The History and Genealogy of Callaway County, Missouri

The following article, taken from Vol. 126, No.2, Fulton, Missouri, Thursday, January 03, 2002, appearing on page one and continued on page five, is reprinted by the gracious express consent of "The Fulton Sun".

 The Fulton Sun
 Vol. 126, No. 2 Fulton, Missouri Thursday, January 03, 2002 
County helps perpetuate dying breed of cemetery

By Matt Schmitz

The Fulton Sun

Folks who subscribe to the idea of the old saying, "You can't take it with you", presumably want to make certain that which they leave behind is left in the right place. Consequently, area residents who wish to ensure their grave sites and those of their loved ones are neatly kempt may leave some of "it" with the Callaway County Treasurer's office.

Treasurer Marsha Chism will invest the dollars provided into a county trust fund, from which accrued interest will fund the ongoing maintenance of more than 10 area cemeteries that otherwise might have been lost and forgotten. The county commissioners, Lee Fritz, Bob Rankin and Rodney Garnett - presiding, eastern district and western district representatives, respectively - met with Shirley Humphrey last week to establish a new fund for Hickory Groves Cemetery.

"People have family buried there," Garnett explained. "If there's a fund set up here (at the courthouse), that's how they will maintain this cemetery."

Humphrey is a member of the three-person cemetery board of Hickory Groves, which is located near the intersection of State Route A and County Road 1048, just north of Interstate 70, the commissioners said. The site formerly was associated with a church though the cemetery now is all that remains.

"A lot of old churches in this county are being disbanded that have a cemetery," Garnett said.

Garnett said members of younger generations often are not interested in keeping up a family cemetery. Therefore, a site's caretakers sometimes choose to initiate a trust with the county to pay for upkeep, such as grass mowing.




Fritz agreed, saying the trusts are created "because people get older and ther's less people to look after these things. They may have loved ones buried in that cemetery."

Persons who establish the funds also add to them with donations, the commissioners said. Otherwise, the county invests the money and maintains the sites strictly with interest, as use of the principle investment rarely is required, the commissioners said. "They can add to it to make sure money is available," Fritz said. "Most of them I've seen never goes into the principle."

Fritz said dollars added to the existing fund often are earmarked by individual boards for a specific purpose. "You get a donation on these and they might tell you how they want this money spent here," he said.

Rankin said many of the small, unevenly dispersed cemeteries for which funding requests have been made began as family sites more than a century ago when residents had a tendency to spread out further into the county. Some tiny towns of the area's past no longer exist, the commissioners said.

"About 150 years ago, small cemeteries were scattered throughout the county - where now you've got bigger cemeteries," Rankin said. "You'll run into a small cemetery while you're out there that we never knew was there."

The centuries that separate the past and the present are what Rankin said he sees as the motivation for future planning for cemeteries. "That's why they do it," Rankin said. "They wonder what'll happen 100 years from now," he said.

(The following seven paragraphs in this article deal specifically with other County business not related to the Cemetery issue at hand.)