By: Nick Kieser
Here on the Volunteer State Community College campus on Oct.23 Thigpen Library hosted a lecture on grave-robbing in America.
The speaker Jennifer Weedman, who is a former Merrol Hyde Librarian, spoke on the matter of this part of American history.
“I loved it and when I got in front of the crowd and started talking about this information I love so much it was fun. I just wanted to share my stories,” said Weedman.
Students and professors in attendance listened tediously to the individual stories that Weedman told to the audience.
“We found it to be an interesting topic approaching Halloween. I think students who came understood how things were back then, and hearing that people hired others to go rob graves,” said Vincent.
Part of the presentation mentioned the men who were involved with digging up these graves. The mentioned and documented names in history are, Simon Kracht, Chris Baker, Bill Gunter, and Hampton West.
Most of these men according to Weedman were substance abusers of all kinds. In addition to that, she brought up how West was the scariest of them all and that he was even a bodyguard to Confederate General Stonewall Jackson.
“I am most definitely interested in things like this because I absolutely love history and scary stories. I wanted to hear the history behind this because I am unaware of it. The stories she told kept me on my toes,” said student Autumn Edwards.
Weedman is a part-time librarian in Thigpen and she is also in the process of writing a book on the things she has uncovered and wants to share with the world.
“I saw a picture of a man named Bud Rogan. He was a Gallatin man who lived from 1869-1905 and was the fourth tallest man in the United States. Bud is buried in the front yard of the family household, and had concrete poured over him so Vanderbilt couldn’t get to him,” said Weedman.
According to Weedman, Rogan was wanted by the doctors of Vanderbilt because they wanted to understand how a man could be the height that Rogan was when he was alive.
“There is no way I would donate my body. I want to be cremated after all that I have learned. It’s a wonderful thing if someone wants to, but I couldn’t do it,” said Weedman.
“Absolutely! In fact, this is going to help me with my book. Now I know what is good to share and what is not. There are so many stories that I couldn’t even get to that it would surprise you,” said Weedman.