Destroyed Sayers Cemetery Marked

Samuel Sayers with a wife, three daughters and many slaves arrived in Missouri from Virginia about 1835. They settled on land they had purchased near the little community now known as Shamrock in the north east corner of Callaway County, Missouri. When the first death occurred in the family January 21, 1839, he selected a site for a family cemetery on the highest land that he owned. It overlooks the entire center part of land that he owned. It overlooks the entire center part of land and the site of the plantation home for a family of twelve, plus quarters for sixty-five slaves and all of the mill and farm buildings. In 1855 he was buried in this cemetery, undoubtedly at his request. In the winter of 1972 the cemetery contained marked graves for seventeen family members. In 1974 the owner of the land at the time illegally destroyed the entire cemetery, broke up the large monuments and carried them with the smaller ones to a nearby ravine. The land was bull-dozed and graded so that after a year or so it was almost impossible to locate the site of the cemetery. Several descendents and friends of the family have cooperated to erect a monument on the site of the cemetery. Included on it is all information from the seventeen original monuments, plus information on the family and plantation. The cemetery is undoubtedly one of the earliest of the provate cemeteries in Central Missouri that remains and is marked.

Text of a publication by the Sayers Family and Descendents

When the Sayers descendents found that the cemetery had been destroyed they attempted litigation directed at the landowner who destroyed the cemetery. At that time they found that proscecution under criminal laws were ineffectual, with no significant penalties associated with the act of destruction of the cemetery. It was then decided to attempt to litigate based upon civil laws regarding property destruction, and the family then found that it was essentially impossible to get a lawyer to take a case on this basis. While attempting to proscecute under civil law the family continued to negotiate with the offending landowner and successfully agreed upon setting aside the land which was formerly the cemetery and the Sayers family descendents purchased a large marker stone bearing all of the information found on the seventeen stones which were destroyed. This marker remains today on the former site of the Sayers Family Cemetery. As a footnote to the Sayers case, there is a similar case in Callaway County, Missouri which had exactly the same outcome.