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Elmwood's Elvis Connections

August 14, 2014

Mary Jenkins Langston

By Kelly Sowell, Elmwood Historian

Most people know that Elvis is not buried here at Elmwood Cemetery. He was originally interred at Forest Hill Cemetery and was later moved to Graceland. Elmwood however does have some ties to Elvis and Graceland. Most people don’t know that the woman for whom Graceland is named, Grace Toof, is buried here at Elmwood. She was the daughter of S. C. Toof, who owned the local printing firm, S. C. Toof & Co, which is still operating today as Toof Commercial Printing. He owned the land that the Graceland mansion now sits on. Under his ownership it was just a farm. His daughter Grace inherited the land when he passed away in 1894. When she died the land went to her sister, Ruth Toof Brown, and then to her daughter, Ruth Brown Moore. Moore and her husband built a colonial mansion in 1939. It was her niece, Ruth Brown Moore that decided to name the house and grounds “Graceland” in memory of her beloved aunt.

Elvis’ cook, Mary Jenkins Langston, is also interred here. Mary is the one pictured in this post. She started as a maid for the for the Presley family in 1963 and several years later Priscilla promoted her to cook. She cooked for him for 14 years and stayed on with the Presley family for 12 years after he died. She mastered cooking his famed favorite snack, fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. The secret to getting them just right was apparently butter, as with many foods Elvis enjoyed. Langston said she used about a 2/3 cup of butter per sandwich. She was so appreciated by the Presley family that Elvis bought her a house. He even bought her 3 Cadillacs in her time working for him.

Visit Elmwood Cemetery during Elvis Week and we’ll be glad to show you Elmwood’s “Elvis connections”.

Mary Jenkins Langston
Grace Toof

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