Blog · News Release

Slave Dwelling Project Conference

The story of Sage Chapel Cemetery will be presented at the National Slave Dwelling Project Conference this Thursday, October 25th, 2018 by historian and author Dorris Keeven-Franke. For more information about the Conference see The Slave Dwelling Project at http://slavedwellingproject.org/ on the web.

As Joseph McGill states, its the people who lived in these dwellings, and who are buried at Sage Chapel Cemetery that need to be acknowledged and know that the world knows “I’se was here”. Sage Chapel Cemetery has at least 117 burials, of which ONLY 37 are acknowledged with a headstone, and we know that many were born enslaved. As long as someone remembers, these people are not to 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

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

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.

News Release

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Sage Chapel Cemetery lies west of the V.F.W. Post 5077 on Veterans Memorial Parkway in O’Fallon, Missouri and was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places by Dorris Keeven-Franke, Justin Watkins, and Amber Cox. This early cemetery, comprised of 117 documented burials many of whom were former slaves was officially established by Trustees of an African-Methodist Episcopal Church in 1881. At that time Jefferson Franklin Sage was a Minister of the Gospel with the St. Charles A.M.E Conference. Today, only 37 burials still have headstones to document this cemetery and there are at least 80 additional burials, documented by research found in Death Certificates, newspapers and genealogical research. Other documentation found by local historians Mary Hogan Smith and Karolyn Terpstra has assisted the writers as well. On August 10, 2018, the nomination was heard at the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation meeting and given unanimous approval.

Amber and Justin
Amber Cox (SHPO) (left) and Justin Watkins

Watkins serves on the Board of the St. Charles County Historical Society and is head of the society’s Cemetery Committee. He received the Heritage Award for his “Baptists on a Mission” article in the St. Charles County Heritage.  Watkins is also secretary of the board of the Ambassadors of Harmony, a barbershop harmony chorus, and wrote the chorus’ history for the chorus’ website in 2013.

IMG-3334Keeven-Franke is Executive Director of the Missouri Germans Consortium, serves as a member of O’Fallon’s Historic Preservation Commission (CLG). Curator for the St. Charles County Veterans Museum, and is an author, preservationist, and public historian.

Amber Cox is a National Register and Architectural Survey Missouri’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

The process of nominating the cemetery began in 2017, when an Eligibility Assessment was presented to the SHPO.  The next step for Sage Chapel Cemetery began in December of 2017 with preparation of the actual nomination. According to the SHPO website “The National Register of Historic Places includes districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture. These resources contribute to an understanding of the historical and cultural foundations of the nation. Missouri, where the program is administered by the Department of Natural Resources’ State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), boasts more than 2,000 listings (= more than 35,000 individual resources) in the National Register, all  nominations are reviewed at the state level by the SHPO staff and the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The Missouri Advisory Council is a body of preservation professionals and laypersons appointed by the Governor to review National Register nominations and provide input on preservation issues.”

The nomination was heard and approved by the Missouri Advisory Council on August 10, 2018 and went forward to the National Park Service (NPS). It was placed on the Register on November 13, 2018.

To read the listing click here national register listing sage chapel cemetery

 

 

 

 

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.