January 21, 2022

Visiting A Cemetery Finds a Story or Two


Susan Reichert

There are many cemeteries that are historic in every state, and I dare say most date back before the state became a state.

So why am I writing about cemeteries? Well, to let you know, (in case you don’t) there are many stories that would fill volumes of books in each one of them.

You don’t have to be a relative to find the stories. But I dare say, as an author you would find a great many stories to write about.

Look at historic Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, TN. Established in about 1852, it was one of the first rural garden cemeteries in the South. A funeral scene in Paramount’s 1993 legal thriller (book written by John Grisham) The Firm was filmed in this cemetery.

Can you imagine the stories that can be created using this cemetery as a setting? Even as a character?

Beneath ancient elms, oaks, and magnolia trees you will find the famous and infamous, those who were loved and feared. You will find veterans of every American war, including the Revolutionary War. There are generals, governors, mayors and madams, side-by-side.

All you need do is choose a character, do your research, decide your plot, and begin your story.

As you walk through these cemeteries, you will find your mind reacting to the places. Perhaps characters will pop into your head, and they will begin leading you to write their stories. No doubt, you may wind up with many stories to write.

Laura Bullion, female Old West outlaw is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery, Memphis, TN. In this cemetery there are many musicians buried here.

The American Cemetery in Louisiana’s claim to fame claim to fame is that it’s where Julia Robert’s character was buried in the 1989 film, Steel Magnolias.

Authors obviously find it interesting to include cemeteries in their stories and the movie producers shoot the cemeteries in their films.

I even wrote a short story for an anthology book and set it in a cemetery.

Look around your towns, what do you have that is very old, and has a history to it? Do your research, and in the process, you too may just find “your Elmwood” full of stories. Who knows, you might just find your next series waiting for you there.

Happy Writing!

Susan Reichert, author of Listen Close, Between Me and You, God’s Prayer Power and Storms in Life. Published numerous magazine articles and stories in 9 anthology books. Speaker at writing conferences, seminars, and libraries.

She is the founder of Southern Author Services, and Editor of Suite T. She is the retired Editor-in-Chief of Southern Writers Magazine. Reichert has a passion for writing about God in devotionals, prayers, and inspirational works.

She and her husband live in Tennessee. They have four grown daughters with families of their own. Susan is a member of the DAR and a member of the First Families of Mississippi

Visit Susan at:,, , Amazon -


  1. I share your notion of the creative possibilities that can be sparked by a simple stroll through a cemetary. I think the most impressive I have visited is Pere Lachaise, in Paris, where in one day I visited Balzac, Proust, Colette, and Oscar Wilde, among many others.
    Thanks, always, Susan, for feeding the author brain.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Great names to visit.

  2. I set my Justice Betrayed, my third Memphis Cold Case book at Elmwood Cemetery. I would love to take their Halloween night tour.

    1. I think that would be a most interesting tour.
      Bet you could gather a few stories there.

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