Cemeteries worth a visit

Sunday, June 20, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:40 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

John Sappington, prominent doctor, plantation-owner and resident of Arrow Rock, donated land for two cemeteries just outside of downtown prior to his death in 1856.

The Sappington Cemetery contains gravestones for Arrow Rock residents, several Sappington family members and two Missouri governors — Meredith Miles Marmaduke and Claiborne Fox Jackson. Marmaduke was Missouri’s eighth governor and served in 1844 after the death of Gov. Thomas Reynolds.

Jackson, a strong supporter of the Confederacy, served only the beginning of his term as the 15th governor of the state before he was run out of office at the beginning of the Civil War for being pro-Confederate.

Up the road less than half a mile is the Sappington Negro Cemetery. Oral tradition says that prior to 1856, Sappington gave about two acres of land to Emanuel Banks, who was a highly respected slave. Banks and his family and members of other slave families that lived in and around Arrow Rock were buried there.

This cemetery, which sits atop a sunny, picturesque hill, is the graveyard for an estimated 350 people, although there are fewer than 50 headstones. A few headstones dating back to the late 1800s are still legible. Although this is not a state historical site, it is worth a look around if you are in the area.

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