Road trip to Chattanooga: Unmarked graves & Lookouts

With it being Spring Break, the family decided on a short trip to Chattanooga for a little fun, cemetery searching and minor league baseball. I’d been there once before and found a few graves at the Chattanooga National Cemetery, but rain kept me from exploring any further. This week, the weather was perfect.

Though I only had a few hours, I found 11 ballplayer graves in three cemeteries. There were the Johnston Brothers, Jimmy and Doc. There was one-game wonder Roy Wright. I spent the majority of my time at Forest Hills Cemetery, a beautiful graveyard that opened in 1880. Probably the most well-known MLB player there is Joe Engel, who pitched for a few different teams in the 1910s. He made most of his fame in the minor leagues as the president of the Chattanooga Lookouts. From what I’ve read so far, he sounds like a Bill Veeck-type promoter who once famously signed Jackie Mitchell, the high school girl who once struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game. I’m looking forward to researching his life in greater detail.

Mitchell is also buried at Forest Hills, and the online coordinates for her grave were way, WAY off. Thank you to whoever left a baseball on her grave, because that was the only way I would have found it! Naturally at old cemeteries, I came across a couple of unmarked graves. I did the best I could photographing either of the spots where Pat Dillard lies. Tom Ford took the longest time to locate, because his online coordinates pointed to a different Tom Ford, who was also buried in an unmarked grave. But after about a half hour of searching, I found him and decided to leave a baseball as an impromptu grave marker. It won’t last forever, but hopefully Mr. Ford, wherever he is, knows he’s not forgotten. You can see my admittedly lousy writing at the top of this post.

When you’re dealing with rows after rows of flat graves, a baseball makes a very useful landmark. Thank you, unknown cemetery explorer.

At the end of the day, there was one more baseball-related item left on the to-do list: the first minor-league game of the year! The Chattanooga Lookouts took on the Montgomery Biscuits, and it was the family’s first time at AT&T Field. Sadly, the Lookouts dropped the opener 6-3 after allowing 5 runs in the 6th inning. However, it was a fun time at the park, and we were treated to a very nice fireworks display after the game.

Brantley Bell gets the Lookouts’ first hit of 2019 with a double in the bottom of the second inning.

I’m trying to work through my photo backlog as quickly as possible, but I can’t promise when you’ll see these grave stories go online. I do appreciate the patience, and if there is a story that simply cannot wait, let me know, and I’ll move it to the top of the list!

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