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Shelandra Y. Ford
Historical Markers of Shelby County

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Winchester Cemetery

The Winchester New Burying Grounds was established in 1828 as the first cemetery for Memphis by Andrew Jackson, John Overton, and James Winchester, the three original land owners of Memphis. At that time, the city government was less than two years old. Prior to this there was a small cemetery at Poplar and Third. Through the 1830's, the 40's, and 50's Winchester was the principle city cemetery. The last burial there was in 1874. The cemetery occupied 10.82 acres bound by what is now Lane Ave. on the South, the old L&N railroad on the north, Danny Thomas Blvd. on the west and Manassas Street on the east. As a result of neglect and vandalism beginning during the Yellow Fever epidemics, the cemetery went to ruins. The desecration resulted in protests by citizens and lawsuits by relatives. In 1931 a park was established on the remaining 7 acres that you now see. Among those buried there were the victims of the Helen McGregor Steamboat disaster, William Lawrence, the first city surveyor, Henry Van Pelt, the first editor of the Appeal, and Marcus Winchester, our first mayor who in 1819 set up the first store in Memphis and in 1821 the first post office, Winchester's grave is located under what is now the city garage on the west side of this property.