52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Cemeteries

Coleman Cemetery lies in Vernon County, Missouri. One can reach the cemetery on a dirt road, the kind of road where a dust cloud rises when a wagon or car drives on it to the point where the dust obscures the view of the object.

The cemetery is in a small grove of trees. Rays of light occasionally filter down through the trees. Dirt, tree roots, and leaves litter the floor of the forest. Wisps of grass grow here and there. Outside of the grove, to the right, is a large field of corn. It is so quiet you can hear the wind rustle through the leaves of the stalks of corn and the boughs of the trees overhead. To the left of the trees is a deep impression in the land that appears to be a dry creek bed or an abandoned rail line.

The cemetery, originally known as the Baker Cemetery, is located on the land owned by Augustus Baker. Augustus was a well-known and respected farmer and co-owner of Riggins & Baker, a store located in Fort Scott, Kansas.

Headstone of Augustus Baker

Augustus and his family had the unfortunate luck of living near the Kansas-Missouri border before and during the Civil War. Violent confrontations and hard feelings in the Kansas Territory and western Missouri over the issue of slavery contributed to the death of Augustus Baker. Augustus died at the age of thirty-six on 6 May 1863. You can read about his death here.

Also buried in the Coleman Cemetery is Thomas Bunn Ferguson, the son-in-law of Augustus Baker. Thomas married Mary Elizabeth Baker, one of three daughters born to Augustus and his wife Rebecca (Pryor). Thomas was orphaned when his mother, father, and brother died within days of each other in 1854, most likely from cholera. Thomas was ten at the time of his parent’s death. Mary Elizabeth was almost ten when her father, Augustus, was murdered. Tom and Mary, two orphans, understood loss and hopefully found comfort in each other through their shared misfortune. Like Augustus, Tom had an early death at the age of thirty-nine.

The headstone of Thomas Bunn Ferguson, eroded by time

The most poignant burial in Coleman Cemetery is that of Glen Everett Ferguson. Glennie was the son of Tom and Lola (Pope) Ferguson, the grandson of Thomas Bunn Ferguson, and great-grandson of Augustus Baker. He died at the age of two from a large tumor on the side of his neck. His little headstone lies next to that of his grandfather.

The headstone of Glennie Ferguson

Three souls, related to my husband David, left this earth too soon. In death, they rest in a little peaceful country cemetery. How sad they didn’t have that peace while they walked this earth.

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