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​Lonesome Historic Site

Sam the Horse

1887 - 1920


Hello there!  My name is Sam.  By now, you’ve probably visited the main cemetery and met plenty of interesting people and even Bob’s fingers, but I am the only horse buried in these parts!  I was born in 1887 and was the beloved companion of Dr. James Edgar Mathis, known to the locals as “Doc Mathis.” He and his twin brother, Tobe, were born in nearby Dickson in 1866. Dr. Mathis worked as a visiting physician at the Tennessee State prison from 1890 to1920 and served in the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1915. In 1951, he died right here in Burns after a long life of working in his community.

You see, Doc Mathis also tended to sick families in the area astride me, his trusty steed. I was a notably large, dark horse with a gentle, loyal nature. I knew our rounds well, regularly taking us from home to home.  And while Doc took care of families, I took care of him.  If Doc had a little too much to drink at the local pub, I would carry him home across the creek.  After dumping him safely on his front porch, I would walk myself over to my stable for a night’s rest.

We lived here on the property next to Lonesome.  When I died at the ripe old age of 33, Doc Mathis took the quilt off of his very own bed, wrapped me in it, and buried me here, right where you stand.  To honor my life well spent, he this gravestone made, “In respect of a fine saddle horse owned by Dr. J. E. Mathis."