The Center Grove Cemetery now has a website, www.centergrovecemetery.com.
By Beverly Clinkingbeard
When eager settlers came to Northwest Missouri, unfortunately, along with establishing a home and protective buildings for their livestock, there was the need to establish a cemetery. There were only a few families in East Lincoln Township in 1845, and quoting from “Gone But Not Forgotten: A Directory of the Deceased, Atchison County, Missouri” a family, Grimes and Hannah (Scott) Dryden, settled south of Westboro, Missouri. The account continues, “After returning home one day from an all night vigil with a neighbor’s sick child, Hannah told her husband that the infant could not live and they should go out on their farm and find a suitable place to be used for a cemetery. They selected a beautiful spot covered with grass, flowers and a scattering of oak trees and donated this parcel of land as a public burial ground. The neighbor’s little infant [Nathan Scott] was the first to be laid to rest there about 1850 or ’51 and a stone remains in her memory. (There is a discrepancy in that the child is described as ‘her’, but in another reference, the name is a ‘he’.) The second burial was Grimes Dryden in October of 1851.” [An updated version of “Gone But Not Forgotten” can be obtained through Delores Harrington, 1006 N Sycamore, Tarkio, MO 64491.]
Thus was the establishment of Center Grove Cemetery located on Highway O between Westboro and Tarkio, Missouri. It is situated on a high knoll with the rippling hills and fields touching a distant horizon. A small village (known as Center Point) was established with a blacksmith, school, store and a church. The little community changed as progress interrupted lives and lifestyles. In 1880, the railroad pushed through and bypassed Center Point. The merchants packed up and moved to the new town the railroad established called Westboro. The new town of Westboro didn’t establish another cemetery, but stayed with their loved ones in Center Grove Cemetery four miles south of town.
For many years each Memorial Day the cemetery hosted a big carry-in dinner. They had a short program and then enjoyed visiting with each other and their families’ graves. These days family and friends of the cemetery gather on Memorial Day for a patriotic program hosted by the American Legion beneath an avenue of the stars and stripes waving in the breeze. Fast forward to 2019, and over the years, the cemetery has received veterans of all wars and it is a place where a grieving parent, child or friend can leave a loved one, knowing they rest in a beautiful setting.
One can only wonder what the initial families, who began a cemetery because it was needed, would think of the world of today, for recently, Center Grove has joined the tech world of dot com and launched a web site. If you are searching for family or a genealogical connection try centergrovecemetery.com. The creators say it isn’t finished quite yet, there will be updates, but it is a great start.
The cemetery has always had an elected board made up of members to tend to its upkeep. Surely the forefathers would be pleased with the attention the cemetery receives. Chris Stevens is president and for burial information his telephone number is on the website. As the cemetery is a “nonendowed cemetery” donations are what keep the grass cut and trimmed. Eventually there will be a means to give a gift on-line, meanwhile, gifts can be sent to Center Grove Cemetery, 16130 State Hwy. M, Westboro, MO 64498, or directly to the US Bank, Center Grove Cemetery, 109 South 3rd Street, Tarkio, MO 64491.
Centergrovecemetery.com. Give it a try.
’Til next time.