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Nashville, Tennessee: Tombstone Made From Suicide Rock, Maybe

A heartbroken girl jumped to her death from a rocky bluff; her equally heartbroken boyfriend somehow ripped the rock from the ground, dragged it into town, and made it her tombstone. Or so the story goes.

Old City Cemetery

1001 4th Ave. S., Nashville, TN
South side of downtown. Old City Cemetery entrance is at the corner of US Hwy 31/4th Ave. S. and Oak St. Drive straight in for three blocks, and look for the rock topped by a small metal lantern.
Gates open dawn-dusk. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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Visitor Tips and News About Tombstone Made From Suicide Rock, Maybe

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

Suicide boulder grave.

Tombstone Made from Suicide Rock

I visited the grave in June and the lantern is no longer hanging above the rock. Not sure if it was stolen or removed on purpose. The black frame that held it is still in place.

[signmanjoe, 08/11/2018]

Suicide Boulder.

Tombstone Made From Suicide Rock, Maybe

The tombstone has weathered very well. It looks amazing, and the story, true or not, is interesting.

[cydav, 11/02/2015]

Boulder Tomb.

Boulder Tombstone

Mystery has surrounded this grave for over 150 years, a giant limestone boulder which has a rock engraving on it with the name Ann Rawlins Sanders 1815-1836.

The Legend was she committed suicide after a lovers' quarrel and her fiance brought the boulder to her grave, he added an iron lantern to the top which he would light at night because of her fear of the dark. The tale was retold and embellished and became history. I always heard she jumped off a rock on a cliff over the Cumberland River and the rock she jumped off was moved to the cemetery and became her monument. And the lantern was put there because she was afraid of the dark or so she could find her way back according to who was telling the tale.

The truth is she was a devout Presbyterian woman who married a Mr Charles H Sanders in 1832 and died four years later at the age of 21, her obituary says she died around midnight on March 30, 1836, doesn't state the cause of death but midnight does give you that romantic idea of someone jumping off a cliff at that time.

She was buried at the plot owned by a man named Edward Steele who was probably her brother-in-law. In 1902 a cemetery keeper there said that she isn't buried under the rock but in an embellished box nearby; they believe that a woman named Marion Steele is buried at the boulder which increases the mystery of why her name is on the boulder and the lantern on top.

[W C Carter, 02/05/2010]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Giant Nashville Guitar SignGiant Nashville Guitar Sign, Nashville, TN - < 1 mi.
Voice-O-Graph Booth: Cut Your Own RecordVoice-O-Graph Booth: Cut Your Own Record, Nashville, TN - < 1 mi.
Country Music Museum: Gaudy RelicsCountry Music Museum: Gaudy Relics, Nashville, TN - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Bell Witch Cave, Adams, TN - 35 mi.

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