Blog · Uncategorized

2018

Today, along Veterans Memorial Highway, tucked in next to the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars Post 5077, sits the special place we all know and love, Sage Chapel Cemetery. This African-American Cemetery holds at least 111 burials that are researched, documented and identified by either a tombstone, a family marker, or research by local historians. But they only tell part of the story. Each person is like a puzzle piece in the history of the O’Fallon community. And as awareness of this special place has grown, so has the love.

There are 111 documented burials in Sage Chapel Cemetery, but only 30 headstones still 20637905_10210486535543047_8762337177951188877_nremain. There are more documented by family members that are buried there.The oldest stone in the cemetery is Priscilla Ball, born an enslaved person, and buried there in 1900. There are 17 others documented that were also born as enslaved people. We know there are earlier burials, as the deed tells us that the African-American Church trustees purchased it from the Castlio/Keithley family in 1881. The Keithley family had many slaves, probably buried there as well. But research of these burials is difficult, and extremely hard to document. Sometimes we have to rely on more than headstones, death certificates, and obituaries. Sometimes we have to go to the people themselves.

Many of these families, the Hayden, the Thomas and the Whites have shared their stories with us, but we know that there is more work to be done. A Nomination of Sage Chapel Cemetery to the National Register of Historic Places, which is over 60 pages of Jefferson Sage (2)documentation only shares a bit of the history! The O’Fallon Historical Society has shared its many photographs in its wonderful collection. The City of O’Fallon’s Historic Preservation Commission is working hard to see that the cemetery is preserved for future generations.

Sage Chapel Cemetery needs you. The City of O’Fallon currently maintains the cemetery by seeing that the grass is kept cut, and the toppled trees are removed. The VFW has placed new headstones in honor of the Veterans buried there. Historians like Justin Watkins have worked hours to see that the Nomination to the National Register is successful. Now we must look to the future for Sage Chapel. Hopes are for more to be done that can preserve its stories.

This means everyone can now get involved and help #Preserve Sage Chapel. If it means supporting the City of O’Fallon and the O’Fallon Preservation Commission you can get 20246287_1699275846751889_7364647450601821068_ninvolved! But it also means that those whose families lie at Sage Chapel can help too now. Please, if you know you have an ancestor at Sage Chapel Cemetery, you can help the story to grow now! We need you! We want to see markers for everyone that is buried there as so many rely simply on the memories and the markers placed there by families. Then we want to see a sign at Sage Chapel that shares its story and identifies everyone for eternity. While nothing should ever disturb its peaceful tranquility, the stories of its people still need to be told. Please help.

If you have family, information, photos or love for Sage Chapel, please share it with us!

 

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Preacher Jefferson Franklin Sage

St. Charles County History

This is the story of a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church who was born a slave in Missouri in 1854. His father had been born in Virginia, and his mother in Kentucky, and brought to Pike County before the Civil War. After the Emancipation of the enslaved people, he made a life in Jonesburg AME church. He appears on the Missouri State Census in Montgomery County for 1876, with his wife Eliza and their two small sons Dick and John.  I also know this from the records of the AME Conference reports made by Brother Samuel Jenkins November 28, 1878. There he is “Local Preachers,

Mary Sage Mary Sage, wife of Rev. J.F. Sage

Jefferson Sage of Jonesburg” clearly indicating he is a Minister of the St. Charles Conference being held at St. John’s AME Church on Washington St.  in St. Charles. In 1880, Preacher Sage has come to St…

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