published Sunday, April 26th, 2009

Cemetery history

Fun Facts about the lives of some of those buried in Forest Hills Cemetery


by Elizabeth Ryan
  • photo
    Staff Photo by Angela Lewis Marilee Chase, left, Joann Sifontes, center, and David Watson walk through Forest Hills Cemetery during the second annual history stroll on Saturday. The trio were history majors at Southern Adventist University, and volunteered to dress up for the event.

Joe Engel, owner and promoter of the Chattanooga Lookouts who died in 1969, was known as “The King of Minor League.” To boost ticket sales during the Great Depression, he raffled off a house in 1931, a stunt that drew 24,000 spectators.

Nellie Kenyon, reporter for the Chattanooga News who died in 1982, covered the Scopes Monkey Trial, interviewed Al Capone and reported on Jimmy Hoffa’s trial in Nashville. Hoffa reportedly told her that if there was a Pulitzer Prize for persistence, she would win it.

Virne Beatrice “Jackie” Mitchell, who died in 1982, was the first professional female baseball player. A pitcher with the Chattanooga Lookouts, she was only 17 when she struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in succession during a 1931 exhibition game.

Randolph Gordon Miller, a syndicated columnist and publisher of the Chattanooga Blade newspaper, died in 1916. Born into slavery, he received the name “Miller” from his owner. With the encouragement of Adolph Ochs, owner of the New York Times and the Chattanooga Times, Miller started the Chattanooga Blade in 1896.

Firefighter William “Mat” Peak, died while fighting the “Bee Hive” store fire on June 9,1887. As one of the city’s first firefighters to die in the line of duty, he and colleague J.H. Iler are honored by the firefighter fountain near the Courthouse on Georgia Avenue.

Ruby Lambert is the namesake of Ruby Falls who died in 1951. Her husband Leo Lambert discovered the underground falls on Dec. 30, 1928 after spelunking 18 hours through the darkness.

Grace Moore, a world-renowned opera singer and actress who died in 1947, attracted Hollywood stars to her burial at Forest Hills cemetery following her death in a plane crash in Copenhagen.

  • Cemetery Tour
    Watch the dead come to life in a cemetery tour featuring famous Chattanoogans.
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KWVeteran said...

It was a beautiful day and a great event. The interment ones must have enjoyed it, also. Life is so fleeting and soon we will join those. Thanks to all of you who took part in the history stroll!

April 26, 2009 at 8:36 a.m.
jefm464 said...

It's always nice to see a relative in the news !!!! Good Job Lamar !!!

April 27, 2009 at 9:55 a.m.
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