Old Live Oak Cemetery

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Bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest in Old Live Oak Cemetery.

Old Live Oak Cemetery with the newer portion sometimes called New Live Oak Cemetery and collectively Live Oak Cemetery, is an historic cemetery in Selma, Alabama, founded in 1829 and expanded in 1877. It contains a variety of famous burials and a number of Confederate States of America-connected features. The site is at 110 Dallas Avenue approximately 0.7 miles west of downtown Selma.[1]

Famous burials[edit]

Confederate Circle[edit]

The graves of soldiers are to the south of the Confederate Soldier Monument[4][5] with cannons pointing north,[6] forever protecting the deceased Confederates.[7][8] Elodie Todd Dawson, buried nearby, was head of the Ladies Memorial Association (later the United Daughters of the Confederacy) and spearheaded the effort to build the $5,500 Confederate Monument in the cemetery. 155 soldier bodies were moved from elsewhere to be around the monument.[9][10][11][12]

Other Confederate monuments[edit]

  • Jefferson Davis Memorial Chair unusually in the form of a carved stone chair[6][13]
  • Forrest Memorial (2000) inscribed in part "Defender of Selma, Wizard of the Saddle, Untutored Genius, The First with the Most, This Monument stands as a testament of our perpetual devotion and respect for Lt Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest ... One of the South's finest heroes." [14]

Elodie Todd Dawson Monument[edit]

The Elodie Todd Dawson Monument marks the graves of Elodie Todd Dawson (April 1, 1844-NOv 14, 1881) and her husband Confederate Brig. General Nathaniel H. R. Dawson (1829-1895). Elodie Todd Dawson was the half-sister of Mary Todd Lincoln the wife of President Abraham Lincoln. Her parents were Robert Smith Todd (1791 - 1849) and Elizabeth L Humphreys Todd (1800 - 1874) and she had 17 full or half siblings.[12] Elodie Dawson was a staunch Confederate supporter who spearheaded the effort to erect the Confederate Soldier Monument.

After his wife's death, Col. Dawson ordered the sculpture of his wife from Italy, but when it arrived he was dissatisfied with the hair which he judged to be less beautiful than his wife's hair, so he sent the statute back to Italy for a rework. In addition to the much photographed sculpture, Col. Dawson procured many of the magnolia and live oak trees in the cemetery from Mobile in 1879.

After the war Dawson was appointed U.S. Commissioner of Education, the first from Alabama. Dawson also served as a member of the Alabama legislature which included serving as Speaker of the House. He was an organizer in the Democratic Party. Dawson was considered a leading citizen of Selma who raised money for Selma's Charity Hospital and Dallas Academy. He was a church leader at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, where his funeral was held.[11][15]

In 2015, the Elodie Todd Dawson sculpture was named one of Alabama's "most photographed cemetery monuments".[15]

The Pigeon House[edit]

A structure also called the Spring House for when it was used, sits near the Confederate Soldier Monument. The unusual name arises from the gables that were designed as bird houses, since closed to preserve the structure. The building was used for Confederate Memorial Day band concerts and programs each Spring. It is now used for storage.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Live Oak Cemetery (Selma) - Alabama Birding Trails". Alabamabirdingtrails.com. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  2. ^ "American Slavery, Civil Records". Archives.gov. 15 August 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Photographic image" (JPG). Civilwaralbum.com. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  4. ^ "Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, Alabama". Civilwaralbum.com. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Photographic image" (JPG). Civilwaralbum.com. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  6. ^ a b "Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, Alabama". Civilwaralbum.com. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, Alabama". Civilwaralbum.com. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  8. ^ "Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, Alabama". Civilwaralbum.com. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, Alabama". Civilwaralbum.com. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  10. ^ ""Ghost" of Elodie Todd Dawson". selmaala.blogspot.ca. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Elodie Todd Dawson Monument in Selma's Old Live Oak Cemetery". Ruralswalabama.org. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Elodie Breck Todd Dawson (1840 - 1877) - Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Photographic image" (JPG). Civilwaralbum.com. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  14. ^ "Photographic image" (JPG). Civilwaralbum.com. Retrieved 2017-08-20.
  15. ^ a b "13 of Alabama's most photographed cemetery monuments". Al.com. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  16. ^ http://www.civilwaralbum.com/misc15/selma_cem8.htm

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°24′19″N 87°01′55″W / 32.40531°N 87.03203°W / 32.40531; -87.03203