People of Sage

Dorothy Edwards

Dorothy Edwards (left) and Esther Hubbard. Photo from the O’Fallon Missouri Historical Society (Mary Stephenson Collection).

Dorothy Edwards passed away February 2, 1952, and was buried in what her family referred to as Wishwell Cemetery, but also called Sage Chapel on February 5th, from the Keithly Funeral Home in O’Fallon, Missouri. She was born the daughter of Arthur and Artie “Mishey” (nee Letcher) Edwards on February 28, 1904, in the St. Paul area, where she grew up.  She worked for many years as a housekeeper for many of the area’s families. In the 1940s, her family  moved to O’Fallon, and lived on what the local community called “the hill”. They had moved

Dorothy Edwards as an infant. Photo from the O’Fallon Missouri Historical Society and Mary Stephenson.

into O’Fallon so that the young people, like her daughter Mary, could go to High School and get an education. In St. Charles was Franklin High School, where all “colored” children of St. Charles County, Warren County and southern Lincoln Count were “allowed” to go. She was preceded in death by two of her children, Gilbert Hubbard and Rolf “Chester” Edwards, and her father Arthur Edwards. She leaves behind her mother, Mishey, a brother Donald, two daughters, Mary (Stephenson ) and Betty (Norris) and a son Leo Larue Hart.

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.

Dorothy Edwards took care of the McMenemy children. Photo from the O’Fallon Missouri Historical Society and Dorothy Stephenson.

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