Mark Maddox portrayed The Man Who Was Lynched, also known as the Man With No Name, during the annual Cemetery Walk in Dresden
The 12th annual Cemetery Walk, whichseems to be a community favorite of the annual Tennessee Iris Festival, was held Sunday evening at the Sunset Cemetery in Dresden. “It’s All in a Name” was this year’s theme for the Cemetery Walk and Dresden residents had the chance to learn about many characters of the past with interesting names.
The Cemetery Walk began in “Dromgoole Corner” with the Honorable John Easter Dromgoole as portrayed by Joseph Atnip. Dromgoole lived from about 1803 to 1887.
Dromgoole served as the mayor of Murfreesboro before and during the Civil War. During the war, he earned notoriety by refusing to surrender the city of Murfreesboro to the Union Army. After the war, Dromgoole practiced law and was elected as a delegate to the Tennessee State Constitutional Convention of 1870.
Dromgoole had many children and grandchildren, including a granddaughter, Jean Faircloth, who married Sir Douglas MacArthur, a WestPoint graduate who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Dromgoole’s youngest daughter was William Anne, who later had her name changed to Will Allen. She was considered Dromgoole’s favorite daughter, and would hunt, fish, and even study law with Dromgoole. Will Allen was the first woman to join the United States Navy, and she was also one of the most popular authors of the 20th Century.
Her most popular work was a poem titled “The Bridge Builder,” which is recited during various Boy Scouts of America ceremonies. It is also inscribed on many bridges in the United States.
Nannie Drewry “Cat Lady,” 1853-1951, was portrayed by Kate Moore. Drewry was known to wear out-of-date, yet elegant, clothing to church. Drewry was close to her father, and she never married after he passed away.
Since Drewry had no prior work experience before her father’s death, she was terribly poor. Judge Ellis purchased the house and allowed her to stay there until her death in 1951. She allowed many cats and chickens to roam throughout the house and property, and was even known to knock out a few window panes so the cats could easily climb into the house.
Drewry was a favorite among the little girls who would visit. They would play with the cats, have tea, work on manners, and even accompany her to the movies every Saturday.
Rosamond Hawley Maiden, 1850-1928, was portrayed by Cynthia Jones. Maiden was born in Camden and she later moved to Virginia after she married. Maiden had 11 children, five of whom died in childbirth.
In 1941, Maiden’s son, Selden, decided to deed the family land to the City of Dresden for $1. In that deed, the City of Dresden was required to create a public park or playground on the land, and then name the park Rosamond Maiden Park.
Judge Henry Leake Hill, 1856-1933, was portrayed by Beau Pemberton. Hill was a timber cutter who was born in the Shenandoah Hills in Virginia. Hill served as the Weakley County Judge for 24 years, and he helped with the expansion of roads, schools, and other entities during that time.
Hill was known to be a conservative judge. Growing up, he would use the dirt from the bottom of the smokehouse for salt, and he also used ground-up sweet potatoes for coffee.
“We need to go back to a simpler way of life, and be thankful for what we have,” Hill, as portrayed by Pemberton, said.
Landon Erie “Lake Erie” Holliday, 1874-1930, was portrayed by Jake Bynum. Holliday, known as “Lake Erie” by his friends, was an attorney, Scottish Rite Mason, and a Shriner. Holliday was known to be a man of God, first and foremost.
He was known to have an extensive mind, and was a profound scholar. He was like a modern-day Public Defender, and would take on many cases for those who couldn’t afford representation. He was also known to take on cases in order to make a living, including taking a position to represent the Cotton State Bridge Company of West Tennessee.
On Sept. 7, 1930, Holliday passed away. It is said that his popularity was exhibited by the many floral arrangements at the funeral, and there were numerous prominent men of West Tennessee in attendance.
Holliday was most proud of his son, Richard, who graduated from the Cumberland School of Law in Lebanon in only four and a half months, which is still a record to this day.
The Man Who Was Lynched, also known as the Man With No Name, was portrayed by Mark Maddox. The man worked for Andrew Jackson Swaim at a sawmill. Swaim fired the man one day, and the feud went on for days.
A few days before Halloween, the man went over to the office and offered a peace offering of a jug of whiskey to Swaim. Swaim drank the whiskey, which had been poisoned with arsenic, and died a painful death.
The man left the county. Upon returning a few years later, the Sheriff arrested him. The Swaim brothers broke him out from jail, and then they took him to the cemetery where they commenced to lynch him.
According to the man, people are buried East and West so that when Jesus breaks the Eastern Sky on his way back, they can see him. The brothers buried him North and South.
“If you’re headed in the wrong direction, maybe you can get turned around, too,” the Man With No Name, as portrayed by Mark Maddox, said.
This year’s Cemetery Walk was sponsored by the Bowlin Funeral Home, and was in remembrance of the late Gov. Ned Ray McWherter.
Editor’s note: Mary Jean Hall is a University of Tennessee at Martin communications major.