Sunday, November 15, 2009

St Matthew Cemetery

This is another cemetery that is a couple blocks away from my house. St Matthew Cemetery was established in 1877 at Bates and Morgan Ford. The chapel was added in 1887. It is operated by St Matthew United Church of Christ at Potomac and Jefferson.

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St Matthew has very few trees compared to Concordia, the one behind my house, but I really like trees in cemeteries so I seem to gravitate to those areas. I was surprised to find out recently that this is not the prime real estate I thought it was. I would love for my final resting place to be under a tree, but apparently I'm in the minority.

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This stopped me in my tracks. The Missouri Blind Girls home was established in 1866 by nine blind young women. It is known today as the Mary Culver Home, presently located in Kirkwood. The name was changed in 1993 "to better reflect the mature residents," so I take it that today it is more of a retirement community.

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You guys know I love the ceramic photos. This one is amazing. Mamma passed away in 1915 and Dad in 1945 and these tiles are still absolutely beautiful.

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I think I have said this before, but I always find it so touching when I see a very old grave that is still tended to, particularly when it's a baby.

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There are a lot of monuments and markers that are in sad shape in St Matthew. I always find myself wondering if there is any way to repair these, or if they would need to be replaced. It makes me want to start an "Adopt a Tombstone" project, like one would adopt a stretch of highway.

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When I see markers like this, I always wish there was some way to find out what the story is. A marker made of anything other than stone is unusual in this area. Whatever the case, there should be more of them. I dig it.

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Behind the scenes fact: I always say these cemetery posts will be "quick" and then I spend an hour trying to figure out if this Ringling is related to THE Ringlings. I'm afraid I can't spend the rest of my life on this, so I have no conclusive answer for you. I didn't even notice the name until I was sorting pictures on the computer, so for all I know that says "Bingling." But I admit that I almost ran down the street in the dark to find out for sure. This blog is a labor of love, I tell you.

One final note: Someone was asking me in the last week about cemeteries in St Louis and small family plots or burials outside of large cemeteries. Hopefully it's someone who reads this blog regularly. Here is the list of St Louis area cemeteries that I mentioned. Even if you are not that person, the list is pretty interesting!

11 comments:

  1. To Beth: You have some nice photos of St. Matthew Cemetery. My husband and I manage this cemetery. I love your "Adopt a Tombstone" idea. These old markers are preserved as best as possible; but if no family remains to pay for the damage, the stones wear away. It is very expensive to repair these stones and the cemetery would be broke trying to do so. Markers belong to the families and it is their responsibility to keep these up. But, as you know from your studies, families are often long gone - and no one is left who cares. Not too many will decorate an older grave - as you indicate in the baby photo that apparently still has some visitors.

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  2. To Beth and Ellen: I am trying to locate my little sister and after years of searching someone thought she might be staying at St. Matthews. Her name is Gail Lynn Snelson, dob 30 Aug. 1953 and died 27 Feb. 1955. I did not live with my father and his second wife, from which came Gail (and I was a child), and the loss was so painful within the family no one would talk about it. Can you tell me if she is there so I can tend her grave? Thank you. Ronald J. Snelson ron3wtglobal@gmail.com

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  3. Ellen:
    I followed your instructions and wrote the Office. My sister is located in Block 7 Section Row Lot 54 Grave 1. It is my understanding that there is no marker or headstone. Can you verify for me? I plan to come to the cemetery next week to find Gail's final resting place. The information states she is in a container. I don't know if that means a casket or an urn.

    RJ

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  4. Hi,
    I found your website as I just learned that my 2nd great grandfather is buried in St. Matthews. His name was Hermann Willer Hansen and he died 8/20/1896.

    If you or someone could snap a picture of his grave when out there I would be super grateful!! And maybe there are other Hansens buried next to him, I dunno. But my problem is that I live on the other side of the country.

    Thank you! And cool site!
    Dan Hansen
    StenderupHansen@gmail.com

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  5. Dan, thank you for visiting my blog! I get this question quite a bit, and unfortunately this is not something I am able to research. St Matthews is 12 acres and 70,000 plots, if I remember correctly. I recommend writing or calling the cemetery managers. I've been told by others who have done this that they have received information on the plot they are looking for, as well as a photo, if available.

    St. Matthew Cemetery
    4360 Bates St.
    St. Louis, MO 63116
    (314) 481-9033

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  6. To Beth and Dan,
    There are volunteers at Find a Grave who will take photos for you. For St. Matthew Cemetery, go to http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&CRid=31361 and look for the photo request tab. You can add memorials there as well.
    Cathy C

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  7. I to am fasinated by the Grave Markers in any cemetery, I considered them "Art". I became fasinated with the Iron Cross for William Webb looking up his Death Certificate I found that he was divorced and unemployed at the time of his death. Possibly the family did not have the means for a Grave Marker and made thier own Marker. I have found many markers made by the loving hands of thier family. William Webb was born 17 June 1908 in St. Louis, Missouri, Expired 18 March 1952 at City Hospital # 1,St Louis, Missouri. He was divorced and as I stated earlier Unemployed. His cause of Death: Rheumatic Heart Disease. I think you depicted St Matthew's Cemetery in a wonderful "Light. keep up the good work.

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  8. Your website is so lovely. I am intrigued by cemeteries also and find myself photographing them on vacation and wondering about the person's life on the tombstone. I have reason to believe that my great-grandparents, Mathias & Fredericka Wiegert are buried at St. Matthew Cemetery. I am going to follow the above suggestions to see if I can get a photo of their tombstones. Thank you for such a beautiful site. The photos of the cemetery are great.

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  9. thank you so much for your nice comment! I've since moved and miss the cemeteries of my old neighborhood. I love new comments on these posts because it makes me take a minute to flip through the pictures again. Good luck with your search!

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  10. Interesting, well researched and well written as per usual, Beth. I too was touched by the freshly tended baby's grave photo. Also by the young son, about Shay's age who died and had a ceramic photo. I'd like to do one for Shay at his bench at Creve Coeur Lake. Also, nothing against cemeteries but I's still glad Shay's ashes are scattered in Creve Coeur Lake with a bench nearby in his memory. That's still what I want done with me so little kids can have a rest when they're tired from learning to ride their bikes and flying kites and throwing rocks in the water out there.
    Your friend,
    Todd Heilman

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