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What happened to Jasper Smith?

December 12, 2011

Columns Sunrise

2011 has been a truly wonderful year for the Virginia B. McGehee Youth Education Program at Elmwood. An unprecedented number of school-age children visited the cemetery. You might wonder why we at Elmwood believe it's a good idea to bring children through the cemetery, but the answer is very simple: so that they can learn what they all have in common through the regional history they share.

There are so many unique stories to be learned on a tour of Elmwood. They make a lasting impression on our young tourists. For example, the story of Jasper Smith is one that inspires the imaginations of all children (and adults). Earlier this year, St. Dominic School visited Elmwood for a tour and they heard the story of Jasper Smith, the gentleman who went missing one night in 1899, reportedly with pockets full of gold.

Once the children returned to their classroom, they discussed the story of Jasper Smith. They decided they would put together a collection of stories that might end the great Jasper Smith mystery. Here are some samples of what they imagine happened:

1. "Jasper Smith was a time traveler. He could walk into mirrors and travel back and forth in time. He traveled back from the future to Memphis in 1819. He kind of liked Memphis at this time because he had a lot of ideas of ways to help Memphis."

2. "Jasper Smith was on Whiskey Alley at a bar called Whiskey Shoot. When he left he was terribly drunk! So he kissed someone's wife and POW! He got smacked so hard he went flying through the bar and out the door."

3. "He decided to rent aboat and float down the Mississippi River to New Orleans without his horse and buggy. The boat hit a log, broke to pieces, and Jasper drowned in the mighty, muddy Mississippi." 

The staff and volunteers who lead the history tours of the cemetery grounds are always excited to inspire the creativity of our city's youngest citizens. If you are a teacher and would like to bring your class to Elmwood, please know that we would love to have you! Contact cookie [at] elmwoodcemetery [dot] org to register for a tour.  

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