People of Sage

Leo Hart

 

Leo Hart was born June 25, 1931, and passed away on March 12, 2007. He was a Veteran of the U.S. Army and served in Korea. He was the son of Charles Hart and Dorothy Edwards.

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.

People of Sage

Cora Thornton

Cora L. White Thornton was born Cora LuLurean White on April 20, 1922 the daughter of Simon and Cora E. (Abington) White.  She passed away on December 18, 1990.

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.

People of Sage

Betty Norris

Betty Mae Norris was born March 4, 1933 and passed away on December 28, 1981. She was born Betty Mae Elizabeth Hart, the daughter of Charles Hart and Dorothy Edwards. She is the sister of Mrs. Mary Stephenson and she is buried in Sage Chapel Cemetery.

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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.

People of Sage

Elizabeth Hayden

Elizabeth Hayden passed away at the age of 86, in March of 1978. She was born Elizabeth “Lizzie” Ashley was born on August 4, 1891, the daughter of Samuel and Rosa (Halley) Ashley. Her dear husband, Thomas Sandfort Hayden, whom she married  on November

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Photo of the Hayden Family from the O’Fallon Missouri Historical Society (Mary Stephenson Collection)

15, 1911, in St Paul, Missouri, preceded her. They lived on the Salt River Road, west of O’Fallon. They raised nine children, Lovetter (Thomas), Virginia, Mamie, Elmer, Charles, William “Willie”, Mary Jeanette (Woodson), Nellie Jane (Clay), and Rose (White). The family used the Callahan Funeral home at 206 East Elm, and she was buried at 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.

People of Sage

Cora White

Cora E. White passed away on Thursday, November 23, 1972. She had been born Cora Abington on September 10, 1882, the daughter of Louis and Mollie Abington. She grew up in the community of the Hopewell Baptist Church, a very old African American Church south of Wentzville on Hwy N (the Boone’s Lick Road). We know she had brothers and sisters named Fred, Ardalia, John, Oregon, Tennessee and Troy. When she was a young girl of 18, she married Simon “Samuel” L. White on June 3, 1901 and they made their early home in O’Fallon on Main Street. near the home of the town’s founder, the  widower Nicholas Krekel, where he lived with his daughter Bertha Krekel. Simon and Cora had several children, some whose names we will never know, because there were no records. We do know there was Margaret “Flossy”, Arthur, Sylvester, sweet  Jessie who they lost when she was just 19 years old, Frona, Beulah, Tommy, Eugene, Robert, Corine (Thornton) and LuLurean (Vardeman). By the 1920s, Cora and Simon had moved their  family over to “the Hill” which is today’s Sonderen, and were members of Wishwell Baptist Church.  There they had more room for their family, and could raise chickens and have a larger garden because O’Fallon was growing and changing. When she passed, she joined her dear husband Simon who had preceded her in death, at Sage Chapel Cemetery.

 

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Eugene White: picture taken at age 4 months (1918). Son of Simon and Cora White, Grandson of Lucy White. Portrait was taken at Maxwell Studio, 2007 Lawton Ave. Photo from the O’Fallon Missouri Historical Society.

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.

People of Sage

Leslie H. Luckett

Les Luckett – Mr. Lester H. Luckett of 1831 Randolph St. in St. Charles passed away yesterday at the St. Charles Nursing Home at the age o 74. Born April 12, 1898 in St. Charles County to Mr. George and Mrs. Phyllis Luckett, he was retired from Lindenwood College where he worked from 1958 to 1969. He was a member of St. Paul United Methodist Church. Mr. Luckett is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Lawrence (Nellie) France and a sister, Mrs. Marie Williams,

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Daughter of Les Luckett is the first to the left, Nellie Luckett. Photo from the O’Fallon Missouri Historical Society, Mary Stephenson’s collection and Jim Frain.

both of St. Charles. He is survived by three grandchildren, Mrs. Carol Brown of St. Louis County, Ralph R. Cooper of Los Angeles, Calif and Albert L Cooper of Vietnam. Mr. Luckett is also survived by seven great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and other relatives. Mr. Luckett was preceeded in death by his first wife, Nellie Rafferty Luckett who he married the February 21, 1914, and she passed in 1933 and his second wife Margaret Hughes Luckett in 1953. [Both are buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery in O’Fallon] . He was also preceded in death by six children in infancy, three brothers, Albert L, George F. and Joseph M. and a sister Mary M.. Funeral services are pending and will be arranged later by the Arthur C. Baue Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Paul United Methodist Church.

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.

Sage Chapel St. Charles Daily Banner-News 20 Apr 1972
St. Charles Daily Banner-News 19 April 1972 shared by Justin Watkins
History of Sage

Community

A cemetery is the collective memory of a community. 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, Jefferson Sage (2)which became known as Sage Chapel Cemetery. This was done so that the former slaves of Samuel Keithly could continue to bury here. That same deed conveyed a one-half acre parcel on Sonderen Street to be used for a church known as Sage’s Chapel, as preacher Jefferson Franklin Sage was a traveling minister with the A.M.E. Conference. 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.

Samuel Keithly had come to Missouri in the early 1800s, from Kentucky, bringing several slaves with him. John Rafferty, his sisters, Frances, Ludie, Elsie and Lizzie, had been born in Kentucky, and were brought to a community only slightly different from what they had known before. Missouri had entered the Union on August 10, 1821 after a lengthy battle over the issue of slavery. This would become a larger issue when thousands of  German immigrants like the Krekel family would arrive in 1832. In 1855, German born Arnold Krekel had purchased 320 acres that adjoined Keithly’s and set up his younger brother  Nicholas Krekel as station agent for the railroad, naming it after his friend John O’Fallon. German abolitionist, Arnold Krekel would be the

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Photo from the O’Fallon Missouri Historical Society, Jim Frain and Mary Stephenson.

President of the Missouri Constitutional Convention that signed the Proclamation for Emancipation of Missouri’s slaves on January 11, 1865 in Jefferson City. This was Emancipation day for John Rafferty, Priscilla Ball, Winston Davis, Martha Burrell, Mary Edwards, Maria Brady, George Sanders, Lucy White and all the other former slaves buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery. This was also the same  community that these people would continue to make their home “after freedom”.

After the Civil War, the community between between the railroad and the former burying ground on Keithly’s farm grew. Emancipation meant freedom, but it did not mean equal. As education of blacks had always been prohibited, having a school was very important, but it would

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Photo from the collections of the O’Fallon Missouri Historical Society, Jim Frain and Mary Stephenson.

not be equal. A school for just the black children, was housed in a small building that sits on the northwest corner of Elm and today’s Sonderen. Next to that was Cravens Methodist Church, named for a Mr. Craven who had donated the land. This was a Northern Methodist church that had begun in 1871, and would become the only black church for the next ten years. Across the street (Sonderen) was Willis Thornhills place, a social

 

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Across the street to the left is a corner of the Black School, in the distance is the Williams family home, and to the right is Cravens Methodist Church. The photo of the children are from the Obrecht family to which we are greatly indebted.

gathering place for the community. This is where the Colored Odd-Fellows Lodge met regularly.  (This is the Thornhill-Obrecht house at the northeast corner of Elm and Sonderen and listed on O’Fallon’s Historic Register). As you proceeded south along this roadway, you went downhill to the creek,  a branch of the Peruque Creek, where later in 1891, the Baptists from Hopewell Baptist Church (south of Wentzville on Hwy. N) had planted a new church naming it Wishwell Baptist Church.  Just south of Wishwell you

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O’Fallon Community News photo from the collections at the O’Fallon Missouri Historical Society. Date is unknown.

found the home of Liberty Abington (buried in Sage Chapel Cemetery) who had purchased his 1/4 acre of land from the Trustees of Sage Chapel Church, which was sold off from the 1/2 acre they had received from Mahala and Jacob Costlio in 1881. This was apparently done to enable the Trustees of Sage Chapel to pay off their $150 Deed of Trust debt with the Castlio family. There one began to climb a steep hill. The road was dirt. And along it lived the families of Sage…Edwards, Thomas, Abington, Luckett, White and many others. The road led directly to Sage Chapel Cemetery on top of the hill. Near here was where  the churches gathered each summer for their rally, bringing friends from as far as St. Louis to Mexico Missouri. It is said that the blacks loved to worship in this field of Sage.

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Enter a cPhoto of Simon and Cora White and their grandchildren from the O’Fallon Missouri Historical Society- The Mary Stephenson Collection and Jim Frain. Michael is in the shadow on the porch, Arlene, Betty and Michael are children of Pete and Mae White, son of Simon and Cora White.

 

After Samuel Keithly’s death, his property which was directly east of O’Fallon, was eventually owned by George Sonderen, whose name had been given to the road that went from the railroad to St. Peters. Sometimes it was referred to as St. Peters Road, and in the early 1900s, it became known  as “The Hill” although the U.S. Census taker of the 1920s and 1930s, added an additional derogatory slang word. This shows how the 20th Century had brought segregation even to the small town of O’Fallon. The Great Depression would affect everyone, both black and white alike. But following World War II, even small towns would begin to grow. And as the white population grew, the black population left, seeking jobs and better opportunities. America was changing, and it had grown impossible for blacks to find any chance for decent jobs or homes, whether in a large city or small town. The larger the city the greater the chances.

 

By the 1960s, the African American community of O’Fallon had dwindled to a few families. It was the family of the beloved Bill “Willie” Hayden who still remained in O’Fallon, and took care of Sage Chapel Cemetery. He and his children cut the grass, pulled

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From the Friends of Willie Hayden Facebook Group

the weeds and maintained it as long as they could. In 2012, a friend of the family and long time resident of O’Fallon, Jim Frain, joined Phyllis Hayden making sure that the cemetery was preserved. In 2017 countless other volunteers from the community joined them in their efforts. Two local historians Dorris Keeven-Franke and Justin Watkins are seeking to have the cemetery placed on the National Register of Historic Places. This website is a result of the research done for the nomination. Today (2018) 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. The story of Sage Chapel Cemetery belongs to the entire community. It tells of the struggles of these African-Americans, and seeks to give a greater  understanding of their lives. We welcome others to join the community.

O'Fallon Map
Portion of a 1930 map of O’Fallon showing the community residents.

 

 

 

People of Sage

Clyde Dierker

Claude “Clyde” Dierker died on October 27, 1967 when his four-room frame home on West Wabash caught fire. He was found on the floor, from a fire that had started at ten minutes past 9 p.m. The fire had been extremely difficult to contain and threatened nearby homes. Clyde lived alone and was the only one in the house at the time. Even though Fire chief Bill Steiner battled the blaze for several hours, the entire house was destroyed, and Clyde died. It was terribly difficult to keep the fire from spreading to the neighboring buildings.

He was born July 5, 1922 to Edward and Betty (Williams) Dierker. He had  brothers, Harvey, Allen, Louis, Frank, Bill and Julius Dierker and two sisters Arie Harvey and Mae White.  He had

3 brothers OHS
Clyde Dierker’s brothers Allen, Frank and Harvey Dierker when small children. Photo courtesy of the O’Fallon Missouri Historical Society, Mary Stephenson Collection.

grown up living on “the hill” where his mom’s brother, his Uncle Tom Williams lived next door, and Henry Obrecht lived across the street with his large family. He had gone to school at the black school at the corner of Elm and Sonderen until the fifth grade. When he was 19, he was already working at the O’Fallon Rock Quarry. He worked other odd jobs, and at the local sawmill. He often dug the graves for burials at Sage Chapel.

 

O’Fallon Community News, 1 November 1967

City Man Dies in House Fire:  Clyde Dierker is Victim of Fire Here on Friday

A 45-year-old O’Fallon man died Friday night in a fire which destroyed the victim’s four-room frame house, located on Wabash Street just three blocks west of Main Street in O’Fallon. Clyde Dierker, a lifetime resident of O’Fallon, apparently died in his bed as the smoke and flames enveloped the small house.  The victim was alone in the house at the time of the fire. According to O’Fallon Fire Chief Bill Steiner, the house was almost completely in flames when city firemen arrived on the scene.  The origin of the fire has not been determined. The fire department received the fire call at 9:10 p.m. Friday and battled the blaze for several hours to keep the fire from spreading. Dierker was born in O’Fallon on July 5, 1922 and had lived here all his life.  He was employed at the sawmill here for several years and later held several odd jobs. Graveside rites were held here on Monday at 11 a.m. Survivors include four brothers, Louis of O’Fallon, Frank of St. Paul, Bill of Wentzville, and Julius of St. Charles; and two sisters, Mrs. Ethel Mae White of O’Fallon and Mrs. Arie Harvey of St. Louis.

Funeral services were held on October 30th, by the Parish Priest from nearby Assumption Parish, Father Diermann. Everyone was so distraught as Clyde was well-loved and single. This was not a solemn burial, but one full of emotional outbursts from many of the women attending that day. He was well loved and would be missed by many. His neighbors in life were the Edwards, Claiborn and Whites, who would soon  lay alongside him 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.

Sage Chapel O'Fallon Community News 1 Nov 1967-2
O’Fallon Community News, November 1, 1967. Newspaper provided by Justin Watkins.
People of Sage

Simon White

Simon Leslie White passed away on August 13, 1966 in St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Charles. He had suffered a heart attack at his home in O’Fallon, 509 Sonderen Street. He was the son of Rufus and Millee (nee Sallee) and born on August 7, 1881. He leaves behind his wife Cora (nee Abington) White and several children and grandchildren. The family was served by the O’Fallon Mortuary (Callahans) in O’Fallon.

Funeral services Held Today For S.L. White, 85

Funeral services were held today (Wenesday for Simon Leslie White, 85, who died Saturday, August 13, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Charles, Mr. White suffered a heart attack last

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Photo of Simon and Cora White and their grandchildren from the O’Fallon Missouri Historical Society- The Mary Stephenson Collection and Jim Frain. Michael is in the shadow on the porch, Arlene, Betty and Michael are children of Pete and Mae White, son of Simon and Cora White.

Friday and was rushed to the hospital. Services were at 2 p.m. at the O’Fallon Mortuary with burial in the Sage Chapel cemetery. Mr. White was a member of the Hopewell Baptist Church. Survivors include his wife, Cora Avington [sic] White; eight children, Sylvester White, O’Fallon, Mrs. Margaret McCormick, Arthur White, LuLurean Thornton, Beaulah White, all of St. Louis; Thomas White, Overland; Eugene White Chicago, and Harry White, St. Charles; three step-sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces and grandchildren.  O’Fallon Community News, August 17, 1966. 

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.

Sage Chapel O'Fallon Community News 17 Aug 1966
O’Fallon Community News, August 17, 1966, Thanks to Justin Watkins for providing the obituary.

 

People of Sage

William Clarence

William Harrison Clarence was a former Pastor at Wishwell Baptist Church in O’Fallon, Missouri. He passed away on September 29, 1965 in the Lincoln County Hospital in Troy. He was born in Somerset, Kentucky on December 23, 1888, the son of Bowan and Jane (Gilmore) Clarence. Bill and his wife, the former Jane Hayden, lived on the Salt River Road, near the Chain of Rocks Road, next to her brother Tom Hayden. They had no children.  He had been preceded in death by his wife Jane, and his brother Thomas, both buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery. Mr. Charles Callahan served the family on October 2, 1965.

Bill Clarence Services Held

William Harrison “Bill” Clarence, 76, died Wednesday, September 29, at the Lincoln County Memorial Hospital. Funeral services were conducted at 8 pm Friday from O’Fallon Mortuary, Inc. with the Rev. John McCaleb officiated. Burial was at 9 am Saturday in the Sage Chapel Cemetery. Mr. Clarence was a resident of the O’Fallon community for more than 50 years. He lied north of Josephville on the Cuivre River. At one time Mr. Clarence was in the trucking business and hauled cattle, feed and other materials for local farmers. He is a former pastor of the Wishwell Baptist Church on Sonderen Street. Mr. Clarence was preceded in death by his wife, Jane (nee Hayden) in 1946. Arrangements were by O’Fallon Mortuary, Inc.  [O’Fallon Community News, October 6, 1965.]

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.

Sage Chapel O'Fallon Community News 6 Oct 1965
O’Fallon Community News, October 6, 1965, provided by Justin Watkins

 

People of Sage

Lottie Washington

Lottie Washington passed away June 16, 1961 from a heart attack at the age of 63 years.  She had been born June 11, 1898 in St. Charles County, the daughter of George and Alverna “Vernie” (Luckett) Thomas. She was preceded by her first husband Albert O’Day (February 7, 1896-Aug 28, 1940) who was also buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery.  She was married at the time she passed, to Harvey Washington (March 25, 1885-February 2, 1963) of Wright City, Missouri. She and Albert had several children: Alberta, Jim (September 23, 1916-February 2, 1919 at Sage Chapel Cemetery). Walter. Ed (July 7. 1920-March 7, 1922 at Sage Chapel Cemetery), Edith (June 1, 1922-April 1, 1923 at Sage Chapel Cemetery), Leona, Bessie, and Christopher. After funeral services at Neiburg Funeral Home in Wright City, she was buried on June 19, 1961 at 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.

People of Sage

Lucy Hughes White

Lucy Hughes White passed away on January 22, 1958. She had been born enslaved in O’Fallon on the 16th of February 1864.  Lucy married Leonidas “Lee” Hughes as Lucy Singleton, on November 28, 1881 in St. Charles, where his family farmed.  They had five children, son Reverend Fred Hughes (1885-1966) who served as Pastor at several  African Methodist Episcopal Churches in St. Louis and California, daughter Viola Mae Hughes (1887-1975) who married  Alexander Lewis from Howard County and moved to California, daughter Margaret “Maggie” (1889-1953) who  married Spherrel Claiborne (Junior),  and daughter Georgia (1891-1974) who married Wheeler Lewis and later moved to St. Louis. After Leonidas Hughes passed away, she and Thomas St. Clair (1852-1908 buried in Greenwood Cemetery-St. Louis) had two daughters, Rhoda (1902-) and Clara (1904-). After Thomas St. Clair passed away, in 1908 she married Rufus White (1852-1919) who was also born a slave, who had several children by his previous marriage to Millie Sallee, Simon, Sherman and Ethel. By 1920, Lucy was living on Lincoln Street, which is in the City Park is, in a log house that was where the playground is (2018). She worked as a laundress, by taking in wash, and taking in boarders, to support her loving family of children and grandchildren who lived with her. She lived there for many years and is still fondly remembered. She had gone to live with her daughter Georgie in Kinloch, Missouri, before she passed away and then brought home to 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.

Lucy Hughs OHS
Lucy White holding her granddaughter, Juanita (later Juanita Sanders), in front of her log cabin located in what is now Civic Park (the picnic grounds). Photo  (circa 1925) from Mary Stephenson and the photo collection of the O’Fallon Missouri Historical Society.
People of Sage

Mishey Edwards

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Four generations, left to right:  Mishey Edwards, Mrs. Mary Stephenson, Dorothy Edwards.  Mary Stephenson is holding her oldest child, Margaret, and the little boy in front is Albert, her sister’s son. Photo from the O’Fallon Missouri Historical Society – Mary Stephenson Collection.

Mrs. Mishey Edwards of O’Fallon, Mo., passed away at her home Monday evening at five o’clock following a heart attack. Mrs. Edwards who was 76 years old and a resident of O’Fallon for a number of years is survived by one son. Donald of Kansas City, Mo. Five grandchildren, Donald Jr. and Mrs Anna Jean William of Kansas City, Mrs. Mary

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Mishey Edwards tending her chickens. Photo from O’Fallon Missouri Historical Society and Mary Stephenson.

Stephenson of St. Charles, Mrs. Betty Keys of St. Louis and Leo Hart of O’Fallon, Mo., seven great grand children and a number of other relatives and friends. The body will be in state at the Craven Chapel M.E. Church in O’Fallon, Mo. from Friday evening until 2 pm. Saturday afternoon when funeral services will be conducted. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Daily Cosmos Monitor October 3, 1957

Mishey  passed away on September 30, 1957. She was born on November 10, 1881, the daughter of Charles “Freeman” Letcher and Frances Rafferty. She was preceded by her son Gilbert Hubbard, born July 7, 1898 who died April 10, 1919; her son by Arthur Edwards, Rolf Chester born the 5th of May and died the 12th of June, 1912; daughter Dorothy Edwards born February 22, 1904 and died February 2, 1952; and her husband of nearly fifty years, Arthur Edwards, also known as Arthur Vardeman who passed away three months before. They are all buried at 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.

* Daily Cosmos Monitor October 3, 1957 provided by Justin Watkins

Mishey Edwards Daily Cosmos Monitor 10-3-57

People of Sage

Howard Morris

Howard I. Morris passed away on April 29, 1957 and was buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery on May 2, 1957. He had been born in the small town of Auburn in Lincoln County, on October 8, 1889, the son of Shadrack “Shad” and Harriet (Boone) Morris. Howard’s father had served in the 64th U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War. After emancipation on January 11, 1865, Shad and Harriet were married on January 3, 1866. They raised a family of  12 children, however only seven were still living in 1910.  Howard’s siblings were Browdy, Stella, Minnie, Levia, Golela, and Lena.

Soon came World War I, and 27 year-old Howard Morris enlisted in the 65th Pioneer Infantry of the United State Army  on September 26, 1918 where he served in the Headquarters Company. He came home on December 7, 1918. After his discharge from the Army in 1918, Howard married Mary Truelove “Lovie” Luckett Vardeman  (seen below), the widow of John Vardemann, who had died in January of 1918.  (Lovie’s sister Stella was the grandmother of Phyllis Hayden). Lovie was the daughter of George F. and Phyllis (Abington) Luckett. He was a wonderful stepfather to her two sons, John (Nov 11, 1910-June 17, 1976) and George Vardeman (July 25, 1915-November 10-1984). In their later years Howard and Mary  lived with her son George, north of O’Fallon near the town of St. Paul in Cuivre Township. They were members of the Cravens Methodist Church next to the black school at the corner of Elm and Sonderen. Howard was quietly buried in Sage Chapel Cemetery when he died.

Howard Morris
George Vardeman lived with his mother “Lovie” Morris (center) and Howard Morris

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.

Howard Morris’ stone was replaced on August 12 of 2017, and the family given full military honors at the ceremony at Sage Chapel Cemetery.

 

Photos of the Howard Morris Ceremony by Dorris Keeven-Franke and of the Howard Morris tombstones by Jim Frain.

People of Sage

Margaret Luckett

Margaret “Maggie”  Luckett passed away on May 3, 1953 from a heart attack, at her home at 1819 Randolph Street, in St. Charles. She was born May 8, 1889, the daughter of Leonidas and Lucy (Singleton) Hughes. Her father died when she was only ten years old, leaving her mother to raise five children alone. Her siblings were Fred, Viola, Georgie and Ethel. She grew up on the hill,  in O’Fallon. Maggie married Spherrel Claiborne Junior, she had one son, Clarence Claiborne who was  born March 4, 1909 and he died February 2, 1945, and was buried in Sage Chapel Cemetery.  Margaret later married Les Luckett. She was buried on May 7, 1953 in Sage “hill” Cemetery, after funeral services by E. A. Keithly.

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.

People of Sage

Delia Dyer

Delia Dyer passed away on April 9, 1953 from congestive heart failure, after being ill for over six months.  She was born the daughter of Dan Nash  on January 1, 1884 in the Chain of Rocks community.  She married Alex Dyer on the 21st of November 1900 of Old Monroe, in Lincoln County She leaves behind daughters Lulu,  Delphine (Floyd Blackwell) and Elvira  (Fred Ricket). She was a member of Wishwell Baptist Church on Sonderen. The Funeral was at the colored cemetery in O’Fallon, three days later, and was handled by Keithly Funeral Home. Stories passed down say that “the cemetery was named  for the field of Sage that grew there.”

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.

People of Sage

Dorothy Edwards

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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

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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.

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

Arthur Edwards

Arthur Edwards, also known as Arthur Vardeman, passed away June 25, 1951. Services were at the Albert Hoppe Funeral Home on Washington Avenue in St. Louis, and he was buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery on June 28th.  Mr. Edwards was a member of Wishwell Baptist Church on Sonderen Street in O’Fallon. At the time of his death he was in St. Louis County Hospital because he had suffered a stroke. He was born on August 28, 1881, in O’Fallon, and had worked as a farm laborer his whole life. He married Artie “Mishey” Letcher in about 1903.  Arthur helped raise one stepson, Gilbert Hubbard, born July 7, 1898 who died April 10, 1919 and who is buried in Sage Chapel Cemetery. He and Mishey lost one other son, Rolf Chester born the 5th of May and died the 12th of June, 1912, who is also buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery. Besides his wife Mishey, Arthur leaves behind a daughter Dorothy, and a son Donald Van Edwards of Kansas City, Mo.

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.

People of Sage

Jane Clarence

Mrs. Jane Clarence, wife of William Clarence who was a former Baptist Minister, passed away shortly before Christmas, on December 23, 1946. She had been ill with liver cancer and was hospitalized at St. Mary’s hospital in St. Louis at the time of her death. She was born on September 9, 1876 the daughter of Baptiste and Caroline (nee Mudd) Hayden near St. Paul, Missouri.

She leaves behind a brother Tom Hayden (father of William Hayden) and a sister Lula Hayden of St. Louis.  Her father Baptiste had been born a slave on the Dyer Farm and was the son of James Hayden who had been brought as a slave from Virginia. Slave owner George Dyer had freed his slaves (who were the dower and property of Margaret Hayden 1801 KY-1849 MO and who is buried in the Molitor Cemetery) in 1861, when Baptiste was only six years old.  George had given his former slave James Hayden, Jane’s grandfather, 43 acres of land west of St. Paul and north of Josephville, on Survey 3035, for the loving care of his mother Mamie Adaway Dyer, George Dyer’s former house servant. When James Hayden died in 1897, his son Baptiste Hayden  (Jane’s father)  would inherit a portion of this same land. (This is established through records of the St. Charles County Circuit Court records in Probate files.)After a funeral in St. Louis at the Hoppe Funeral Home, Jane was brought home to O’Fallon and buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery on December 27, 1946.

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.

(Special thanks to Cheryl Hibbler and Joe Meier for the help with this research)

People of Sage

George Sanders

George Sanders passed away on May 6, 1940 and was buried in Sage Chapel Cemetery. He was living with his daughter Mary, who lovingly cared for him in her home in St. Louis. He had suffered a stroke in 1934, and was paralyzed and had several other health issues. His wife Mary Ellen Thomas (March 1874-December 1, 1915), and three of his children, son Carl Rodgers Sanders (February 2, 1900-April 13, 1937), and daughters Agnes Sanders (December 24, 1912-January 29, 1915).and Ardell Sanders (August 1, 1909-February 1, 1911) had preceded him, and were also buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery as well.  He had been born a slave in about 1860, the son of Tuck and Mary (Hunter) Sanders in Lincoln County, the property of Mary Sanders in Hurricane. George and his wife Mary Ellen Thomas had moved near O’Fallon in the 1880s to raise a family and be close to her family in St. Paul . He had worked his whole life as a laborer, raising ten children alone after his sweet wife had passed three weeks after their youngest daughter Agnes was born in 1915. He leaves behind William C. Sanders (June 11, 1889-November 24, 1961), Andrew Sanders (March 17, 1892-December 23, 1944), George F. Sanders (April 3, 1895-September 16, 1943 World War I Veteran and buried at Jefferson Barracks), Taylor M. Sanders (April 1, 1898-February 10, 1953 buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery), Lemmie Sanders (May 11, 1909-March 24, 1958),  Mary Jane Sanders (August 3, 1909-November 8, 1948 at Sage Chapel), and Theresa Catherine Sanders (November 20-1915-July 15, 2000). George Sanders was 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.

People of Sage

Carl R. Sanders

Carl Rodgers Sanders passed away while in Illinois, on April 13, 1937, leaving behind his wife Bessie.* He and his wife were living at 1421 Blair in St. Louis. He was born in O’Fallon, Missouri, the son of George and Mary Ellen (Thomas) Sanders. His mother passed away when he was just fifteen and he lived with various relatives and friends growing up. When he was nineteen he worked as a hired hand for Joseph Sigmund in St.Paul. He leaves behind several brothers and sisters, William C. Sanders (June 11, 1889-November 24, 1961), Andrew Sanders (March 17, 1892-December 23, 1944), George F. Sanders (April 3, 1895-September 16, 1943 World War I Veteran and buried at Jefferson Barracks), Taylor M. Sanders (April 1, 1898-February 10, 1953 buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery), Lemmie Sanders (May 11, 1909-March 24, 1958),  Mary Jane Sanders (August 3, 1909-November 8, 1948 at Sage Chapel), and Theresa Catherine Sanders (November 20-1915-July 15, 2000). He was preceded in death by his sisters Adell Sanders (August 1, 1909-February 1, 1911 and buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery) and Agnes Sanders (December 24, 1912-January 29, 1915 buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery).Carl Sanders was buried at 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.

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In September of 2017, Karolyn Terpstra located pieces of the broken headstone of Carl R. Sanders.  Terpstra is President of the O’Fallon (MO) Historical Society and Chairman of the O’Fallon Historic Preservation Commission (CLG).

*A special thanks goes to Justin Watkins too, for his assistance on this extra hard story.

People of Sage

Schylar Sallee

Eighteen- year-old Georgia Mae “Schylar” Sallee passed away on Monday, July 27, 1931 from Epilepsy. She was born in O’Fallon, on June 24, 1913 and is preceded in death by her father Charley Sallee, her brother David Grant Sallee and a sister  Mary Elizabeth Sallee all laid to rest at Sage Chapel Cemetery. She leaves behind her mother Ardelia, nee Abington, and two sisters Leola and Lauretta. The family was served by the Nieburg Funeral Home of Wright City and she was 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.

People of Sage

Charles Sallee

Charles “Charley” Edward Sallee passed away after a lengthy heart illness on February 9, 1929, near Wright City. He had been born in Callaway County, at New Richland near Fulton, on April 3, 1878 (1879), to John Sallee who died when he was a baby, and raised by his uncle James Henry and his wife Edie (nee Clark) Sallee. He moved to O’Fallon as a young man and lived north of town on the Salt River Road. He  worked as a farmer and this was where he met Ardalia Abington, a daughter of John Abington who lived with his sister Cora White on “the Hill”. On March 15, 1918 he and Ardalia were married  in O’Fallon, Missouri at Wishwell Baptist Churh. Charley was preceded in death by his newborn son David Grant Sallee (7/4/1910-7/5/1910), and a little daughter Mary Elizabeth Sallee (6/4/1918-5/26/1919), both of whom are also buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery. He leaves behind his wife Ardalia, daughter Georgia Mae “Schylar” Sallee, Leola Margaret Sallee (Ball) and Lauretta Sallee (Luckett), at their home where they had recently moved. The family was served by the Nieburg Funeral Home of Wright City and Charley was buried in the O’Fallon Colored Church Cemetery, also known as 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.

People of Sage

Jessie White

Jessie White died at her home in O’Fallon, Missouri Sunday, November 20, 1927 of complications with Tuberculosis. She was born the daughter of Simon and Cora (Abington) White and had grown up and lived on “the Hill” her entire life. Born on November 4, 1908, she had just reached her eighteenth birthday. She leaves behind several brothers and sisters; Flossie, Arthur, Sylvester, Beulah, Thomas, Eugene, Corinne, and Harry. The family was served by the Keithly Funeral home and she was buried at 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.

People of Sage

Mary Brady

Maria Brady passed away March 8, 1924.  She was born enslaved in Missouri about August of 1858 to Reuben and Pheby Carter. She grew up in west Saint Charles County near Wentzville. On the 15th of January, 1894 she married Frank Brady. Mary had five children., Charley born 1882, Myrtle born 1884, Alex born 1895 (UMKC Board) and Eli born 1895. She and Frank adopted and raised Adam and Leonard Galloway. Served by the Keithly Funeral Home, she was laid to rest in Sage Chapel Cemetery.

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Mary Brady’s husband Frank Brady. Photo from the O’Fallon Missouri Historical Society and Mary Stephenson.

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.

People of Sage

Thomas Clarence

Thomas Clarence was born in Kentucky in about 1877. He and his brother William were a Baptist family who had come north looking for work. Married and divorced he had worked many jobs, at the shoe factory, as a steelworker, and even as a carpenter. Previously he had lived in St. Louis, but had come to live with family in Gilmore, a railroad town in St. Charles County west of O’Fallon. He had been ill with pneumonia for over three months when he died of a lung hemorrhage on October 23, 1923.  Served by the Keithly Funeral Home, he was laid to rest 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.

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.]

People of Sage

E.W. Abington

Eldora Abington, wife of Liberty Abington, passed away on March 28, 1921, in her home, next door to Sage Chapel, in O’Fallon. She was born June 15, 1868, the daughter of Alex Welch. She leaves behind Jessica born 1887, Bessie born 1889, Allie born 1892, Todie born 1896, and a son Eddy born 1903. E.A. Keithly of O’Fallon served as the undertaker for the Abington family. She is 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.

People of Sage

Mary E. Sallee

Mary Elizabeth Sallee, aged 11 months and 22 days, died of colic on May 26, 1919. She was born June 4, 1918, near O’Fallon, the daughter of Charles and Ardelia (nee Abington) Sallee. She leaves behind two sisters, Georgia Mae “Schylar” and Leola Sallee, both still at home. E.A. Keithly of O’Fallon was the undertaker. She is 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.

People of Sage

Florence Vardeman

Nine-year-old Florence Beatrice Vardeman, died of pneumonia on February 28, 1911. The daughter of John and and “Lovie” (Mary Truelove nee Luckett) Vardeman, she was born August 8, 1902 in St. Paul. E.A. Keithly of O’Fallon was the undertaker. She is 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.

People of Sage

Martha Burrell

Martha Burrell passed away on January 5, 1908. She was born enslaved in 1849, in North Carolina, as were her parents, and brought to Missouri by the Williams family. She was united in marriage at the end of the Civil War, as many emancipated slaves were by a lawful marriage, to be paid for by her former master, to another former slave, Walter Enoch Burrell. He had been born in Virginia, as had his parents, and brought to Missouri by the Keithly family of O’Fallon.

Walter and Martha had at least two children we know, a son also named Walter Burrell ( who lies buried in the Father Dickson Cemetery in St. Louis) and Alena Burrell ,  who was born October 1868 and who died and was buried in Sage Chapel Cemetery on July 27, 1925. Walter and Martha’s daughter Alena had married John Rafferty  born  on August 12, 1860, and who died on April 7, 1954, the son of John and Ann Rafferty who is also buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery.

The Raffertys, John and his sisters, Frances, Ludy, Elsie, and Lizzie had all been slaves of the Samuel Keithly who had come to Missouri in the early 1800s. When John Rafferty (Senior) passed away about 1881, his former master Samuel Keithly (Senior) had already passed away as well. Burials had already been taking place on the former Keithly plantation, on land that had been inherited, and was then owned in 1881 by his daughter  Mahala Keithly Castlio and her husband Jasper N. Castlio.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

People of Sage

Alvin Edwards

Alvin Edwards, who everyone called “Trevy”, died tragically at age 19, on June 19, 1907 when his injuries proved fatal after being run over by a train on the M.K.&T. Railroad above St. Charles. According to the June 19th, 1907 issue of the St. Charles Cosmos-Monitor (see below) there were no eye witnesses to the accident. He worked for the sand plant in Klondyke, in southern St. Charles County, and perhaps he had hitched a ride on a boxcar to get home. On the north side of St. Charles, he had jumped, perhaps he fell or slipped, and both legs were severed in the accident. Trevy had been born November of 1889, the son of James and Mary J. (nee Stone) Edwards, and grew up on “the hill” in O’Fallon. He was preceded in death by his brother Marshall and nephew Roman who are also buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery. He left behind his grieving parents and several brothers and sisters, Sedell, Mamie, Lena and Slater. He is buried in Sage Chapel Cemetery.

The broken pieces of Alvin Edwards stone (shown above) 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. The newspaper (below) was supplied by historian Justin Watkins.

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.

Sage Chapel St. Charles Cosmos-Monitor 19 Jun 1907
St. Charles Cosmos Monitor June 19, 1907
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.

People of Sage

Hilda Claiborne

Hilda Abington Claiborne who died September 23, 1903 in Saint Charles County was born Hilda Abington on October 14, 1869. On August 1, 1889 she was united in marriage to Sandy Claiborne. She left behind her loving husband and three sons, Ollie born May 1890, Pitman born December 1892, and Sidney born February 1896. The family lived on “The hill” in O’Fallon, Missouri. Hilda Claiborne’s headstone reads Here I lay my burden down turn the cross into a crown.

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.

People of Sage

Marshall Edwards

Marshall Edwards died June 26, 1902. He was born the son of James and Mary J. (Stone) Edwards on February 3, 1874 in O’Fallon, Missouri, and grew up on the hill. He was the oldest son and left behind several brothers and sisters,Diane,John, Sophia, Louis, Trevy, George, Lena,Mamie and Slater. He leaves behind his wife Mabel, formerly Mabel Tucker. His daughter Martha will be born eight months after he died. Marshall is buried with his  five year old son Roman, who preceded him in death, 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.

People of Sage

Pricella Ball

Priscella Admire Ball,  formerly of Monroe, in Lincoln County Missouri died on 25th of May 1900. She was born enslaved in Kentucky in 1811. On February 6, 1866, she wed David Ball, born 1810 in Virginia.  She left behind a grandson, David Clement, also born in Kentucky in 1865.

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.

People of Sage

Roman V. Edwards

Roman V. Edwards, age 5 years and 3 months, died 29 October 1898. He was born May of 1893, the beloved son of Marshall Edwards, and dear grandson of James Edwards and Mary J. (Stone) Edwards. He left behind several aunts and uncles in O’Fallon, Missouri.

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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The History of Sage Chapel Cemetery

Sage Chapel Cemetery is an African-American cemetery located on Veterans Memorial Parkway, just east of Highway K in O’Fallon, Missouri. (Just west of the VFW Post 5077) This is the only African-American cemetery still in existence in the City of O’Fallon; it most likely began as a burial ground for the former enslaved members of the Samuel Keithly household. It contains at least 117 burials that have been documented by headstones, obituaries, death certificates and/or living family members. Of these at least 17 were born into slavery. It became a formal one-acre plot when deeded to the African-Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church in 1881. The earliest visible gravestone is Priscilla Ball in 1900. African-American families have used this cemetery for well over 100 years. The church that is known to be associated with it, which was located further on Sonderen, as Sage Chapel no longer exists. African-Americans that attended Wishwell Baptist and Cravens Methodist were also buried in Sage Chapel Cemetery, and neither of these churches exist anymore either. Despite exhaustive research there are no records to any of these to be found. This continued to be used as a community cemetery for African-Americans and their families until 2015. Efforts are underway to list the Sage Chapel Cemetery on the National Register of Historic Places. That hearing will be held on August 10, 2018 at the State Historic Preservation Office in Jefferson City and is open to the public.

 

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A devoted community…

When researching the Sage Chapel Cemetery’s history one can be amazed at the wonderful relationship the entire community has had for years! So many people have been involved over the years, caring about this special place, and wanted to see it preserved. Sage Chapel Cemetery is a testimony to the number of people who have cared about it. Here is an excerpt from the O’Fallon Community News, 18 February 2004 by a writer named Patricia Swinger:

“Several months ago now, I got a note from Judge Earl Drennan asking me if I knew Eightanything about the Sage Chapel Cemetery. I didn’t know anything about it, except that it was situated next to the VFW Hall on Veteran’s Memorial Parkway. To be perfectly honest, I’d never even noticed the sign “Sage Chapel Cemetery” and had never heard of the Sage Chapel. Since I’m one of those strange people who like to walk through cemeteries in historic cities, Lewis and I decided to take a look for ourselves.

What I saw on the headstones were the names of many of the black folks who lived along Sonderen Street when I was a child. Among them were Simon and Cora White, Elizabeth (everyone knew her as Grandma) Hayden, Slick Thomas and his mother. Edward Dierker who was a Blackfoot Indian … according to his granddaughter, Arlene White.

It’s been quite a task, tracking down the story behind Sage Chapel and the cemetery that took its name. I talked to Mary Stephenson whose family lived in St. Paul and then moved to O’Fallon so the children could go to Franklin High School in St. Charles. Mary went to the little white church that sat next to the creek on Sonderen, the Wish Well [sic] Baptist Church. Most of her family, though, went to the Methodist Church that was next to the black school at the corner of Sonderen and Elm. That’s the church she remembers as Sage Chapel.

I got a slightly different story, though, when I talked to Tommy White, Simon White’s son who, by the way, will turn eighty-nine this Valentine’s Day. Though the Sage Chapel he

Photo 5
Simon and Cora White and their grandchildren

heard tell of was before even his time, it was his understanding that Sage Chapel was originally located midway on Sonderen, approximately where Pitman meets Sonderen.

All of this took place even before Sonderen Street was given its name. The Sonderen family owned a strip of farmland that stretched from Old Highway 40 all the way up to St. Joseph St., north of the railroad tracks. Frank Amptmann’s grandparents, Gerhardt and Elizabeth Sonderen, built the original Wildwood Saloon that is now Ethyl’s. According to Arlene White, the church was named Sage Chapel after the sage fields that grew wild on the middle portion of the Sonderen property. Black folks used to gather in those sage fields to worship and later on, pooled their resources to build the church. Some people understood that the land had long ago been given to the black community for a cemetery; some thought that the black families also pooled their resources to buy the land. Exactly how the land for the cemetery was transferred and where Sage Chapel was may have to remain a mystery.

It should tell us something, I think, that so few records and photographs remain to tell the story of O’Fallon’s black community. Before Sonderen Street got its name, Mary Stephenson

Ten
Sage Chapel Cemetery

tells me that this street, where most of the black folks lived, was referred to as simply “The Hill.” Arlene White told me that, in 1922, a deed for one of the properties was filed with an address that had a racial pejorative before the word “Hill.” If we’re all going to be honest enough to admit that that’s what Sonderen Street was sometimes called, let me also say that I never heard any animosity associated with the name, probably because the folks who lived there were all respected and well-liked. You couldn’t have asked for better people than Simon and Cora White who raised eight children and made sure all of them had an education. Never was there a kinder, gentler and more respected man in O’Fallon than Billie Hayden. And let’s not

William Hayden
William Hayden

forget Louie Dierker, who was crippled since childhood. The story, as Arlene relayed it to me, was that he wanted to go along with the men when they rode out to the fields to work. So he jumped on the wagon and as it bounced across the field, he fell off, hit a tree and broke his back. With no medical care, the bones in his back fused as they were broken and for the rest of his life he walked with a cane, his body bent at an almost perfect ninety-degree angle. Despite that, I doubt he ever missed a day of work.

Anyone who in any way attempts to record history must at some point face the dilemma before me as I write. If this is part of O’Fallon’s history, and it is, it needs to be told and not glossed over just to make it more palatable. Yes, there was segregation, particularly where the churches and schools were concerned. Still, as Mary Stephenson said, “Most folks treated you all right—not all.”

So, to the people who now take their rest in Sage Chapel, I’d like to say a few things. To Simon White: I saw you often as I walked to school and thought to myself what a wonderful grandfather you must be. To Elizabeth Hayden: I will never forget your son’s smile and friendly wave as he drove by our house. To “Slick” Thomas: Mary Stephenson told me you were an incredible artist. I’m sorry I never knew that.”

There will be a program at the O’Fallon Historical Society with more history of Sage Chapel by Dorris Keeven-Franke, on Monday, June 4th at 6:30 p.m. and the public is invited. Please come and bring a friend.

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The story of Sage Chapel Cemetery

Near the center of the largest city of St. Charles County sits a quiet little plot of ground that transports a visitor to an earlier time when many of its residents were enslaved people. Samuel Keithly brought his family and property to what is today’s City of WoodlawnSeminary2O’Fallon, in the early 1800s while the friends and followers of American pioneers like Daniel Boone, Jacob Zumwalt and Francis Howell were settling the area. Keithly was one of the largest slave owners in St. Charles County according to the U.S. Slave Schedules of 1850 and 1860. Among those slaves were John Rafferty and his sisters Ludie, Elsie and Lizzie according to oral history.

In 1855, Arnold Krekel, a German born attorney purchased 320 acres of land on which he platted a town named O’Fallon, naming it after the railroad magnate John O’Fallon in hopes that it would become a stop on the westward push of progress. He set up his younger brother Nicholas as the Station Agent and Postmaster, giving him credit as the town’s founder. This created the unlikely neighbors of the Keithly and the Krekel families, with yet one common denominator. Both Samuel Keithly and Arnold Krekel owned slaves in 1860. Yet there their stories parted. Arnold Krekel, President of Missouri’s Constitutional Convention would go on to sign its’ Emancipation proclamation ending slavery in the State on January 11, 1865.

Samuel Keithly didn’t free any of his slaves. Oral tradition states that he gave the land that we call Sage Chapel Cemetery to his slaves, where they worshiped in a field of Sage.  We do know that in 1881, his daughter Mahala and her husband Jasper Castlio legally transferred property that included a small church building of the African Methodist Jefferson Sage (2)Episcopal Church on today’s Sonderen Avenue and the cemetery which lay at its southern terminus to three trustees of an A.M.E. Church. During that time there was a traveling minister with the St. Charles A.M.E. Conference, Jefferson Franklin Sage, preaching in towns along the route of today’s Interstate 70 between the city of St. Charles all the way west to Jonesburg. He would do so for many years before moving to Kansas in the late 1890s. By that time, there were two other African American churches along today’s Sonderen Street, where a large African-American community lived.

Wishwell Baptist Church had begun in 1891 and was a plant of Hopewell Baptist Church that had begun in the 1850s south of Wentzville on the Boone’s Lick Road. Wishwell was near the creek, on the east side of Sonderen, very close orig deed Sageto the Sage Chapel Church building. The other African-American Church was Craven’s Methodist, begun in 1871, near the corner of Elm and Sonderen. Next to Craven’s, directly on the corner, was the town’s African-American school, and across the street was the “Colored Odd Fellow’s” lodge that met in Willis Thornhill’s house until Henry Obrecht purchased the property in 1910. All of these lay on what is today’s Sonderen Avenue, which ran north to south from the Wabash Railroad to Sage Chapel Cemetery near the former Keithly plantation. This was also the dividing line between the property of the Krekel Addition and the former Keithly family plantation until 1951 and the City’s annexation of property. This was the line for segregation.

Even though all three of these African-American Churches are no longer standing, and the buildings that once housed the black school and the Odd-Fellows lodge are largely

IMG-4578
Simon and Cora White lived on Sonderen Avenue and are buried in Sage Chapel Cemetery.

remodeled, Sage Chapel Cemetery still exists. Significant in today’s world simply because such places are so often lost and forgotten. A peaceful and quiet testament to a difficult time and families such as Hayden, White, Edwards, Thomas, Rafferty and Ball. While many of the community of African Americans left O’Fallon in the late 1950s and early 1960s in search of better job opportunities for their families, some remained. And while many of Sage Chapel’s residents died living in St. Charles, St. Louis or even as far as New Orleans, they were brought home to Sage Chapel when they passed. Eventually all three churches would use Sage Chapel to bury their families, making it a community cemetery.

Today the City of O’Fallon sees that the grass is cut, trees cut, and that Sage Chapel is well maintained. The City truly understands that this place has a collective memory that is an integral part of its’ City’s rich history. Its’ Historic Preservation Commission shares in this mission and is working to see that Sage Chapel is preserved for future generations.

Howard Morris Ceremony
VFW Post 5077 honored veteran Howard Morris with a new stone when the original had become cracked and broken.

 

Members of the community are working to see Sage Chapel Cemetery placed on the National Register of Historic places. One of the largest cities in Missouri, O’Fallon is setting an example of how to honor its history, even one of the more difficult stories. This in turn has led to a greater understanding in the community and a richer dialogue of the City’s history for everyone.

Today’s research tells us that Sage Chapel Cemetery has 38 marked burials yet is estimated to have 115 grave sites on this small one acre which lies next to O’Fallon’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5077 at 8500 Veterans Memorial Parkway in O’Fallon, Missouri. It is estimated that nearly twenty percent of its burials were former slaves. To watch a video by O’Fallon’s Communications about Sage Chapel Cemetery CLICK HERE.

20637905_10210486535543047_8762337177951188877_n

 

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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!