On This Date, Something Happened: Bettis Family Cemetery

Posted by Holly Whitfield | April 7th 2011 1552 2

Behind the Piggly Wiggly (er, excuse me, the Cash Saver Cost Plus Food Outlet) on Madison, there’s a small grassy lot with a historical marker.

Bettis Family Cemetery, Memphis, Tenn.

It’s not just an empty lot – it’s the Bettis Family Cemetery. The marker reads:

“Here was the farm of the Tillman Bettis family, the second to settle on the Memphis bluff after the 1818 treaty, even before the town was laid off. Mary Bettis was the first child born in the new settlement.”

Bettis Family Cemetery marker, Memphis, Tenn.

Long before the grocery store, the plot of land at the corner of Madison and Belvedere was the Bettis family land. All that’s left now is the small plot of land that served as the family burial ground.

As far as cemeteries go, it’s not too exciting – there are no headstones or markers, just grass, weeds and a huge tree.

Go There:

Bettis Family Cemetery

Angelus St., north of Madison behind the Cash Saver Cost Plus Food Outlet


Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

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  1. Stefanie says:

    Actually, there are some markers behind that half brick wall near the grocery store. The dates are in the 1800s.

  2. Deby says:

    Wow! That’s amazing! I live like two blocks from there – and had never noticed. My hubby said he had noticed a fenced off area – but didn’t know there was a historical marker. You amaze me every day!
    Thanks!!

  3. Jonathan says:

    Awesome. Keep this stuff coming.

  4. Sophie says:

    The last time I visited, I got really spooked. Placed specifically infront of a headstone, looking like the feet of the stone, was a pair of shoes. Not just any shoes, but a style of black shoes that were popular way back in history. Just sitting there. “Someone threw those out” you say. “I’m sure a homeless guy forgot them” you say. But friends, i’ve never seen someone discard shoes so carefuly, and when was the last time you saw a needy person get rid of shoes. Never, I say.

  5. Susie B. says:

    You might try contacting Russ at memphishistory.org for more information on this.
    He’s the best.

  6. Howard says:

    I was just looking at that historical marker the other day and thinking what a forgotten (and kinda sad) place the Bettis Cemetery is now. How nice that you’ve called a little more attention to it. I’d like to think that those souls like to be thought of occasionally.

  7. MD says:

    I’ve learned the farm stretched as far as Cooper and down to Union. Another interesting tidbit I found from historicaerials.com. If you select the image from 1958, you’ll see a vast property that looks like a huge church or school that spans the area from Poplar to Madison. Does anyone know what was there before the store or Home Depot?

  8. Running water says:

    But there are markers and head stones

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