Image courtesy of Shelby County Register of Deeds
An aerial view of Barret’s Chapel Cemetery
I’ve never met Tom Leatherwood, the Register of Deeds for Shelby County, and that’s a shame because it’s obvious that the man (or somebody on his staff, at least) is a history buff.
Now normally, you go to the Register of Deeds website to look up records of births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and other legal documents. But over the years, Mr. Leatherwood has supplemented these important resources with an astonishing array of photographs, books, and other documents of great interest to local historians.
For example, you can find photos of old Shelby County schools, listen to transcripts of the courtroom trial of James Earl Ray, pore through pages and pages of city directories from the late 1880s to the mid-1940s, and so much more. Heck, you can even look over the “Shelby County Milk Supply Reports, 1920-1958” or read the journal entries of the time that Hugo Dixon (of The Dixon Gallery and Gardens) was in a prisoner-of-war camp during World War II.
But now, you can even “fly over” every cemetery in Shelby County, large and small, because somebody has taken the trouble to add these images to the Register’s website. I have to admit that I wasn’t familiar with all of these burial grounds. Who knew there was a graveyard called “Holly Hills Country Club Cemetery,” for example? But now that I’ve seen these places from the air, I plan to hop in my Auto-Gyro and visit each and every one of them, just to see what interesting gravestones can be found in them.
And believe me, an aerial view of a graveyard is much better than seeing it from the opposite direction.
Go here to explore all that Tom Leatherwood and his hard-working staff have to offer. And on behalf of all the historians in Shelby County, I say THANK YOU, TOM.