Historic Sage Chapel Cemetery lies west of the V.F.W. Post 5077 on Veterans Memorial Parkway in O’Fallon, Missouri and has been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places by Dorris Keeven-Franke, Justin Watkins, and Amber Cox. This early cemetery, comprised of 117 documented burials many of whom were former slaves was officially established by Trustees of an African-Methodist Episcopal Church in 1881. At that time Jefferson Franklin Sage was a Minister of the Gospel with the St. Charles A.M.E Conference. Today, only 37 burials still have headstones to document this cemetery and there are at least 80 additional burials, documented by research found in Death Certificates, newspapers and genealogical research. Other documentation found by local historians Mary Hogan Smith and Karolyn Terpstra has assisted the writers as well. On August 10, 2018, the nomination was heard at the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation meeting and given unanimous approval.
Watkins serves on the Board of the St. Charles County Historical Society and is head of the society’s Cemetery Committee. He received the Heritage Award for his “Baptists on a Mission” article in the St. Charles County Heritage. Watkins is also secretary of the board of the Ambassadors of Harmony, a barbershop harmony chorus, and wrote the chorus’ history for the chorus’ website in 2013. Keeven-Franke is Executive Director of the Missouri Germans Consortium, serves as a member of O’Fallon’s Historic Preservation Commission (CLG),
Curator for the St. Charles County Veterans Museum, and is a well-known author, preservationist, and public historian. Amber Cox is a National Register and Architectural Survey Missouri’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).
The process of nominating the cemetery began in 2017, when an Eligibility Assessment was presented to the SHPO. The next step for Sage Chapel Cemetery began in December of 2017 with preparation of the actual nomination. According to the SHPO website “The National Register of Historic Places includes districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture. These resources contribute to an understanding of the historical and cultural foundations of the nation. Missouri, where the program is administered by the Department of Natural Resources’ State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), boasts more than 2,000 listings (= more than 35,000 individual resources) in the National Register, all nominations are reviewed at the state level by the SHPO staff and the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The Missouri Advisory Council is a body of preservation professionals and laypersons appointed by the Governor to review National Register nominations and provide input on preservation issues.”
“The nomination has been approved by the Missouri Advisory Council on August 10, 2018 and will now go forward to the National Park Service (NPS)… a decision on whether to list the property will be made by the National Park Service.”
For anyone who would like to read the draft Nomination… Click on this link: Sage Chapel Cemetery(2)