by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
While not all of the cemeteries in and around Grain Valley have mysteries buried within their walls, they do have stories of pioneer families that shaped the history of Grain Valley, Jackson County, Missouri and indeed, our country. From the hardworking farmers, shop owners, teachers and postmasters to the county sheriffs, legislators, Civil War soldiers and pioneer women, these final resting places do hold the history of our town.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this series of articles, there are more than sixteen cemeteries within a close proximity of Grain Valley. In addition to Green’s Chapel, St. Clair and Slaughter, you will find the names of early residents in all of these graveyards.
Many originated as family burial sites and they include the following. Chiddix/Johnson Cemetery is on Murphy School Road. David Johnson, a founder and original trustee of the Methodist Church is buried there among his relatives and neighbors. Gosney Cemetery on Corn Road, Alley Cemetery on Webster Road and Purdue Cemetery south of Colburn on S. Brown Road are but a few of those family sites in Eastern Jackson County. All of these cemeteries no longer have burial spots.
The remaining cemeteries that I will mention still have burial sites available. Once a family cemetery, now called Grain Valley Cemetery, Herrington Cemetery on Seymore Road is located on land once owned by Merrick Herrington and the first nine gravesites were family members.
Along with the graves of Sarah and Merrick Herrington are the graves of an infant son, a teenage son, a daughter, and six more of their children buried beside their spouses. Of their 10 children, only one is not buried there. In fact, four generations of the Herrington family are buried there and include Taylors, Elliotts, Renicks, Grahams, Rumbos, Sanders, Peals and many more descends.
Koger Cemetery on Corn Road was originally a family cemetery but soon land became available for nearby relatives and friends. In addition to Kogers, early pioneers buried there include Ashcrafts, Russells, Teachs, and Crenshaws.
Several area cemeteries are attached to churches. They include Oakland Cemetery on Truman Road with gravesites for Campbells, Dillinghams, Necessarys and Slaughters. Lobb Cemetery, just off 7 Highway, is where Britton & Sarah Capelle and several family members are buried along with more Slaughters, plus Brizendines and Greggs.
The Perdee Cemetery on Moreland School Road (yes there is a Perdee and a Purdue Cemetery) was started next to Perdee Chapel before the Civil War. After the war the church was moved closer to Stony Point. The new Church was called Pleasant Valley, however it only existed for a few years before the small Methodist congregation moved to Grain Valley.
Finally, many early Grain Valley citizens are buried in cemeteries in nearby towns.
The Blue Springs Cemetery has Greggs, Heidelbergers, Kirbys, McAlexanders, Napiers, O’Connells and Stephensons, to name a few. Elijah Gardners, one of the three killed at Pink Hill, is buried at the Buckner Cemetery. Others from the Pink Hill area also buried in Buckner include members of the Adams family, Manns, Neers and Campbells. After the shooting at the Pink Hill Methodist Church, Granville Love was buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery. Other pioneers there are Capelles, Corns, Duncans, Fristoes, Greggs, and Kirbys and Nebgens.
Two newer cemeteries in the area are Valley Memorial Gardens and Swan Lake. In a few years another writer can tell you about the people buried there and their contributions to our town.
As I look back over what I have just written, it almost seems like I’m reading street and road signs instead of listing early pioneers in their final resting place!
Coming downtown for the Grain Valley Fair parade?
The Historical Society Museum will be open during the parade for visitors. Ice water and coffee is available and new exhibits on Sni-A-Bar and children’s toys will be featured. The Historical Society is located at 506 South Main.