Old Salem Cemetery Transcription
Springfield, Greene County, MO Photographed and transcribed by Johnna Quick and Heather Gilbert on 10 July 2004. APPLEBY Melissa R 6-14-1836 6-14-1901 Wife of DA Headlee, GW Huff & BW Appleby “A beautiful life ends not in death” BEDELL David 4 Dragoons Rev War (newer marker) David 4-17-1761 3-24-1840 Age 79yr 11mo 7da (original marker, now gone) Emory 4-1777 3-18— David H 12-16-1796 4-7-1860 Aged 63yr 3mo 22da (Stone broken and mostly unreadable) Marina 5-11-1805 9-3-1863 Our mother Consort of David H Bedell Aged 58yr 3mo 22da “Even to the latest breath Hark to that the savior Be thou faithful unto death And take the crown of life.” Fanny 8-19-1797 11-15-1856 Born in NC DC 7-10-1801 6-28-1870 EPOCH No first name born 1821 FERGUSON Henry 2-10-1865 1-19-1917 Nancy 8-11-1871 (buried in another cemetery)
HEADLEE Elisha 5-18-1760 10-8-1845 Pvt NJ Militia Rev War (new marker) Elisha 5-18-1760 10-8-1845 (old marker) DA d. 10-25-1862 Aged 31yr 2mo 4da Joseph 4-17-1798 9-28-1862 Our father Martha 11-26-1800 6-16-1881 Our mother Caleb 11-5-1788 8-8-1847 HUFF George W 2-22-1837 11-30-1888 KING Sarah 7-8-1842 11-27-1892 SJ 3-15-1827 6-15-1890 MCCURDY Infant son of AP and SE 10-21-1894 SPENCER Mary E 11-6-1836 11-16-1918 Wife of JD Spencer WALLIS Matuda or Matilda 7-11-1807 4-2-1872 Our Aunt Aged 64yr 9mo 10da Daughter of Mathew and Sara Wallis Sarah 2-15-1762 7-31-1847 Aged 83yr 5mo 20da Consort of Mathew Wallis Jeptha 4-26-1800 8-13-1879 Aged 79yr 3mo 17da Nancy A 12-18-1799 1-25-1890 Wife of Jeptha Wallis “In memory of thy generous worth, this monument is given, by those whome thou hast left on earth but trust will meet in heaven.” Robert L 9-12-1852 11-11-1856 Son of M and Sarah J Wallis Nancy A 8-28-1863 9-7-1865 Daughter of M and Sarah J Wallis Lenard M 2-22-1855 11-9-1856 Son of M and Sarah J Wallis Matthew 10-26-1827 10-28-1895 Died as he lived a Devoted Christian “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth, Yea saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors and their works do follow them.” Sarah J 11-24-1830 7-15-1889 Wife of Matthew Wallis “Gone home to God” WHITLOCK Sallie died 10-10-1911 Age 39 years At rest RF 1866 1944 According to the property owner, several of the stones have been stolen. These stones were noted in previous transcriptions, newspaper abstracts, and word of mouth: ROGERS __ne 5-20-1829 10-28-1874 ROGERS ___ 4-1-1860 - MARTIN Johnson died 10-8-1899 Age 61 SMALL Lucy 1831 7-18-1877 Wife of Sony Small BAKER Silas 6-25-1816 11-23-1840 ANDREW Emily E 11-20-1814 2-10-1884 Aged 26yr 2mo 20da Consort of W. Andrew ANDREW Lanora 9-20-1842 2-16-1843 Daughter of W and EJ Andrew More than half of this cemetery contains the graves of slaves and freed slaves. I am working to document as many as can be found, and will update this page as information becomes available. From the Springfield News Leader, 4 July 2007: Revolutionary War gravesites added to historic sites register © 2007, Springfield News-Leader The Greene County Commission named four Revolutionary War soldiers' gravesites to the Greene County Historic Sites Register Monday during its regular commission session. The sites, identified by the Rachel Donelson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and nominated by the Greene County Historic Sites Board, are all located in northern Greene County. The soldiers are: - James Barham (1764-1865) Barham was a native of Virginia who enlisted near the end of the revolution in 1781 when he was 16 years old. He was present for the Battle of Petersburg and for Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown. After the Revolutionary War, Barham moved several times, progressively farther west, finally settling in Greene County in 1846 when he was 92 years old. Before his death in 1865, he was honored in a proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln as one of the last five living Revolutionary War veterans. He is buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery near Willard. - David Bedell (1761-1840) A New Jersey native, Bedell entered service at age 17, just after his father was killed in the revolution. He served first as a drummer boy and later in the cavalry under Col. Stephen Moylan's 4th Continental Light Dragoons in Virginia, South Carolina and Pennsylvania. After the war, he married and lived in North Carolina for many years before he homesteaded in Greene County with his sons in 1835. He is buried in Old Salem Cemetery in northeast Greene County. - Elisha Headlee (1760-1845) Headlee was also from New Jersey. He and Bedell were boyhood friends. Headlee joined the service when he was 16 or 17 years old and served as a private in the Morris County Militia. Headlee and Bedell's wives were sisters, which made the men brothers-in-laws. Headlee joined family members living in Greene County in 1836 and died in 1845. Headlee and Bedell are buried side by side in Old Salem Cemetery. - Samuel Steele (1762-1847) Steele was raised in North Carolina and served in the North Carolina Company as a private and a horseman. He married and remained in North Carolina after the war, and the Steele and Headlee families were neighbors and close friends. Five of Steele's daughters married five of Headlee's sons. Steele joined his children in Greene County in 1840. He died seven years later and is buried in Mount Comfort Cemetery, eight miles north of Springfield. A fifth Revolutionary War soldier, William Freeman, is buried in the Springfield National Cemetery. Greene County Historic Sites Board Jackie Warfel said it was not unusual for early settlers of Greene County to be so closely related. "They tended to move here as family units," said Warfel, who submitted the nomination applications to the board. "Three of these soldiers were friends from the time of the revolution. They built a lasting bond while they were very young, and their families and neighbors came here together and built schools and churches and intermarried." The Revolutionary War soldiers still have descendants living in the area, several who attended Monday's commission session, accompanied by members of the DAR, the Sons of the American Revolution and Greene County Historic Sites Board members. Leonard Johnson Jr., a descendent of Barham, said he found out about his ancestor's involvement in the revolution in the 1970s when he visited Mount Pleasant Cemetery and found a special military grave marker that had been placed there by the DAR in 1911. "I'm kind of thrilled about the big brown sign," Johnson said about the Greene County Historic Sites marker that will be placed at the cemetery. "That means my descendants won't have to struggle to find the gravestone." Larry Voris, who is a great-great-great-great grandson of both Samuel Steele and Elisha Headlee, said having family members in the military today reminds him of the sacrifices of his ancestors who fought in the revolution. "When you've got four in the service, you appreciate those people who fought before," said Voris, whose son, son-in-law, grandson and nephew are currently serving in the military. "Somebody has to do the fighting for us, and we have to appreciate those people who did that for us years ago." The Greene County Historic Sites board was established in 1979 as an advisory board for the identification protection retention and preservation of historic sites in the county. County Historic Site designation provides recognition to historic properties and serves as a gateway for inclusion on the Missouri and National Historic Site Register. The designation does not restrict an owner's ability to alter, manage or dispose of the property. From the Springfield News Leader, 20 Oct 2007: Soldiers lie at rest far from battlefields of Revolution Dedication of local grave sites brings focus to veterans' sacrifices and still-enduring legacies. Wes Johnson News-Leader Polly Still bent down and slowly traced her finger along the weather-worn letters etched in a flat stone buried halfway in the ground. Barely readable, the fading marks tell the story of a Revolutionary War soldier who lies in a once-forgotten cemetery north of Springfield. "These letters were just scratched into this soft limestone," Still said. "They didn't have power tools back then." Today, the Greene County Historic Sites Board will dedicate the grave site of that soldier, David Bedell, and two others who fought the British in America's war for independence. As Revolutionary War veterans, all three were given the right to make a "bounty land" claim of 100 acres, which they did in Greene County. Bedell, 1761-1840, and Elisha Headlee, 1760-1845, are buried next to each other in the Old Salem Cemetery. Samuel Steele, 1762-1847, is buried in Mount Comfort Cemetery eight miles north of Springfield, but shares an unusual connection with Headlee. Five of Steele's daughters married five of Headlee's sons, and many of their descendants continue to live in the Springfield area. The Bedell name also courses through Greene County history, in a long tradition of skilled musicians. The grave sites of all three men will be dedicated today to acknowledge their contributions to Greene County's history. Still said she and her late husband Herman had no idea the cemetery existed when they bought the land in 1974 to build a country home. While placing utility poles and and stringing power lines, they discovered a surprise beneath a tangle of weeds and trees. "We found the grave stones and then we found ... depressions in the back that we later learned were slave graves," Still said. "I appreciate how the slaves took care of their own when they died. This area was full of beautiful flowers — unusual ones like prairie orchids — that had been planted among the graves." They cleared the site and Still, a history buff and archaeologist, began digging into the past. She discovered part of the cemetery was originally deeded as a school site in the 1830s. "It was only used for three months in 1836 to teach black children letters and cyphering," she said. "It was little more than a log-pole barn with a thatched roof." The school building later became the Old Salem Methodist Church, with the cemetery next to it. Springfield resident Larry Voris traces his lineage to Elisha Headlee, who was a private with the New Jersey militia in the 1770s. "He is my fourth great-grandfather," Voris said, observing Headlee's grave stone. "Five Headlee boys married five Steele girls and I'm descended from one of those marriages." Voris said he's glad the Revolutionary War soldiers are being honored. "It's important to remember what they did for us in 1776," he said. "It's for the freedom they allow us to have today. Without them, we might be under somebody else's rule." Korean and Vietnam War veteran Clarence Hill heard about today's ceremony and stopped by earlier this week to see the soldiers' graves. "Knowing of my military experience, I appreciate how awful it must have been for them back in those days," Hill said. "They didn't have C-rations. They had to live off the land. If they got shot through the leg, they'd just amputate it. Now a helicopter will whisk you back to a hospital for immediate care." The Daughters of the American Revolution and the Sons of the American Revolution verified the historic grave sites and placed new, legible stones over the graves. Jackie Warfel, a member of the Greene County Historic Sites Board, said it's important to accurately identify and preserve such sites to keep history alive for future generations. The Historic Sites Board and Greene County Commissioners have dedicated more than 50 historically important sites beyond Springfield's city limits since the board was established in 1979. "There may be other Revolutionary War soldiers buried out here in the county that we don't know about," Warfel said. "We hope to document them as well if we can." Two and possibly three more Revolutionary War soldiers are buried in the Springfield area. James Barham is buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery near Willard and was honored in a proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln as one of the last five living Revolutionary War veterans. William Freeman is buried in the Springfield National Cemetery. Some historians believe Samuel Austin, who is buried in Hazelwood Cemetery, may also have Revolutionary War ties.
A copy of an 1897 photo shows Old Salem Methodist Church, which began in a similar form as a school for black children in 1836.
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