‘Nashville Train Wreck’ holds graveside recognition

Family and community members join Pastor Enoch Fuzz at Mt. Ararat Burial site for 70 of the colored victims of the worst train wreck in Nashville history. (photo by Wanda Clay)

On July 9, 1918, 121 people were killed in the worst train wreck in history in Nashville, Tenn. These unknown, unidentified, unsung heroic volunteers perished on their way to Nashville to help America win WWI. And on July 8, family members and other community members joined Rev. Enoch Fuzz, Betsy Thorpe, and others at the Mt. Ararat burial site for 70 of the colored victims.

“The people buried in the Mt Ararat cemetery off Elm Hill Pike will have a fitting funeral because they deserve this,” said Betsy Thorpe, organizer of this memorial service. “This will forever bring to life the remembrance of heroes unknown by their name but their deeds eternally.”

Thorpe is the author of a book that depicts the horror of that day when so many great people died.

“These people came from every walk of life,” Thorpe said, “devout clergy, suave businessmen, community and church leaders and others.”

The memorial ceremony consisted of comments from Councilwoman Erika Gilmore, Councilman Jim Schuler, and others—with spiritual songs sung prior to a sermon by Rev. Enoch Fuzz of Corinthian Baptist Church.

“I appreciate Betsy lifting up the history, a very rich history, as we lift up these people,” said Councilwoman Gilmore.

“So often history is not corrected.”

“With all of the growth and development here in the city, we can lose a lot of our history. It is important to take a step back and remember that we have a wealth of history, and a lot of important things happened that are not always recognized,” said Councilman Schuler. He said we should have more historical memories uplifted.

Rev. Fuzz began by saying that the people would have probably known the 23 Psalm as he spoke about ‘The Good Shepherd.’ He said the victims “were good people for a good shepherd.”

Rev. Fuzz committed them, saying: “Their names may be unknown, but their deeds will live on. We commit their bodies to the ground, ashes to ashes and rest in peace.”

A wreath was dedicated to honor the people who had no flowers to honor their graves.