Searching for a Missing Cemetery
By: CJ Cassidy
PERRY COUNTY, MO --A Perry County, Missouri woman never expected to stumble on a mystery when she tried looking up her family tree.
Jennifer Baker came across something else that's taken up quite a bit of her time in the past year; a missing cemetery.
Baker says the cemetery belonged to the Perry County Poor Farm; that's where anyone who was poor or didn't have family to help support them stayed, and when they died they were buried on those grounds.
Strangely enough, over time, all traces of the cemetery seem to have vanished.
"The three people that can remember.. I had them plot on the map where they thought it was," Baker says.
In the past year, Baker's talked to dozens of folks and visited the site, near the Perry County Nursing Home dozens of times.
A year's worth of research shows Baker, the graveyard was close to where the county poor farm once stood.
"I hope to find anything that might show me where cemetery is located. Something that might look like a grave or a metal stake in the ground, anything that would identify where these people are buried," Baker says.
So far she's managed to "dig up" records of 27 people who were buried there, eight of them, unidentified.
"If you could not afford to bury your own, the county was responsible for you if you had no home," Trish Erzfeld, who heads the Perry County Historical Society says. She applauds Baker's efforts, and adds "It's a huge piece of county history. If we can document the location of this cemetery it adds a huge piece of the puzzle and we can assure them it can be preserved."
"I would hope they would be marked, and that a sign would be put up or a monument saying where those people are because they were people after all and they are here somewhere," Baker says holding back her tears.
The pair hopes someone in the area hear about Baker's efforts and provides them with more information.