville

 

   Riverside Cem                               35 40 36*         85 46 23        2 limestone combs

 

Moodyville Q

 

   Campbell-Canute Cem               36 36 03.6       85 03 36.9     1 limestone comb

 

Winchester Q

 

   Perkins Cem                                  35 14 20.1       86 03 12.3     12 limestone combs

 (plus 1 child’s comb of pink marble; the southwestern most combs in the main Tennessee comb range)

 

 

LIMESTONE COMBS OUTSIDE THE MAIN COMB RANGE:

 

Dellrose Q, Lincoln Co.

 

   Roper Cem                                     35 01 16.1       86 46 17.5     2 limestone combs,

            the southwesternmost known combs in Tennessee

 

Normandy Q, Bedford Co.

           

   Shofner Cem                                 35 26 47.4        86 19 46.6    2 limestone children’s

            combs, Shofner boys, both d. 1854

 

TOTALS:  53 limestone combs in 19 cemeteries

 

 

-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX C: Marble and Shale Comb Graves

 

NB:  GPS set for NAD 27 datum (same datum used for topos)

NB:  * indicates lat-long measured from the quads, not on-site GPS readings.

 

 

MARBLE COMB GRAVES:

 

Welchland Q

 

   Eureka Church Cem                    35 43 38.6       85 37 18.4     1 comb of black & white

            striped marble

Winchester Q

 

   Perkins Cem                                  35 14 20.1       86 03 12.3     1 child’s comb of pink

            marble (plus 12 limestone combs)

 

 

 

CHATTANOOGA SHALE COMB GRAVES:

 

Buffalo Valley Q

           

   Russell Cem                                  36 08 11.0       85 45 27.2     1 infant’s comb made of slabs of Chattanooga Shale

 

TOTALS:  2 marble combs and 1 Chattanooga shale comb in 3 cemeteries

 

 

-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX D: Concrete and Cement Comb Graves

 

NB:  GPS set for NAD 27 datum (same datum used for topos)

NB:  * indicates lat-long measured from the quads, not on-site GPS readings.

 

 

CONCRETE &/or CEMENT COMBS IN THE MAIN TENNESSEE COMB RANGE:

 

NB:  One of the noteworthy characteristics of all of the concrete/cement combs listed below is the obvious mimicry of the traditional stone comb.  The sideslabs are imitated, in the forming of the concrete (or cement), as are the recessed triangular gable stones.

 

Buffalo Valley Q

           

   Lancaster Cem                              36 07 39.3       85 51 21.6     4 concrete combs

Note:  These combs share a continuous base and appear to have been all constructed at the same time.

 

   Rock Springs Cem.                      36 09 34.6       85 46 56.8     2 concrete combs

            Note:  In addition to sharing a concrete base, these combs have a modified form, with the crest being somewhat rounded rather than reaching a sharp apex.

 

Okalona Q   

 

   Liberty Cem                                    36 19 17.2       85 16 49.5     2 cement combs (along

with 20 sandstone combs).  Combs appear to be the work of the same craftsman who erected the cement comb in nearby Okalona Cem.

 

   Okalona Cem                                36 19 18.0      85 20 21.3     1 cement comb (along

            with 31 sandstone combs).  Comb appears to be the work of the same craftsman

            who erected the cement combs in nearby Liberty Cem.

 

 

CONCRETE &/or CEMENT COMBS OUTSIDE THE MAIN COMB RANGE:

 

Readyville Q

 

   Curlee Cem                                   35 46 37*         86 09 46.5     1 cement comb with very

            low walls, something of a hybrid comb-gravehouse

           

TOTALS:  10 concrete or cement combs in 5 cemeteries

 

 

-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-

 

 

APPENDIX E: Sheet Metal Comb Graves

 

NB:  GPS set for NAD 27 datum (same datum used for topos)

NB:  * indicates lat-long measured from the quads, not on-site GPS readings.

 

UID = Unidentified cemetery, no basis on which to name.

 

 

SHEET METAL COMBS IN THE MAIN TENNESSEE COMB CEMETERY RANGE:

 

Baxter Q

 

   Halfacre Cem                                36 14 11*         85 40 04         ex-comb cem, formerly

1 5-Vee metal comb

 

Cookeville East Q

 

   Bear Creek Cem                           36 14 27.6       85 25 57.5     2 combs, for a husband and wife, erected in 1983 & 2001 respectively, and made of 5-Vee roofing metal;  formerly 2 others metal combs, which have been removed.  (Cemetery also contains 1 sandstone comb.)

 

Cookeville West Q

 

   Post Oak Shade Cem                  36 11 15.6       85 33 54.9     1 sheet metal comb when first visited, now gone.  (Cemetery still features 2 sandstone combs.)

 

Dry Valley Q

 

   Cunningham Cem                                   36 04 18.9       85 29 37.8     4 flat sheet metal combs

            Combs are riveted and the seams appear to be sealed with a tarry substance.

 

Hillsboro Q

 

   Lambert Cem                                 35 23 20.2       85 55 57.1     ex-comb cem;  metal

 comb photographed by Ball, 1977, now gone

 

Monterey Q

 

   Whittaker Cem                               36 08 42.8       85 15 36.8     1 comb made of flat sheet metal painted silver. (Cemetery also contains 9 sandstone combs.)

 

 

 

 

 

Obey City 

           

   Pierce Cem                                    36 13 35.5       85 13 37.2     8 metal combs (the greatest number of metal combs in a single cemetery):  4 5-Vee sheet metal combs & 4 corrugated roofing combs.  (Cem also contains 11 sandstone combs.)

 

Okalona Q   

 

   Harris Chapel Cem                       36 15 31*         85 18 25         ex-comb cem, at least one sheet metal comb present when first visited, now gone

 

Pall Mall Q

 

   Jasper Pile Cem                            36 32 48.5*     84 56 40     ex-comb cem, said to have

            had 3-4 metal combs at one time;  at least one sheet metal comb present when

            first visited, now gone                    

 

Powersburg KY Q

 

   Taylor Grove Cem                         36 44 21*         84 57 14         ex-comb cem, at least

            one sheet metal comb present when first visited, now gone

 

Riverton Q  

 

   Wright Cem                                    36 25 22*         85 03 21         ex-comb cem, at least  one sheet metal comb when first visited, now gone

 

Spencer Q

 

   Hale-Sodom Cem                         35 44 33*         85 29 28.5     ex-comb cem, at least

            one sheet metal comb when first visited, now gone

 

 

 

SHEET METAL COMBS OUTSIDE THE MAIN COMB RANGE

 

Readyville Q

 

Science Hill Cem                          35 49 28*         86 14 52.5     1 sheet metal comb made of 5-Vee roofing

 

 

TOTALS:   A minimum of 26 metal combs (6 no longer extant) in 13 cemeteries

 

 

-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-

APPENDIX F:     EARLY COMB GRAVE DATES

 

Bald Knob quad:  Sparkman-Yates Cem.:  George T. Sparkman, died 1816, is buried

            under an undated, uninscribed comb, possibly erected in 1816, or possibly later.

 

Doyle quad:  Mt. Pisgah Cem.: 1817 (comb probably erected at a later date: stylistic         considerations, plus the fact that the church was not established until 1820)

 

DeRossett quad – Austin Cem.:  Rachel Austin, died 1818, is buried in an un-dated

            comb

 

Okalona quad – Roaring River Cem.: 1822

 

De Rossett quad – Austin Cem.:  1823, 1825, 1826, 1833, 1839

 

Sparta quad – Wilson Cem.:  1824, 1826, 1827

 

Viola quad – Blue Springs Cem.: 1828

 

Cassville quad – Cooke Cem.: 1830

 

Dry Valley quad – Scott Cem.: 1830

 

Doyle quad – Hash Cem.: 1832

 

Alpine quad:  Old Alpine Cem.: 1833

 

Doyle quad – Hutson Cem. No. 3: 1833

 

Sparta quad – Hudgens Cem.: 1833

 

Winchester quad – Perkins Cem.: 1835 (at southernmost end of main Tennessee comb

            range)

 

Cassville quad – Mt. Gilead Cem.:  1836

Dale Hollow Dam quad – Fitzgerald Cem.: (very near northern end of main Tennessee

            comb range):  1839

 

Monterey Lake quad – Richard Bradley Cem.:  1838 ex-comb, 1839 comb

 

 

 

            This sampling of early dates indicates that by the end of the 1830s the comb tradition had spread throughout its main Tennessee range, i.e., in about two decades after its introduction, which likely occurred in the decade 1810-1820.

           

 

-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-

 

 

APPENDIX G:  Comb Grave Church Associations

 

COMBS  PRESENT AT THESE  74  CHURCH  CEMETERIES:

 

BAPTIST: 32

 

Bald Knob quad:  Big Fork Primitive Baptist Ch.* Cem. (church,  ca. 1808 -1856, not extant);

            Greenwood Church*;  Ole Bethel Church (Scurlock Cem.)*

            Campaign quad:  Concord Church Cem.

            Cardwell Mtn. quad:  Shellsford Church

Cassville quad:  Hensley Chapel Free Will Baptist Church (note: cemetery pre-dates

            church);  New Hope Missionary Baptist Church

            Clarkrange quad:  Mt. Union Baptist Church (Camp Ground Cem.)

            Cookeville East quad:  Bear Creek Church (metal combs + 1 stone comb)

            Cookeville West quad:  Post Oak Shade Church (2 combs + formerly 1 metal comb)      

            Crawford quad: Falling Springs Missionary Baptist Church

Dale Hollow Res. SE quad:  Fellowship Church

            Dellrose quad:  Roper Primitive Baptist Church

Doyle quad: Anderson Baptist Church; Hopewell Baptist Church (Sparkmantown Cem.)

Hilham quad: Old Union Church (original church used by Baptist, Methodist, and

            Presbyterian congregations, later just Baptist)

            Irving College quad:  Philadelphia Baptist Church of Christ

Kinlock Spring AL quad:  Posey Mill Missionary Baptist Church

Liberty quad: New Hope Southern Baptist Church

            Monterey quad: Shady Grove Free Will Baptist Church; Woodcliff Church            

Monterey Lake quad:  Johnson Chapel Baptist Church (est. 1835)

            Obey City quad: Hanging Limb Missionary Baptist Church

Okalona quad: Harris Chapel Freewill Baptist Church (had at least one metal comb

            when first visited; none in 2012); Liberty Freewill Baptist Church; Roaring River

            Primitive Baptist Church* (church building long gone)

Powersburg KY quad: Taylors Grove United Baptist Church (had at least one metal

            Comb when first visited; gone in 2012)

Riverton quad:  Wright Baptist Church (had at least one metal comb when first visited;

gone in 2012)

Sparta quad:  Pleasant Hill Baptist Church

Viola quad:  Blue Spring Church (1807-1858) (church building long gone)*

            Windle quad: Poplar Springs Missionary Baptist Church (ex-combs)

Wofford KY quad:  Redbird Baptist Church

 

 

METHODIST: 17

 

            Bald Knob quad:  Cummingsville Church; Frazer’s United Methodist Chapel

            Campaign quad: Pine Bluff Church (Baptist in 2013, but formerly Methodist)

            Cardwell Mtn. quad: Mt. Vernon Methodist Church (no longer in use)

            Cassville quad:  Mt. Gilead Church; Wesley Chapel United Methodist

            Cookeville East quad: Salem Church (3 probable ex-combs)

            Dale Hollow Res. SE quad:  Mt. Pisgah Church*

DeRossett quad:  Lost Creek United Methodist Church

            Doyle quad:  Mt. Pisgah Church

            Hilham quad:  McFerrin Church

            Okalona quad:  Bethlehem Church; Okalona*

            Sligo Bridge quad:  Peeled Chestnut Church

            Vandever quad: Hale’s Chapel (no longer in service)

Windle quad:  Mt. Gilead Church; Zion Hill Church

 

CHURCH OF CHRIST: 11

 

            Bald Knob quad:  Bethlehem Church*

            Burristown quad:  Pleasant Hill Church*

            Doyle quad:  Church of Christ at Jericho; Church of Christ at McElroy

            Dry Valley quad: Cherry Creek Church

            Herbert Domain quad:  Church of Christ at Newton

            Hilham quad:  Old Flat Creek Church

            Irving College quad: Armstrong Church

            Livingston quad:  Walnut Grove Church

            Readyville quad:  Church of Christ at Curlee (cement comb)

            Welchland quad: Church of Christ at Eureka

 

PRESBYTERIAN:  5

 

            Bald Knob quad:  Old Union Cumberland Presbyterian Church (ca. 1805)*

            Cassville quad:  Old Zion Cumberland Presbyterian Church (1810)

            Dry Valley quad:  Upper Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church U.S.A., established 1800

                        (presently a Baptist Church)

            Hilham quad:  Camp Ground Church

            Okalona quad:  Ruth Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church

 

CHRISTIAN CHURCH:  1

 

            Byrdstown quad:  Hatcher Hall Cem.

 

LUTHERAN CHURCH: 1

 

            Normandy quad:  Shofner Cem.*

 

OTHER DENOMINATIONS:  3

 

            Burristown quad:  New Hope Community Church*  

            Okalona quad:  Fredonia Community Church

Wofford KY quad:  Canada Town Holiness Church*

 

CEMS ASSOCIATED WITH CHURCHES OF UNKNOWN DENOMINATION:  4

 

            Bald Knob quad:  Cane Creek Church (no longer in use; denom. unk.)

            Cookeville East quad: Officers Chapel (no longer in use; denom. unk.)

            Cookeville West quad: Judd Church (no longer standing in 1999, denom. unk.)

            Welchland quad: Long Church (no longer standing, denom. unk.

 

*Indicates denomination information from internet source

 

 

-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-

 

 

APPENDIX H: Former Comb Cemetery Inventory    

 

Cems which once had combs, but which no longer do:  34 – 33 in TN, 1 in KY.

(If seven possible ex-comb cemeteries—indicated below by *-- are included, the ex-comb cemetery total = 40.)

 

Cems from which all combs lost since first visited: 20 – 19 in TN, 1 in KY

 

UID = Unidentified cemetery, no basis on which to name.

 

 

QUAD                        CEMETERY

 

Alpine Q:

 

            Allison (Winton) Cem. –recorded on original comb survey as a comb cemetery;

                        no combs extant in 2013 and caretaker claims there have never been

                        combs here.

Robbins Cem. --about a mile SW of Bolestown Ch. (combs when originally

            visited; as of 6/2013 6 ex-combs, all slabs laid flat)

Bald Knob Q:

 

            Haston Cem. –2 children’s ex-combs

 

            Dodson Rd. Cem. near old distillery: at least one comb present when first visited

                        (1960s?); cemetery completely gone by 2002.

 

Moon Cem.--1 or 2 ex-combs: several sandstone comb slabs, representing at

            least two combs, visible when first visited;  not as many slabs visible

            when revisited in 2014;  slabs gradually being buried. Mr. Rogers, 95 yrs.

            old in 2013, said these stones have lain here as long as he can

            remember, but he has no memory of them as intact combs.

 

Baxter Q:

 

            Halfacre Cem.-- at least 1 sheet metal ex-comb when first visited; collapsed as of

                        2010.

 

Burgess Falls Q:

 

            West Cem.– no extant combs; 1 for certain ex-comb, to possibly as many as 4.

 

Burristown Q:

 

            Hall Cem.—no extant combs, but one when first visited; dismantled as of 2012.

 

 

Campaign Q:

 

Len Cantrell Cem. --no extant combs, but Ronnie Cantrell (current landowner,     

who is very familiar with comb graves) states that Jerry Wright, who was born in a log house very near this cem, told him there were combs present until the property was bought by a developer prior to Cantrell’s ownership; the developer took the stones for use elsewhere;  broken slabs still lie beside the cem.

 

Cassville Q:

 

            Baker Cem. east – no extant combs, but 4 ex-combs + 1 possible ex-comb.

 

Cookeville East Q:

 

            Campbell-Bohannon Cem. -- 4 or 5 combs photographed in 1979; all gone when

                        revisited in 2012.

 

            Phillips Cem.-- combs present when first visited in 1970s; all combs gone as of

                        6/2012;  reportedly removed by family members who feared vandalism..

 

*Salem Church Cem. – no extant combs, but 3 probable ex-combs.

 

Cookeville West Q:

 

            Cooke Cem.-- at least 1 comb present when first visited; no trace in 2012.

 

Crossville Q:

 

            *Crossville City Cem. – no extant combs; 2 possible ex-combs.

 

Dale Hollow Reservoir SE Q:

 

            Old Bethel Cem.-- combs when first visited; none in 3/2013; present

                        groundskeeper says there were originally at least 2, possibly 3, that they

                        were in poor condition and former groundskeeper (now deceased) took

                        them down.

 

Doyle Q:

 

            *Abel Hutson  Cem.--remains of one pos. comb, cannot tell for sure

 

            Rock Island Cem.– no extant combs, 2 ex-combs

 

Dry Valley Q:

 

*Board Valley Free Will Baptist Church Cem.  –no extant combs, but there are

            Numerous “arrowhead” style headstones which generally occur with

            combs;  however these are not paired with matching footstones, so they

            may never have been associated with combs.

 

            Robinson – Stallion Cem. — no extant combs; 9 or more ex-combs.

            Whiteaker Cem.-- 2 ex-combs, completely collapsed; dismantled in 2013 during   

construction of new home; owners stated (in 2014) that they intended to restore

the combs;  they eventually re-set the headstones but not the combs, instead using the broken side slabs in a small patio.

 

Hilham Q:

 

Campground Cem. --ex-comb cem, based on the presence of two triangular stones,

apparently comb gable stones;  were these two stones in line it would be obvious that they represented a single former comb;  however, they are side by side and it is uncertain if they are remnants of two dismantled combs or one that has been redistributed to mark two graves;  the logical interpretation in either case is that this cemetery once had at least one comb.

 

Hillsboro Q:

 

Lambert Cem.  – no extant combs;  1 sheet metal comb photographed by Ball

            (1977)

 

Livingston Q:

 

Ben Allen grave, one lone comb grave stood 2 blocks west of courthouse square;

            moved (supposedly to Bethlehem Church Cem.) as of 1997.  Commercial

            development of the property followed.

 

            Old Walnut Grove Cem.  -1 ex-comb + 1 pos. ex-comb

 

            Walnut Grove Cem. – no extant combs in 2/2012; at least one when first visited.

 

Lonewood Q:

           

Welch Cem.– no extant combs, but 2 or 3 ex-combs.

 

Obey City Q:

 

            *Pine Ridge Cem. –1 pos. ex-comb

 

Okalona Q:

 

            Christian Cem. – marked on original survey as a comb cem; no trace of                                                    combs in 2012; farm manager of many years claims there have never

                        been any combs here. 

 

            Harris Chapel Cem. – no trace of a comb in 2012; had at least one metal comb

                        when first visited in 1980s.

 

            Jones Cem. (1 probable ex-comb) – no combs in 2012; had at least one                                                    when first visited in 1970s or 80s.

 

            Phillips-Martin Cem. -- combs present when first visited; when revisited in 2012

                        there were only the remains of 2 or 3 combs laid flat)

 

            *Wells Cem. –1 pos. ex-comb; said to have been combs here (Wm. Carmack)

 

Pall Mall Q:

 

Jasper Pile Cem.  -ex-comb cem, said to have had 3-4 metal combs at one time;

at least one sheet metal comb present when first visited, gone when

revisited in 2012

 

Powersburg, KY Q:

 

            Taylor Grove Cem. -- metal comb, seen in 1990s, not photographed; gone when

                        revisited in 2012

 

Riverton Q:

 

            Wright Cem. --1 metal comb when first visited; gone when revisited in 2012

 

Smartt Mtn. Q:

 

            *Seitz Cem. (Walling Cem. on quadrangle) -- 6 graves covered by flat rectangular           

                        sandstone slabs of proper size for comb side slabs; possibly or likely the                                        remains of at least 3 comb graves, if not 6; no triangular end stones                                                present in 2012.

 

Spencer Q:

 

            Hale – Sodom Cem.--1 metal comb here in 1970s; gone when revisited in 2012.

 

Windle Q:

           

Crawford Chapel Cem. --7 probable ex-combs:  4 graves are marked with pairs of

triangular stones, apparently gable stones;  6 additional graves are covered with slabs that appear to have been side slabs from 3 comb graves.

 

Isaac Gore Masters Cem. – marked on original survey as a comb cem;  no

          trace of combs in 2012; several local witnesses say there never were any

          combs, but Mrs. Patty Huddleston and her aunt believe there was one. 

           

             Poplar Springs Cem. -- no extant combs; 7 ex-combs.