A look at what Memorial Day will look like at Knoxville’s oldest cemetery


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Leaders at the Historic Ramsey House want to resume a Memorial Day tradition at Knox County’s oldest burial grounds this weekend.

It’s the Lebanon-in-the-Fork Cemetery; some of East Tennessee’s first residents and family members are buried there and many served in America’s first wars.

The cemetery is located where the Holston River and the French Broad River merge and make up the Tennessee River. Lebanon-in-the-Fork Presbyterian Church was founded in 1791 and the cemetery on the church’s property is affectionately called, by some history buffs, as the little-known lost history museum of East Tennessee.

Given the important historical and patriotic significance of Memorial Day, displaying the American flag shows respect and gratitude for loved ones who served in the military and gave their lives during war time.

Old Glory will fly proudly along Main Street in most East Tennessee communities this weekend.
But for years no flags have been displayed at this gravesite in East Knox County, where some of this area’s oldest veterans are buried.

The church was the first organized congregation in Knox County. The columns survived the fire and now form the pergola surrounding the salvaged steeple bell.

“Some many of the area leaders of this area and of the state in general are buried here. We have a lot of Revolutionary War soldiers,” said Jan Dickens, Ramsey House Education Chair.

Many of those buried at the cemetery have ties to the Ramsey family. The historic Ramsey House in East Knox County built in 1797 was known at the time as the finest home in Tennessee.

“Reynolds Ramsey was the father of Francis Ramsey who built Ramsey House and donated the property for the site. But Reynolds was in Pennsylvania and at Trenton during the Revolutionary War,” said Melissa Stowers.

A Ramsey descendant is Civil war veteran Dr. J. G.M. Ramsey Jr. If you want to help decorate the cemetery on Saturday — you are invited.

“Beginning at 10 a.m. we will have a program that will place flags on the graves of those who have served. And also tell a little about the history of Lebanon-in-the-Fork Presbyterian cemetery,” said Jan Dickens.

The cemetery is in East Knox County and it’s located on Asbury Road right across from where the French Board and the Holston Rivers come together and form the Tennessee River.

With about 50 or so gravesites, it won’t take too long on Saturday to decorate them with American Flags, they’ll have them for you at the site.

If you’re a history buff, it should be an enjoyable time beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

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