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The History of Sage Chapel Cemetery

Sage Chapel Cemetery is an African-American cemetery located on Veterans Memorial Parkway, just east of Highway K in O’Fallon, Missouri. (Just west of the VFW Post 5077) This is the only African-American cemetery still in existence in the City of O’Fallon; it most likely began as a burial ground for the former enslaved members of the Samuel Keithly household. It contains at least 117 burials that have been documented by headstones, obituaries, death certificates and/or living family members. Of these at least 17 were born into slavery. It became a formal one-acre plot when deeded to the African-Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church in 1881. The earliest visible gravestone is Priscilla Ball in 1900. African-American families have used this cemetery for well over 100 years. The church that is known to be associated with it, which was located further on Sonderen, as Sage Chapel no longer exists. African-Americans that attended Wishwell Baptist and Cravens Methodist were also buried in Sage Chapel Cemetery, and neither of these churches exist anymore either. Despite exhaustive research there are no records to any of these to be found. This continued to be used as a community cemetery for African-Americans and their families until 2015. Efforts are underway to list the Sage Chapel Cemetery on the National Register of Historic Places. That hearing will be held on August 10, 2018 at the State Historic Preservation Office in Jefferson City and is open to the public.

 

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