People of Sage

Mary Edwards

Mary Edwards passed away of tuberculosis on November 20, 1921. She was born enslaved on June 18, in about 1855 or 1856, to Charles and Martha Stone, who were both born slaves in Missouri. She grew up in north Saint Louis County along the Missouri River near Baden. She and her husband Jim Edwards, grew up together, were childhood friends, and they married at the close of the Civil War. Mary bore eleven children, ten of which survived. They were Marshall (who preceded her and is also buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery), Diane (1875), John (1877) Sophia (1881), Louis (1886), Alvin “Trevy” (who preceded her and is also buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery) George “Sedell” (1891), Lena (1895) Mamie (1910) and Slater (1898). She moved to today’s O’Fallon right after James and she married, and they made their home on St. Peters Road, later referred to as “the hill”, today known as Sonderen. She was buried by the Keithly Funeral home. Mary lays buried in Sage Chapel Cemetery.

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.

[Mary’s broken headstone was first documented by historian Lucille Wiechens in 1988 in the same condition it is today. It has been identified and documented today by research into death records, census records and other genealogical data.]

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