Headstone Dedication for London & Salley

"May these headstones bear witness to their lives, of Salley and London, and the hundreds of others buried here who like them were born in slavery and knew no freedom on this earth, for they only knew freedom after crossing the River Jordan."

- Mark Brown, Executive Director, Belmont Mansion

On Tuesday. May 2nd, together with the Nashville City Cemetery Association, Belmont Mansion Association dedicated headstones for two formerly enslaved residents of Nashville: London & Salley.

London & Salley were enslaved people working on the Acklen estates: London at the city home in downtown Nashville, and Salley at the country estate Belmont Mansion. While records of enslaved people at Belmont Mansion are sparse, we were able to discover London and Salley through the records of the Nashville City Cemetery, were they were buried upon their deaths in 1850 and 1862, respectively. Their modest headstones had been ruined by years of the elements and Belmont Mansion Association was honored to memorialize their lives through the dedication of new headstones.

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Belmont Blvd & Acklen Avenue 

Nashville, TN 37212


1900 Belmont Blvd

Nashville, TN 37212


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The architecture of Belmont Mansion makes it one of the most significant homes of 19th century Tennessee.

Sold by the Acklen family in 1887, the house went to a developer who began one of Nashville’s early suburbs.

It was then purchased by two women who in 1890 started a college which evolved into Belmont University. Today the Belmont Mansion Association, which was formed in 1972, owns the collection, runs the museum, and shares this unique story of 19th century Nashville with visitors from far and near.

Photos by Ed Houk