Saturday, January 1, 2011
The graveyard surrounding Trinity Church had served as the town cemetery since 1760, even for those who were not Episcopalian. With the Trinity Church cemetery full a hundred years later, the town purchased acreage at the far western extreme of Beverley Street for use as a new community cemetery. The first burial took place in 1853. Tourist brochures will tell you that 1,700 civil war soldiers are buried there, that T.J. Collins designed magnificent tombs, a bridge, gatehouse --- blah, blah, blah.
None of that stuff is as interesting as the stories about the less than famous interred there. For years a circus band entered the cemetery and played at the grave of Eva Clark, a trapeze artist who was shot when caught up in a love triangle. Thornrose is also the final resting place of a female Confederate spy, a Charlottesville madam and a twice widowed woman recently buried between her two husbands; before her death in 1988 she would go to the cemetery each day and read the newspaper out loud to her husbands.