Tennessee Legislators Vote To Move President Polk's Grave

Mar 27, 2017

Tennessee lawmakers have taken the first step toward exhuming the remains of President James K. Polk and moving him to a family home in Columbia, Tennessee.

The state Senate approved a resolution Monday night calling for the nation's 11th president to be moved from his resting place on the grounds of the Tennessee Capitol. Some family members are objecting, but Senator Joey Hensley, whose district includes Columbia, says Polk will get more attention if he's buried there.

"This is a first process," he says. "We want to honor James K. Polk and his wife, and honor his legacy. Have him somewhere where every day people can talk about him and see what all he accomplished.

In addition to state lawmakers, the courts and the Tennessee Historical Commission have to sign off on the move.

In his will, Polk asked to buried at his home in Nashville. But after his widow, Sarah, died in the 1890s, his home was torn down, and his body was moved to the Capitol grounds.

Some relatives say he should remain there. But the James K. Polk Home & Museum says a burial on its grounds would hew to his wishes.