People of Sage

Winston Davis

Winston Davis died in 1907. He had been born enslaved in Missouri in 1830. His parents though were property that had been brought from North Carolina. He and his wife Adelaide had ten children, of which only four were still living in 1900. Their youngest  son Walter, who was born in 1871 was still living with them when Winston died. Walter had a sister named Laura, and a brother named John. Winston was buried in Sage Chapel Cemetery.

The broken pieces of Winston Davis’ stone were recovered during a canvas and probing of the cemetery done through the efforts of a large team of local volunteers on October 29, 2017. Photo by Dorris Keeven-Franke with Mary Hogan Smith and Rick Dotson. Mary came that day and shared several stones that she knew the location of. The preservation efforts  of Sage Chapel Cemetery is a community wide effort.

On August 20th, in 1881, Mahala (Keithly) and her husband Jasper Costlio had transferred to the Trustees of an African Methodist Episcopal Church for the use by the  Conference, one acre of land, which became known as Sage Chapel Cemetery. This was done so that the former slaves of  Samuel Keithly could continue to be buried in this cemetery. That same deed conveyed a one-half acre parcel on Sonderen Street to be used for a church known as Sage’s Chapel. The members of Cravens Methodist, and Wishwell Baptist, also located on Sonderen Street, also used this cemetery to bury their families. None of these churches or their records exist anymore. Sage Chapel Cemetery is a former African American community cemetery that is  maintained by the City of O’Fallon, Missouri, located at 8500 Veterans Memorial Parkway.  It has 117 documented burials of which only 37 have headstones, of these we know that 17 were born enslaved. (2018) May they rest in peace “As long as a name can be spoken, that person shall not be forgotten.

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