|The oldest section of Elmwood Cemetery|
Originally established in 1900 as "Elm Leaf Cemetery", its name was changed in 1910 to Elmwood. It was developed by several groups of fraternal organizations in the city who saw a need for a second burial ground for the city's dead, beginning with 286 acres of property. It wasn't long before it eclipsed the city's first cemetery, Oak Hill, as the most popular cemetery in town.
It's not surprising that Elmwood Cemetery was a "whites-only" cemetery for much of the past century. Not until 1970 were blacks allowed to purchase burial plots to bury their loved ones here. [See story below]
Elmwood Cemetery, like most cemeteries across the country, has sections that are dedicated solely for Catholics, solely for Jews, and solely for Greeks, to name a few. There are also several large Mausoleums on the property.
|Gravesite of Charles and Odalie Horst - Block 9, Elmwood Cemetery|
Charles & Odalie's oldest son Charles F. Horst (1880-1964) and his wife Eliza Dilworth (1885-1960) are buried nearby in Block 17. Buried with them are their daughter Grider Horst (1908-1995) and son Charles F. Horst, Jr.(1911-1994), along with his wife Kathryn Olsafski (1917-1999).
|Final Resting Place of Harry & Pearl Flemming|
Block 4, Elmwood Cemetery
Five of Harry & Pearl's 8 children are buried together in Block 29 along with their spouses and other family members, including:
- daughter Pearl (1907-1986) and her husband William Barriger (1904-1979);
- daughter Susie (1909-1989) and husband Huber O'Donnell (1905-1964), my grandparents;
- son Harry (1913-1972) and his wife Fredericka Perry (1913-1967);
- son Jack (1918-2008) and his wife Georgia Rice (1918-2005);
- daughter Ann (1923-2012), her husband Aubrey Pilkerton (1925-1999), and their son Aubrey Pilkerton, Jr. (1949-1998);
- granddaughter Mary Ann Selman (1944-2001).
|Headstone for Elizabeth "Lizzie" McCaffrey Flemming|
Block 7, Elmwood Cemetery
- daughter Imo Thompson (1886-1919);
- daughter Lottie McMurray (1891-1937);
- son Thomas (1896-1919);
- (son Harry is buried in Block 29 - see above; son James is buried in Block __ - see below; daughter Sarah is buried in Block 32 - see below)
Another child of Charles and Elizabeth Flemming, son James (1889-1932) is buried in Block 42. Buried beside him is his wife Elizabeth Cahalan (1891-1972). Also buried here are their children: daughter Elizabeth (1914-1982); son Charles (1915-1932); daughter Catherine (1911-1985) and her husband Fred Caver (1905-1975); and son Frank (1924-2003) and his wife Sally Sherrill (1928-2010);
Charles & Elizabeth Flemming's youngest daughter Sarah (1893-1963) and her husband James Thomas (1891-1954) are buried in Block 32. Buried along side them is their only child Delore (1917-1999), along with her husband James Roper (1914-1993).
Buried in Block 10 is Charlotte McCaffrey Morris (1875-1925). Lottie is another sister of my great-great-grandmother Elizabeth McCaffrey Flemming. Buried with her are her husband William Morris (1868-1955), their son William (1903-1924) and daughter Charlotte Rainey (1906-1996). Infant son Joseph (1904-1904) was buried in an unmarked grave in Block 4.
Buried in Block 24 are a daughter-in-law and a son-in-law of Huber & Susie Flemming O'Donnell. Celeste Rafalsky O'Donnell (1950-2008) is buried alongside her parents and brother. In the same block but at a different location is buried my father William A. Powell, Jr. (1929-2009).
Block 22 is the site of the burial place of Karl McCaffrey (1889-1950), nephew of Elizabeth McCaffrey Flemming, and his wife Tennie Williams (1899-1978).
Integrating Elmwood: "Terry vs. Elmwood Cemetery"
About this time, another African-American - Belvin Stout - was denied purchase of a burial plot at Elmwood and joined Terry's widow and mother in filing suit in federal district court against the cemetery. In making their decision for the plaintiffs the court struck down all of the cemetery's rules and regulations regarding discrimination based on race. Following the ruling, along with local and national support, Bill Terry's body was exhumed and reburied at Elmwood Cemetery on January 3, 1970. Twelve hundred marchers followed his body from Our Lady of Fatima Church to the cemetery. His remains now rests at Elmwood - just as he asked his family to do in case anything happened to him, just before leaving for Vietnam. [from" Integrating the City of the Dead: The Integration of Cemeteries and the Evolution of Property Law, 1900-1969", Alabama Law Review, May 23, 2005, pages 1153-1166]