Gone With The Wind Book

2011–The 75th Anniversary of GWTW, the book, based in part on writings from the Mitchell family scrapbook, shown above.

Elizabeth Edwards Buried Near “Gone With The Wind” Author’s First Husband

My author-husband Rob Rains  just sold his 30th book—a book with Duke University Women’s Basketball coach, Joanne P. McCallie, sold to John Wylie & Sons Publishers. As he worked on the book last year I learned that the coach’s son went to school in Raleigh with John and Elizabeth Edwards’ son. They live in Raleigh, North Carolina and she saw Elizabeth at school functions.

On December 3, when Edwards lost her courageous fight with breast cancer I wondered where she would be buried.  When they announced Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, next to her 16-year old son Lucius “Wade” Edwards, I was already familiar with it, after having interviewed Sharon Freed, the woman who runs it, for my book, “The Making of a Masterpiece, The True Story of Margaret Mitchell’s Classic Novel Gone With The Wind.”

Raleigh, NC experienced the first “White Christmas” ever according to the Today Show’s weathercast this morning. The record goes back to the 1800’s. They have had snow, but never on Christmas. The graves at Historic Oakwood Cemetery are covered in a beautiful white blanket.

It’s an old graveyard with a special area for a Confederate Cemetery. 1,500 Confederate soldiers are laid to rest there and in 1935 a “House of Memory” was erected to commemorate those who fought for the South, and today the memorial’s dedication has been expanded to commemorate the men and women from North Carolina who have served in the armed forces during times of conflict.

The confederate graveyard section is fitting because the reason I was researching it is that “Gone With The Wind” author Margaret Mitchell’s first husband, Berrien “Red” Upshaw is buried there. Upshaw, who was born in Monroe, Georgia in 1901 lived about the same number of years as Mitchell. She was killed at age 48 in Atlanta after being hit by a car. Upshaw reportedly committed suicide in Galveston, Texas.

Elizabeth Edwards was born in Jacksonville Florida in 1949, ironically the same year Upshaw and Mitchell died.

The Edwards’ son, Wade and his siblings who were born after his death attended the Raleigh city’s public schools. Upshaw’s step-mother was a teacher and eventually a principal. Though Mitchell’s marriage to Upshaw was short-lived, he had a big impact on her life and I did much research on his life, which is included in my book. He seemed to feel she based her character Rhett Butler on him, and my research shows some of the extent to which he went, to actually “become” Rhett Butler in his real life.

John and Elizabeth Edwards had sculptor Robert Mihaly create a large 10-foot tall angel graveside monument. Elizabeth Edwards’ grave will likely be on the “celebrity tours” the cemetery gives which include Berrien Upshaw’s grave.


By Sally Tippett Rains  (www.GWTWbook.com)  Follow me on Facebook–GWTWbook.com

4 comments on “Elizabeth Edwards Buried Near “Gone With The Wind” Author’s First Husband

  1. Angela Danovi
    December 28, 2010

    Thanks so much for writing this, Sally. I thought the world of Elizabeth Edwards and it’s not too often that I can enjoy a nice blend of my politics and my favorite film/story. This is a great blog.

  2. gwtwbook
    December 28, 2010

    Thanks for the comment Angela. I agree with you. I think Elizabeth Edwards was a great example of gracefulness. She was so strong and so graceful during the scandal her husband caused. We can all learn from her that no matter how tough life gets, we can still smile and move forward—and be an inspiration to those around us.

  3. Patricia Zellers
    March 4, 2012

    I visited the cemetery yesterday and was sad to see that there is no headstone or other monument at Elizabeth Edwards grave next to Wade, only a cemetery marker. Was this her request or thoughtlessness on the part of her family.

  4. Sally Rains
    March 4, 2012

    That’s interesting Patricia. Maybe it is for privacy for the family. Could be they wanted to visit the grave without others knowing who they were. Or it could be thoughtlessness on the part of her family as you said.I am guessing with all the guilt her former husband must have felt he would have built a huge grave stone. My bet is that for the sake of their other children and relatives they wanted it that way.

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This entry was posted on December 27, 2010 by in Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, North Carolina, Rhett Butler, Rob Rains.


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