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BERRY FAMILY CEMETERY Also Holy Redeemer Cemetery for Slaves, Indians, and Paupers.
Near Ash Grove, Greene County, Missouri Directions: From Ash Grove, go west on Highway 160 to County Road 9, turn left on CR 9 and go to CR 68. Go left on CR 68 to CR 74, then left on CR 74. It is on the left side of the road, there is a historical marker in front of the fence marking the spot, turn into the field and drive back through a second gate to reach the cemetery. There are many unmarked graves here, and graves marked by wooden crosses or stones that do not have names. Photographed and transcribed by Jane Owens, Heather Gilbert and Johnna Quick on 14 Sept 2004. BERRY Millard W 4-16-1920 11-3-1959 Missouri Pfc 4065 OM Service Co WWII BSM-PM Della May 2-5-1891 6-15-1917 Daughter of Wm H and Caroline William H 8-10-1848 1-31-1917 Caroline 8-25-1850 9-8-1914 Wife of Wm Herbert W 4-26-1879 3-18-1904 Son of WH and CM Birtie 5-2-1882 1-10-1902 Son of WH and CM Sarah E 9-3-1873 2-24-1891 Daughter of WH and CM BOONE Maria 8-5-1819 12-19-1893 BOYD A. no dates DECKS Elizabeth died 1-14-1905 Aged 71 years HARVEY Maude Lee 1881 1924 Rev. H 1851 1918 Sarah A 7-10-1857 11-25-1906 Wife of H Harvey Lulie E 7-8-1876 5-4-1889 Daughter of ? and ?E Harvey William E 3-11-1883 2-16-1889 Son of H and SE Harvey HERRON Susan V 12-25-1860 4-11-1912 Wife of Aaron HUDDLESTON Rachel A 2-9-1821 1-3-1902 JACKSON Katherine Deja 11?991 5?998 JAMES Charity 3-18-1842 3-31-1914 JONES R S 11-28-1854 12-20-1892 MASON John died 9-24-1888 Aged 51 years OLIVER Alma L Died 3-27-1884 Daughter of HW and SA Oliver PERYMAN Jocy Dell 8-28-1881 6-19-1882 Daughter of R and MA Peryman RICHIE James E 1-1-1937 10-14-2003 SIMMONS Ralph 7-4-1854 5-16-1904 Jasper 11-2-1882 1-11-1908 Enoch 8-13-1886 2-1-1900 WALLS Rev. James Parson Walls {Note: there are blocks here put up for the family, no dates, and a note that stated ôRev. James Parson Walls and Vinney and family by grandson William Delbert Herndon? Vinney Joe Charles Bob Press Baby WHITE Grace born and died 3-12-1891 Daughter of GW and LJ YOKUM Lewis Frank 3-17-1893 2-14-1966 Missouri Pvt 3 Co 164 Depot Brigade WWI
From the Springfield News Leader, 10 Sept 2005 Historic burial place for 'slaves, paupers and Indians' Moses Berry, whose family maintained the burial grounds, applied for the designation. by Jenny Filmer, News Leader ASH GROVE ?The final resting place for former slaves, rural black families and several souls whose names are lost to time has gained national recognition. Ash Grove's Berry Cemetery has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. The official brass plaque marker will be unveiled today in a special ceremony at the site. The 130-year-old cemetery was deeded as a burial place for "Slaves, paupers and Indians" who were not allowed interment at the Ash Grove Cemetery. Now it's all that's left of a once-thriving black community in northwest Greene County. "They were husbands and wives and children ?a community of people that had hope in the generations to come," said Moses Berry, great-grandson of the cemetery's founder, William H. Berry. "They built their own homes. They built their own schools. They worked and prayed for their community and left behind a loving legacy." Moses Berry, an Orthodox priest who spent most of his life away from the Ozarks, now lives adjacent to the cemetery on his great-grandfather's farm. Berry said his family had always maintained the cemetery, but it had fallen into neglect before he inherited the nearby farm eight years ago. "We rescued that cemetery from the woods," said Berry. "Tombstones had been knocked down by grazing cattle. We had to fill dirt in some of the graves that had sunken." With the help of many volunteers, much of the one-acre burial ground has been cleared of brush, fenced in and nursed back to a respectable state. But Berry worries about what will happen after he can no longer care for the property. He sought the National Register designation as a way to encourage future generations ?and especially African-Americans ?to remember the cemetery's significance. "I did it because I know how important it is for generations to come to have some sort of landmark to say 'We were here,'" said Berry. "And, maybe we'll be able to get some help in main- taining the cemetery." Gaining a National Registry designation is not an easy task. "It's not something you just fill out a form for," said Mark Miles, director of the state historic preservation office, a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. "You have to do some research. You have to complete a description of the property, which can be quite detailed. And you have to create your statement of significance. You have to build a case for why the property is significant." Gail Emrie, chair of the Greene County Historic Sites Board, prepared the nomination for Berry Cemetery. "I was accepted onto the (county) board and said I'd like a project," said Emrie "I think it had been sitting on the table for a while." Emrie said she's lost track of the number of hours she spent researching the property, but she considered it a privilege. "I learned a lot from their lives," she said. "These are the forgotten pioneers, for one thing." Some of those buried in the cemetery are descendants of slaves belonging to Greene County homesteader Nathan Boone, son of Daniel Boone. "The Boone family came to Missouri, but their slaves came too. We don't really pay much attention to those people that came and who did a lot of the work," said Emrie. She was fascinated by the story of Frank Lewis "Fireball" Yocum, a World War I veteran buried in the cemetery who played baseball with the Kansas City Negro League team, the Monarchs. "I've learned that there was a thriving community of blacks here, even in the rural towns," said Emrie. "I hadn't realized that. And for economic and social reasons, it disappeared." Nominations for the National Register of Historic Places must be approved by the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation before being sent for consideration to the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. The Berry Cemetery nomination was accepted on the National Register on Nov. 13. Berry received notification of the designation in April. Federal approval brings a level of prestige to a historic site. But it rarely results in any funding. In fact, the property owner is responsible for purchasing a bronze plaque identifying the site. Emrie said the Greene County Historic Sites Board covered the $95 needed for the plaque. "Making it a National Registry site will give it more attention and significance beyond Greene County," said Emrie, "especially for people researching African-American history." Emrie said the designation also enhances the Nathan Boone Homestead State Historic Site and Berry's Ozarks Afro- American Heritage Museum, both in Ash Grove. Berry said he hopes the National Registry designation will help preserve not only the memory of a vanished black community, but the segregated world in which it functioned. "People need to know that there are institutions all over the country that Afro-Americans made and maintained," said Berry. "If they wanted to be buried, they had to make a cemetery. "It will be a place where future generations can look back and recognize what their ancestors accomplished. It says, 'My life is connected to more than just the present.'"
The Rev. Moses Berry stands near the graves of his great-grandparents Caroline "Boone" Berry and William Berry at the slave cemetery in Ash Grove. The cemetery has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. William Berry is an ancestor of the Rev. Moses Berry, who helped the 130-year-old Berry Cemetery gain a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
This article and photos from the Springfield News Leader.
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