Gravesite of former Memphis mayor vandalized - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Gravesite of former Memphis mayor vandalized

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The Raleigh Community Council has been integral in the old cemetery's recent resurrection. The Raleigh Community Council has been integral in the old cemetery's recent resurrection.
The remains of Memphis' second mayor, Isaac Rawlings, lie in the restored Raleigh Cemetery. The remains of Memphis' second mayor, Isaac Rawlings, lie in the restored Raleigh Cemetery.
Local historian Dale Schaefer leads tours of this and other cemeteries. Local historian Dale Schaefer leads tours of this and other cemeteries.
Scrap metal thieves are suspected of stealing more than half of the wrought iron fence surrounding the Rawling family plot. Scrap metal thieves are suspected of stealing more than half of the wrought iron fence surrounding the Rawling family plot.

(WMC-TV) – Beneath the mature trees in the restored Raleigh Cemetery lie the remains of Memphis' second mayor, Isaac Rawlings.

"He said in his will he wanted to be buried out in the country," said local historian Dale Schaefer.

Schaefer leads tours of this and other cemeteries.

"Isaac was actually in Memphis before Memphis was here," said Schaefer.  "He came here in 1813."

Rawlings died in 1840 and may be turning over these days.  The passing decades damaged his actual marble grave marker.  But scrap metal thieves are suspected of stealing more than half of the wrought iron fence surrounding his family's plot.

"It was a shock when I came out here and saw what was missing," said Raleigh Community Council VP Kevin Brooks.

The Raleigh Community Council has been integral in the old cemetery's recent resurrection.

"Coming out here and doing all this work and seeing this, it's just absolutely terrible," said Woods.

The iron fence was installed after the former mayor was long gone.  However, it is estimated to be more than a century old.

"I realize they get money for it and probably need the money, but these are irreplaceable historic artifacts out here," said Schaefer.

It's also the final resting places of a former mayor and many other early Memphis and Shelby County families.

Call Crime-Stoppers at 901-528-CASH with any information on the cemetery vandalism.

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