Memphis Memorial - Wednesday's Child


On a warm August afternoon, I went looking in Rose Hill Cemetery for a landmark connected to a piece of its troubled history. Just as I did on those searches for the grave of Charlie Burse, I slowly crisscrossed the sixteen acre burial ground looking for a marker for Dorothy Daniels. On a cold day in February 1994, three bodies were dumped under the newly dug grave of Mrs. Daniels, most likely still alive, according to the coroner. The murders were a call to action for local pastors, including Leonard Dawson of Cane Creek Missionary Baptist Church. In researching the history of Rose Hill I found the stories of the murders and a cleanup of the cemetery led by Pastor Dawson. I began searching for him in hopes he knew of some records that would help me locate the final resting place of jug band musician and singer Burse. Just as my search did not turn up the location of Burse’s grave, neither did my search for Dorothy Daniels, whose remains were disinterred to reveal the murder victims underneath her casket, but I assumed were reburied in place.

It was a cold day in February 1951, but the Jacksons were elated to bring their little girl home. The house on Cella Street in South Memphis was cozy and warm. Little Bobbie’s cries filled the house with joy. Samuel and Bessie cared for their child with pride and the baby grew as quickly as spring, summer, and then fall flew by. But as fast as those seasons passed, so did their daughter’s health. The house in South Memphis turned cold and drafty. As Bobbie grew sicker, the old rhyme rang true – “Wednesday’s child is full of woe.” I have lost family and friends – we all have – but one thing I cannot fathom is the loss of a child. Delois Anderson died with her son Marcellos in February 1994. Their friend Frederick Tucker had a brother who was also murdered that year, leaving their Mother to grieve two sons. In November 1951, the Jacksons brought their baby daughter to John Gaston Hospital, but it was too late. Not only could the doctors not help, they were not even sure why it was, on another cold day in Memphis, that Baby Bobbie Jackson passed away, leaving another South Memphis Mother to mourn. I was unable to find further records on the Jacksons, but their baby and was laid to rest in that shady spot on the south side of Rose Hill Cemetery.

 How did i get here? 

In my journeys over the last three years, both physical and personal/internal, I have discovered Memphis and a drive to create. This site will display my goals to informally promote and tell stories about Memphis and the surrounding areas - music, culture, history - through my observations, photography, and telling the stories of people I meet along the way.

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© 2016 by Wil Little Pitcher