Man Discovers 200-Year-Old Forgotten Cemetery, Spends 2 Years Doing What Others Ignored


If you’re able to look past the eerie reputation that cemeteries have been given, you can learn a lot from them.

You would never catch me poking around one at night, but I do love walking around old cemeteries in the daytime to learn as much about local history as I possibly can. I especially love small, seemingly forgotten ones.

A Fenton, Missouri, man was on his way home two years ago when he noticed an overgrown cemetery. The grass and weeds had grown up to his waist and he knew he needed to do something about it.

Some of the headstones were tipped over, but the dates on them revealed that McCormick Cemetery had been around since before the Civil War! Some even dated to the early 1800’s.

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After doing some research and spending some time there, George VanMeter discovered that over 50 people were buried there.

“They didn’t have parades or anything like that. They were just put in the ground. Stuff like that touches my heart,” he said.

Many of the people buried there were early settlers of Missouri, lead miners, and even children. VanMeter believes that some of the children probably suffered from a yellow fever outbreak that plagued the area.

He reached out to the state about the cemetery and was told that they were unable to keep up with the maintenance of all the old cemeteries sprinkled throughout the state.

Since stumbling upon the site two years ago, VanMeter has taken it upon himself to spend time mowing, weeding, and maintaining general upkeep of the land at the cemetery. He called it “a simple courtesy.”

VanMeter said, “I refuse to give up on these people.” He said that he is personally committed to keeping it maintained as long as he’s able.

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He’s hoping to get other involved as well. He recently published a post about the cemetery on his Facebook page asking for connections to organizations and companies who could help restore this small piece of history.

“Why should you help? The question is why shouldn’t you,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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