Plans to clean up the Benevolent Cemetery are on hold at this time. Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold previously told WGNS that he intended to use inmate labor to help clear debris and growth from the overgrown and heavily littered cemetery that dates back to the 1800’s. The cemetery is next to the CSX railroad tracks beneath the bridge on South Church Street near Middle Tennessee Boulevard in Murfreesboro.
In 2011, the discussion of using inmate labor to clean the property came up, but nothing was ever decided. That is now being looked into for a second time.
The question was asked who oversees the property and WGNS learned that evidently it was deeded to Allen Chapel AME Church in 1988. Prior to that, it was used as a pauper's cemetery. Homeless persons currently have tents on gravestones throughout the site (as seen on WGNSradio.com).
*The definition of a pauper is “a very poor person.” The term pauper’s cemetery is a grave site for those who cannot afford to be buried in a commercial type cemetery.
Below is a picture of a tent in the graveyard. Notice the headstones next to the dog in the photo.
Hear the entire interview with Sheriff Arnold on WGNS (podcast):