Tag Archives: cemetery

A Lonely Old Country Cemetery at Magic Hour – Bellflower, Missouri

Yesterday I accompanied Joe to a get together at a work friend’s home in beautiful and secluded Bellflower, Missouri. It was our first trip to this part of the world. Bellflower isn’t large in area and is truly in the middle of nowhere, seemingly consisting of mostly farms and gravel roads. The population is less than 400. Though that’s a very small population, I’m not sure where all those residents were, because turning from one long gravel road to another, we never met another human being until we reached our destination. As we were leaving, I asked our hosts if we’d find an old cemetery nearby, and fortunately the Bellflower Baptist Cemetery, established in 1841, was fairly close. 

There aren’t too many times you’ll get me laying down on the ground with nature crawling all over, but for a great photographic shot in a cemetery, I don’t even think twice. 

 

Interested in my other cemetery posts? 

Walnut Grove Cemetery, Boonville Missouri

Assumption Cemetery, O’Fallon Missouri

Cravens Cemetery, Camden Missouri

Cemeteries: Concordia and Emma, Missouri 

Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri 

Forest Grove Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri 

Lexington’s Old Catholic Cemetery 

Machpelah Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri 

Two Smoky Mountain Cemeteries 

Just a Stroll through a Random Cemetery on the Way Home 

 

Adopting the graves of little Clara and Johnnie (most recent listed first)

An Update in Four Photos

Adopting Graves: Second Visit with Clara and Johnnie

Adopting Graves: More on little Clara and her Family

Adopting Graves: Some genealogy of our little Johnnie and his family

Adopting Graves: A New Autumn Tradition (2013)

 

 

 

 


Adopting Graves: Second visit with Clara and Johnnie…

This is the fourth post in a series titled “Adopting Graves”, where I’ve enjoyed sharing my journey of adopting and researching two graves during the autumn season. For previous posts, visit:
Adopting Graves: A New Autumn Tradition (2013)
Adopting Graves: Some genealogy on our little Johnnie and his family
Adopting Graves: More on little Clara and her family

Clara's grave from today's visit.

Clara’s grave from today’s visit.

 

Johnny's grave from today's visit. (The grave of his grandparents in the background.)

Johnny’s grave from today’s visit. (The grave of his grandparents in the background.)

 

Today was my second visit to the gravesites of Clara and Johnnie. Except for the fact that it was like eleventy-hundred degrees today, I was very excited about each of these visits. I know so much more about these souls and their families now, and that made this trip a little more meaningful. After another stop for flowers (different colors this time), I made my way toward Gumbo Cemetery for Clara. In both cemeteries, the remains of my flowers from the last visit were present… aged and frozen in time. I secretly hoped they’d still be there, mainly for the selfish opportunity to snap photos of them. For both Johnnie and Clara, I talked aloud of how I knew they probably weren’t present with me, eternally hanging out next to their head stone, but I wanted to make sure they knew I had been thinking of them and learning about their families over the last few weeks. I even read my previous blog posts and mentioned the fact that many others were learning about their families as well. I sat in silence for a while (a little longer for Clara since I was winded from climbing the hill) and forced myself to be okay with my legs being itchy from the grass.

 

The resting place of Eugene, Clara's father.

The resting place of Eugene, Clara’s father.

 

A young and handsome Eugene Gegenbauer, Clara's father.

A young and handsome Eugene Gegenbauer, Clara’s father.

 

The resting place of Isabelle, Clara's mother.

The resting place of Isabelle, Clara’s mother.

 

A young Isabelle Coulter Gegenbauer, Clara's mother.

A young Isabelle Coulter Gegenbauer, Clara’s mother.

 

On my way out of Linn Cemetery after visiting Johnnie, I took a few photos of the entrance to the older section. I found an older marker for this section with the date of 1867, although I’ve seen some head stones there with a burial date of 1865.

 

Near the entrance to the older section of Linn Cemetery, Wentzville, Missouri.

Near the entrance to the older section of Linn Cemetery, Wentzville, Missouri.

 

Near the entrance of the older section of Linn Cemetery, Wentzville, Missouri.

Near the entrance of the older section of Linn Cemetery, Wentzville, Missouri.

 

I suppose I’ll plan the next visit for two weekends from now. Hopefully by then I’ll be able to wear a hoodie. That might be a stretch.

Till next time… 

 


Adopting Graves: More on little Clara and her family…

This is the third post in a series titled “Adopting Graves”, where I’ve enjoyed sharing my journey of adopting and researching two graves during the autumn season. For previous posts, visit Adopting Graves: A New Autumn Tradition (2013) and Adopting Graves: Some genealogy on our little Johnnie and his family

Clara's headstone from my first visit.

Clara’s headstone from my first visit.

Beginning genealogy research through Ancestry.com can be incredibly addictive and time consuming. This new hobby has given me my first opportunity to try it. I’ve filled up nearly ten pages on a legal pad with notes on both Johnnie and Clara, the two souls and graves that I’ve adopted this season. Of course, this is more info than anyone would ever need to know. But even though these families were strangers to me before now, it has been great fun… fun of the nerdly variety. In researching information on Clara, I have had the good fortune of getting in contact with a nice woman named Gayla Liles. Gayla is a great niece of Clara and has supplied me with the information and photos shared in this post. Since Gayla lives in New Mexico and no other family members live near, I have been able to share photos of the unseen Gegenbauer family plot and headstones with her. It feels good… and it makes it seem like there’s a real purpose to this new tradition, rather than just being a strange nerd who blogs about these things. It has been an honor to talk to Gayla and I thank her very much for the hard work and information researched and gathered.

 

Clara I. Gegenbauer, March 29, 1884 – March 17, 1889

Clara was the fourth out of eight children by parents Eugene Gegenbauer (1847 – 1916) and Isabelle Coulter Gegenbauer (1853 – 1930). Like Johnnie (see last post), there is no record of how or why Clara died at such a young age. Her father Eugene (whose parents immigrated from Germany) and mother Isabelle (whose parents immigrated from Ireland) were married in 1876. After immigrating, Clara’s paternal grandfather was a physician and teacher in the Ballwin, Missouri area. He died in 1880.

 

A young and handsome Eugene Gegenbauer, Clara's father.

A young and handsome Eugene Gegenbauer, Clara’s father.

 

A young Isabelle Coulter Gegenbauer, Clara's mother.

A young Isabelle Coulter Gegenbauer, Clara’s mother.

 

An older Isabelle Coulter Gegenbauer. I love this photo. You can just see wisdom in her eyes.

An older Isabelle Coulter Gegenbauer. I love this photo. You can just see wisdom in her eyes.

 

Isabelle and children. I'm not sure if Clara is a part of this photo or what year it is. According to my research and this photo, they lived on a farm.

Isabelle and children. I’m not sure if Clara is a part of this photo or what year it was taken. According to my research and this photo, they lived on a farm in the Meramec/St. Louis area. I just love the house!

 

Out of the family’s eight children, Eugene and Isabelle had 7 grandchildren, including my new friend Gayla’s father. Clara’s last remaining sibling, Jane Sophia “Jennie” Gegenbauer, was Gayla’s grandmother. She died in 1976.

 

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This Labor Day weekend marks two weeks since I adopted Johnnie and Clara’s graves. I hope to make a return visit to both. It will certainly be more meaningful now that I know more about these two families.

 

 

 


Adopting Graves: Some genealogy on our little Johnnie and his family…

In my last post I shared with you my new autumn tradition of adopting older graves. I was so very excited to share the two that I chose… the resting places of Johnnie and Clara. The two graves are in different cemeteries, and even though I did my best to be drawn to the graves naturally, both happen to be the resting places of children who died at around the same age of five.

 

Johnnie Michel (1879 – 1884)

Though I was not able to find family photos in my research on our little  Johnnie and his family, I was able to find a significant amount of information and documents.

Johnnie’s father, Franz Heinrich (Henry) Michel (1842 – 1920), was a prominent member of the Wentzville, Missouri community by 1876. He married Johnnie’s mother, Mathilda Michel (Brockman) (1844 – 1928), daughter of “well-to-do farmers” in the county, in 1873 in St. Louis. They were members of the Lutheran Church. It is said that they had “many sincere and true friends.”

Henry Michel grew up poor, but eventually found success in Wentzville. In 1876 he built and opened a general store on Main Street in Wentzville, where Mathilda “kept house” and the family on the 2nd floor. To my knowledge, it appears the general store stayed in business until at least 1910. Johnnie had an older sister who died in 1953 and a younger sister who lived to be 92 years old. Depending on the census, apparently several clerks and salesmen for the store shared the upstairs living quarters with the family throughout the years, as well as a few cousins, Johnnie’s grandfather, and the husband of one of Johnnie’s sisters. It must have been an exciting household! By 1920, according to the census from that year, Johnnie’s older sister was the only other person sharing the house with her parents. By that time she was 33, while her parents were 75 and 77. (I’ve contacted the Wentzville Historical Society and hope to hear back from them with information regarding the general store, the location, if the building still exists, or if anyone has photos.)

A tobacco pouch from Johnnie's father's general store in Wentzville, Missouri.

A tobacco pouch from Johnnie’s father’s general store in Wentzville, Missouri.

According to an 1895 book with biographies of prominent and representative citizens from the surrounding counties, “In the business circles of the place Mr. Michel is highly and justly esteemed as an honorable and upright man, whose word is as good as his note, and who endeavors to fill to the letter every contract and obligation. Politically he is, like his father, an enthusiastic Republican.”

Unfortunately, other than one mention of a 6 month old Johnnie on a census form and the date of death from the head stone I found, no other information is known.

 

Johnnie's grandparents rest only a few feet away.

Johnnie’s grandparents rest only a few feet away.

A touching side note: The large head stone behind Johnnie’s in the photo on the right is the grave of his grandparents, Johann and Maria Michel, immigrants from Hannover in Germany. It warms my heart to know that they are buried close. I’ll have to check when I return, but I don’t believe there were any other Michels buried nearby. Johnnie’s father Henry is buried in the St. Peters Cemetery in nearby Washington, Missouri. Mother Mathilda and older sister Ella (most likely younger sister Katherine as well) are buried in St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Santa Ana, California. 

 

 

You may also like:

Adopting Graves: A New Autumn Tradition (2013)...

Adopting Graves: A New Autumn Tradition (2013)…


Adopting Graves: A New Autumn Tradition (2013)…

Inspired by the amazing Renae Rude – The Paranormalist, who is a fellow lover of all things autumn and spooky, I decided to begin a new autumn tradition of adopting one or two gravesites. 

In my mind, the idea is to choose an older grave, perhaps forgotten (of course how does one really know this?) that may also need to be tended to. The two local cemeteries that I chose happen to be fairly well cared for. I would think you’d want to choose a grave that really speaks to you, either metaphorically or literally. As someone who finds cemeteries fascinating and enjoys spending time and taking photos in them, I found it hard to not just gravitate toward the interesting and most beautiful graves. But at the same time, I didn’t want to ignore those feelings. Lastly, a requirement for me was to be able to identify a name on the marker. This is often hard to do in cemeteries. You might argue that a grave that has lost the identity of the body resting there would be more in need of adoption, but for my first experience at this, I really wanted to be able to connect with a name as well. It is also my hope that after this initial post I’ll be able to research genealogy and share that with you as well. After selecting my graves, I’d commit to returning every so often throughout the season, keeping their soul in my thoughts and praying that they are at peace. 

So this last Saturday I was very excited to set out to adopt two graves for an early autumn kickoff. I wanted to choose one grave at two different cemeteries. It was an absolutely beautiful day and I was honored that Joe was willing to accompany me. (Normally this would be a little weird for him.) We went and picked up two beautiful bunches of flowers for a total of $10 and headed for Linn Cemetery in Wentzville, Missouri. Linn Cemetery is a place I’ve visited a few times in the last few years. Click HERE for photos from my first visit to Linn Cemetery.

 

Johnnie Michel, son of Henry and Matilda Michel, July 5, 1879 – January 21, 1884

Johnnie was four and a half years old at the time of his death. He was buried near two or three other Michels, but we found no Henry or Matilda Michel (his parents, according to the marker) near Johnnie. We wondered why the parents weren’t buried here, or at least nearby. Did life take them somewhere else after this loss? Did they have other children that lived hopefully longer lives? And what happened to Johnnie? Was it sickness? An accident? 

Here’s a close up of the writing below the dates. 

To the best of my ability, it appears to read “Here ____ our Little Johnnie ____ his still and silent… ?? …till we meet again. God has called him home, he thought it best.”

I visited a bit with Johnnie, wondering out loud about his story and asked who the other Michels buried near him were. I promised to return a few times and keep him in my thoughts, hoping and praying he is at peace. 

Our next stop was the Gumbo Cemetery in Chesterfield, Missouri. I had come across this cemetery on accident only the day before. I was excited to stop by and check it out. 

 

Clara I. Gegenbauer, March 29, 1884 – March 17, 1889

Clara’s grave is up on a scenic hill along a tree line. Inscribed on her marker is the message “A voice we loved has fled.” That really touched me. Like Johnnie Michel, Clara died just short of her fifth birthday. In the photo it almost appears to be taken at dusk, due to the canopy of tree limbs overhead. Clara rests among seven other graves that are clearly grouped as a family. Clara’s grave stands proudly on the front left corner in the group. From my first step into the cemetery, this group of markers off in the distance and on top of the hill caught my attention. 

I visited with Clara, pondering the same questions that go through one’s mind when you see the resting place of any young child. I also left her with the same promise I gave Johnnie. 

 

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So was I meant to be drawn to the graves of two children, approximately the same age? Or did I subconsciously choose a little girl out of fairness after already choosing Johnnie? I also think it’s interesting that Clara was born just months after Johnnie died. At the risk of creating a dramatic plot that doesn’t exist, I wonder if there is some kind of connection between the two, whether it’s between the two families, or a great plan designed from the other side. What an interesting thought. Ha! Maybe I should write a book. 

I’d love to know what you think about this new tradition of mine. If you find it interesting, be sure to check out Renae Rude’s fascinating post in the related articles below. Stay tuned in the coming months as I hope to piece together just a bit of the history of these two families. This will be my first attempt at genealogy, so wish me luck.

 

Related Articles:

Graveyards, churchyards and cemeteries: spending an afternoon with the dead.

Graveyards, churchyards and cemeteries: spending an afternoon with the dead. (Renae Rude – The Paranormalist)

Click here for more cemetery posts, or visit the "Cemeteries" category on the right. (Big Séance)

Click here for more cemetery posts, or visit the “Cemeteries” category on the right. (Big Séance)


Walnut Grove Cemetery, Boonville Missouri…

 

I have been so excited to share this post with you. A few days ago I was on my way back home from a Kansas City trip and I decided to take one of the Boonville exits off of Interstate 70. I’ve driven past the area so many times over the years, and except for a nighttime detour from construction on the highway a while back, I’d never really toured the historical river town. This time around I’d take my time and look for a cemetery. It took a while, but I found one… and what I find it was! This cemetery just may have made its way to my top two or three favorite cemeteries. I hope to visit again this fall to capture the colors and the trees at their most beautiful. As you’ll see from the photos, someone has been doing a wonderful job taking care of, protecting, and preserving this beautiful park-like cemetery. Kudos to them. Please enjoy this tour through Walnut Grove Cemetery in Boonville, Missouri. 

 

 

For more information about Boonville, visit goboonville.com.

Related Posts: 

Assumption Cemetery, O’Fallon, Missouri (Big Séance)

Cravens Cemetery, Camden, Missouri (Big Séance)

Cemeteries: Concordia and Emma, Missouri (Big Séance)

Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri (Big Séance)

Forest Grove Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri (Big Séance)

Lexington’s Old Catholic Cemetery (Big Séance)

Machpelah Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri (Big Séance)

Two Smoky Mountain Cemeteries (Big Séance)

Just a Stroll through a Random Cemetery on the Way Home (Big Séance)

 

 

 


Cravens Cemetery, Camden Missouri…

Earlier this week I spent a few days back home in the Kansas City area after honoring my Great Uncle Bill as he was laid to rest at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery. On the way back to my parents’ house I was reminded that for the last year I’ve been meaning to make the out-of-the-way stop at the beautiful Cravens Cemetery in the tiny town of Camden, Missouri, where many of my descendants and family members from my Mother’s side are buried. I had only been a few times, but I remembered it being beautiful, and I remembered the entire cemetery being on a hill. I you weren’t from the area, or didn’t just happen to get lost on this particular black top road, you’d never know it was there. So I took my Grandmother for a ride as she guided me on a tour through the cemetery. It was hot and I had sweat in my eyes much of the time, but it was really a very cool experience. Cravens is the kind of cemetery I just love. It has so much character. I’m not sure I’ll care too much once I’ve crossed over, but I certainly wouldn’t mind my physical body resting at Cravens for the rest of eternity.

Please enjoy some photos from the day. I’ll talk you through some of them. The following photo is the one I took at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery, but all others are from Cravens Cemetery.

I love this view, and it can be seen from almost anywhere in the cemetery. In the time we were visiting, two or three trains came and went. 

Pictured above is the grave of my Great Uncle Jimmy Rutherford, who died as a baby. I can’t imagine the sadness my Great Grandmother Ruth went through, but I’ve always heard stories of poor little Jimmy. You can see the original handmade marker that she made because at the time they could not afford anything else. At some point in time a better marker was added over top of it, but I just love the original one. Next to baby Jimmy, my Great Grandmother and several other loved ones are buried just about at the top of the steep hill, up from the main entrance. The graves are near a beautiful old tree. My Grandmother pointed out that only recently she discovered that if you continue over the top of the hill, you will find the oldest and original section of the cemetery… so she waited in the car as I checked it out. 

This was my view as I made my way to the top of the hill. 

The older and almost hidden section of the cemetery.

I just love this tree. Does anyone else see the expression on its face?

Many of these markers appeared to be from the 1860s and 1870s, though the oldest one I noticed listed the date of death as 1855. 

In 1993 the man I knew as my Great Grandpa Irvin died. In his younger days he spent many years caring for and working on the grounds of this very cemetery. After his death, my Great Grandma had two benches installed at a beautiful new monument (pictured below). One (above) for Irvin and another across from it with “Given by wife Ruth V. Thomas” engraved on the front. My Great Grandma Ruth died in 2000. 

 

Related:

Cemeteries: Concordia and Emma, Missouri (Big Séance)

Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri (Big Séance)

Forest Grove Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri (Big Séance)

Lexington’s Old Catholic Cemetery (Big Séance)

Machpelah Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri (Big Séance)

Two Smoky Mountain Cemeteries (Big Séance)

Just a Stroll through a Random Cemetery on the Way Home (Big Séance)

Ghost Hunting in Haunted Cemeteries (Jim Harold’s Ghost Insight)

 

 

 


Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri…

It is a cemetery that could keep you busy for days… weeks even. And it’s the largest and possibly the most beautiful cemetery I’ve ever seen. Opening in 1849, Bellefontaine (pronounced “bell fountain” by most St. Louisans) consists of 314 acres of park-like beauty with mausoleums as far as the eye can see. Too many to count. Even with a driving tour map it’s easy to get lost. But trust me, it’s worth it. Among other movers and shakers from the region, you’ll find the resting places of Adolphus Busch (beer giant), William Clark, Sara Teasdale, and the infamous Lemp family. You can find more beautiful photos on Bellefontaine’s Facebook page. There are also several resources on their beautiful website. When Joe and I visited we were greeted by really friendly staff, and they went out of their way to make our visit a nice one.  

Enjoy these photos from our visit…

 

“The Girl In the Glass Box” Herman Luyties 1871-1921

 

 

 

 

The family mausoleum of the infamous Lemps.

 

The family mausoleum of the infamous Lemps.

 

Back window. Family mausoleum of the infamous Lemps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William Clark 1770 – 1838

 

Busch Mausoleum
Adolphus Busch 1839 – 1913
Lilly Anheuser Busch 1844 – 1928

 

Busch Mausoleum
Adolphus Busch 1839 – 1913
Lilly Anheuser Busch 1844 – 1928

 

 

 

If you’re hungry for more information on those buried at Bellefontaine, check out Movers and Shakers, Scalawags and suffragettes: Tales from Bellefontaine Cemetery by Carol Ferring Shepley. I picked this book up at the cemetery office. It’s proudly shelved in my personal library. 

 

 

 

 

 


Forest Grove Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri…

I really enjoyed my time in this next cemetery. I would have stayed all day if it weren’t 100 degrees. My Great Grandmother lived near this one. It is across from what used to be the golf course on Golf Road in Lexington. I have to confess that growing up I heard spooky stories about this one. I remember as a teen being dared to just drive by the place in the dark… and considering this one really IS in the middle of nowhere, it truly would have been a bit spooky. Fortunately, it’s not so eerie in the daylight. The few times I actually visited this cemetery it seemed so forgotten. A few years ago I stopped by with my family and I was saddened to see signs of bonfires with beer cans and other garbage right next to headstones. 

I have to tell you that on this visit the place was looking great! It got me thinking of the people who give their time to take care of these older cemeteries. I’d love to find out who takes care of this one because they’ve done a good job. I felt nothing but beautiful energy here, and I could have easily posted 15 more interesting and beautiful photos, but that’s just too many for a blog. Also, I have to note that there were many graves of veterans from several wars in this cemetery. I thanked each one that I saw. I was also surprised to see so many current graves toward the back of the cemetery, and this made me smile. This beautiful place hasn’t been forgotten after all. 

I hope you enjoyed the photos from my cemetery tour. This is the last post from the three-part series. If you missed them, visit my Machpelah Cemetery and Old Catholic Cemetery posts. And for any of my other cemetery posts, scroll down and click on the “cemeteries” category to the right.

Peace!

Forest Grove Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri – Founded in 1890

I fell down the hill across the road after taking this photo. Can’t wait to hear it on the audio.

Anyone know what these are?

I just really loved this one for some reason.


Lexington’s Old Catholic Cemetery (and my 100th post!)

In my last post, I included photos from the beautiful Machpelah Cemetery in my hometown of Lexington, Missouri. It is the oldest and largest (and probably the most popular) cemetery in town. But… when I think about a cemetery, or when I’m reading of a fictional graveyard, it is always this beautiful place that ends up being the setting in my mind.

Old Catholic Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri – Founded in 1860

Until this visit it had been over twenty years since I last saw it. It hasn’t changed a bit. I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I remember several of the individual headstones like I was just there the day before. Growing up, I spent quite a bit of time here as my grandparents lived nearby. Even when I was a kid I enjoyed a stroll through this cemetery, many times even by myself. I don’t remember my reasons for enjoying my time there so much, but I do recall having general conversations with any spirits wanting to listen. I also recall my Bama (grandma) packing a lunch for me on a few occasions. And yes, inappropriate or not, there were those times I enjoyed a game of hide and seek with friends. I suppose someone living in this neighborhood might disagree with me, but it really is in the middle of nowhere. I think that is part of what makes it so interesting. It is so quiet. Everything surrounded by trees.  

I certainly haven’t earned any photography awards with these photos, but I hope you enjoy them. (Also, did I mention it’s my 100th post?!)

 

Before you orb lovers tell me there is a spirit off in the distance, I must disappoint you and inform you that it is only the moon. 🙂


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