A Nearly Forgotten Cemetery

How do you find a cemetery record that is not online at FindAGrave, BillionGraves or any other online database?  Look it up in a book!  Our ancestors were traced and recorded by amateur and professional genealogists for generations before us and often we are lucky enough to spot their footsteps and follow their lead.

An Alabama cemetery found recently by the author

I have heard about a cemetery that exists on my maternal grandparent’s farm in Florence, Missouri.  Those buried in the hallowed ground are unrelated to my family; their descendants or possibly their neighbor’s sold land to Carl and Roma Siegel in the 1930s.  The graves range from 1852-1868 and belong to five families: Brewer, Davis, Dinwiddie, Finley, and Steel.  My Mom remembers the cemetery and the chimney of either a house or a church that once stood nearby.  The gravestones may still be extant but are overgrown and forgotten.  Almost.

During the 1950s and 1960s a local woman named Ilene Sims Yarnell, collected genealogical information of Missouri families across mid-Missouri including Morgan County.  A few years ago, I found a book titled Missouri Cemetery Records, Vol 1.  at the Missouri State Genealogical Association book sale.  The volume had been published in 1981, by the Heart of America Genealogical Society in Kansas City, MO.  In the volume on page 198 is the following note:

“Carl Siegel Farm.  These records are contributed by Ilene Sims Yarnell of Versailles, MO.  They are from a cemetery on the farm of Carl Siegel, Florence, MO (Richland Twp. Morgan County).  Mrs. Yarnell writes: “There appears to have been a church here – bricks, maybe a fireplace.  Have heard of no church record book nor seen it written about in the early histories of the area.  Will copy data, hoping it will provide a clue [emphasis added].”

Well said, Mrs. Yarnell.  Thank you for your generosity and commitment to the history of your state!

Florence, Missouri

Here are the transcribed records of the graves Mrs. Yarnell provided.  The graves appear to have omitted birth dates for most, providing date of death and age at death (years-months-days).  A few provide familial relations: p=parents and h=husband.


Brewer, Sarah A.   d. 12-11-1860 a. 33-9-8. h. Stephen

Brewer, Stephen   d. 11-28-1860. A. 34-3-3

Davis, Ann D.   d. 9-15-1865 a. 55-5-13

Davis, David. W.   d. 11-9-1864 a. 1-11-26, P: D.R. & S.A.

Dinwiddie, Benjamin F.   d. 9-25-1857. a. 1-4-23. P: J.L. & A.

Dinwiddie, Eliza.   d. 11-161863. A. 45-2-24.  H: B.

Dinwiddie, Joseph. F.   d. 10-25-1862. A. 7m. 4d.  P: S.L. & E.

Dinwiddie, Lafayette.   d. 1-17-1863. a. 22-3-4.  P: B.F. & E.

Finley, George A.   d. 9-26-1862. a. 32-11-28

Finley, John W.   b. 8-8-1833. d. 10-9-1864. a. 31-2-1

Finley, Mary   b. 12-29-1838. d.5-23-1861.  H: J.W.

Finley, Sarah.   d. 4-5-1852. a. 52 yrs. H: Wm.

Finley, S.J. Hand-carved limestone rock – broken.

Steel, Cindy Bell. b. 11-27-1867. d. 1-2-1868 P: ____ & Martha.

Steel, Mary J.   d. 4-22-1865 a. 16-11-20. H: W.G.

I conducted a cursory search for the names listed above and did not locate information of their graves online.  I hope this inspires you to remember of the vast nature of our history, most of which cannot be located online.  Happy hunting!

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