Headstones at Lawrenceburg cemetery damaged in EF-1 tornado

Trees barely miss U.S. Senator Fred Thompson's grave
Posted at 4:00 PM, Feb 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-07 20:00:08-05

LAWRENCEBURG, Tenn. (WTVF) — The EF-1 tornado that hit Lawrence County did not just affect homes and city buildings. It also damaged what many consider sacred ground at Mimosa Cemetery.

Jennifer May was driving on East Gaines Street when she noticed two large and old oak trees at the cemetery were not in plain sight. The tornado on Wednesday knocked down the trees at the cemetery and landed on top of several headstones.

"Walking through here and seeing this breaks my heart because these are loved ones," May told NewsChannel 5.

Mimosa Cemetery is a place she likes to walk to relax and find peace. It was established in 1897 and is the second oldest cemetery in Lawrenceburg.

The cemetery is also where actor and U.S. Senator Fred Thompson was buried in 2015. One of the trees barely missed Thompson's headstone. "It hit me that Senator Thompson is buried here with his family. I went over to his grave site and luckily his grave is barely missed," May said.

City Administrator Chris Shaffer said the exact number of damaged headstones is unclear until the trees are cleared. Crews have been working nonstop since Wednesday and will likely reach the cemetery on the latter part of the cleanup process since the cemetery is narrow and more equipment is needed to cut the large trees.

Shaffer said the city will do what it can to restore the headstones.

Lawrence County EMA Director Joe Baxter asks residents to stay patient as crews are working fast to complete cleaning up.