02 January 2011

Trip to Osage County

Last week I took a trip to Osage County to scout wells for the company I work for. As my cover I was "looking for cemeteries". In addition to spotting and taking pictures of oil and gas wells and drilling sites, I DID visit three cemeteries. Stupid me didn't think to take pictures of the cemeteries!

St. Johns Cemetery near Grainola is a small abandoned cemetery. It is NOT kept up. The cemetery "grounds" appear to be about one to two acres. However, there are only 9 visible graves, all in one row. The entire cemetery grounds, except the strip where the gravestones are located, is used for hay pasture. Three pre-1920 burials are for John H. Eitzman, Lorenz W.H. Eitzman, and Ida Ropers.

Foraker Cemetery, serving the area in Osage County northwest of the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, is an extremely well maintained and beautiful cemetery. Of the many people buried here, stones for 20 of them have death date before 1920. Surnames for the twenty: Acres, Appel, Bailey, Berry, Bray, Codding, Cox, Davis, Dial, Graham, Grimes, Hobbs, Johnston, Leaton, Mains, Mounts, Tusing and Workman.

Burbank Cemetery, just northwest of the town of Burbank, has a sign that states the cemetery was established in 1925. Although I didn't expect to find any pre-1920 tombstones, I went ahead and walked the small cemetery. I found one Civil War veteran (Elihu B. Myrich of 30th ME Infantry). The most interesting thing, though, is that there were several burial from 1923 and 1924 (mostly infants).

So never assume that the "official" founding date of the cemetery is date of the first burial. Or even that the first official burial is the earliest death date. There are several reasons a burial could precede the founding of the cemetery:
• There was an original family plot around which the "new" cemetery was established.
• Homestead burials for the surrounding area were moved to the cemetery once it was established.
• The earlier stones are actually cenotaphs for family members buried in another location.

My next post will describe my visit to the City of Chandler to look through the records for Oak Park Cemetery.

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