In a corner of the cemetery is a monument to General Sevier, future governor of Tennessee, who killed about 120 Cherokees on or near the site of the cemetery in 1793. The encounter was the end of an almost unbelievable chain of events that began with an unauthorized U.S. Military raid on a treaty negotiation where both whites and Cherokee were killed. Sevier had gotten a friend off of charges that he murdered a Cherokee during the raid, although the charge was well substantiated, and his arrest had been personally ordered by President George Washington. Ridge, a local Cherokee, and others retaliated with an attack on Knoxville and Sevier responded by raiding Head of Coosa, on the site of present-day Rome.
After "The Trail of Tears," the new city of Rome began discussing a cemetery and Thomas A. Alexander and Daniel S. Printup began a search. The hill, known for its crepe myrtle trees, was an early candidate. The land was purchased from Shorter College founder Alfred Shorter. In 1857 the cemetery opened. The first grave, which is still standing, is no longer legible.
Ellen Axon Wilson, first wife of President Woodrow Wilson, a native of the city, is buried here. She is the only first lady to be buried in the state.
Perhaps the most unusual burial in the cemetery occurred after the First World War. Charles Graves, an infantryman in the American Expeditionary Force was killed near the French-German border in 1918. Selected at random, his body was to be buried in Arlington Cemetery beside the "Unknown Soldier." His mother had a different idea and had him buried in a small cemetery outside of Rome. After she died his body was disinterred and placed in Myrtle Hill. 34 magnolia trees were planted around the grave of the original "known soldier" to represent the 34 county residents who died during World War I.
Myrtle Hill is "layered" by the roads that circle the hill. At the top of the hill is a marble monument honoring the men of the Confederacy. Nearby is an arch identifying to cemetery. A number of African-American graves are located on the southwest side, dating to times when it was common for blacks and whites to be buried in separate cemeteries. Myrtle Hill is one of the seven hills that gave the city it's name.
Other Attractions in Rome
Chieftains Musuem / Major Ridge Home
Rome Area History Museum
The Martha Berry Museum
Noble Brothers Foundry
Marietta National Cemetery
Alta Vista (Altavista) Cemetery
Marietta Confederate Cemetery
Jonesboro Confederate Cemetery
Dalton Cemetery (West Hill)
Christ Church (Christ Episcopal Church)