Tennessee Man Learns of Centuries-Old Hidden Cemetery Right Next to His Home

The Caruthers Cemetery

"To me, these were forgotten people," Kenneth Sawyer told WSMV. "I thought this was my chance to make these people no longer forgotten. As long as I'm living here, this cemetery will be taken care of."

A Tennessee man made an unexpected discovery when he learned that he lives next door to a cemetery dating back to the 1800s. After Kenneth Sawyer moved to Murfreesboro last year, he was planning to build a carport in his backyard, but he got a call from the city telling him he shared a backyard with a graveyard.

"They said, 'make sure you keep it five feet from the cemetery,'" Sawyer told WSMV. "I was like, 'from the what!?' I just embraced it as something kinda cool."

The area was so grown over with grass and shrub, making it difficult to see the headstones that lay beneath. 

Sawyer thought living next to a graveyard would make for the "perfect neighbors." He joked that there wouldn't be any concern about loud parties.

"I recently discovered that there is a[n] abandoned cemetery near my home," Sawyer wrote on a GoFundMe he created to raise money to clean up the land. The fundraiser has already garnered nearly $3,000 of its $5,000 goal.

There are about five to eight people buried on the plot of land. Sawyer says they are the decendents of the first settlers of Tennessee. The New England Historic Cemetery Restoration Project is working with Sawyer to help with restoring the cemetery. 

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