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Elmer, Missouri - Early History
History of the Elmer Cemetery
(Reprinted from Elmer Community History 1976)
A short history of Elmer's cemetery, the beautiful silent city on the hill, which was furnished by an Elmer resident, will no doubt be of interest to many readers.
In the summer of 1887, the Atchson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad was built through here and the little village of Elmer began to grow. At that time, a county wagon road wound around and through where the town now stands, and by the side of the road was a little two room house, where lived an old bachelor and his old maid sister. Their names were Billy and Eva Gunnels. They owned a small track of land, and not far from the house was Billy's blacksmith shop where he did blacksmithing for the neighboring farmers. On a hill to the east was their family burying ground, where their parents were buried.
When the town began to feel the need of a burying ground, Billy kindly donated two acres on the hill where his own family were buried. For many years, the little cemetery was neglected. There were some who cared for their graves, others were unable to do so, and many had moved away. The place became overgrown with weeds, the fence was broken down and stray cattle grazed among the graves.
On the first Wednesday in November, 1914, the Elmer Cemetery Association was first organized with Mrs. W. B. Finley as President. Since then, an addition of ground has been added and an iron fence encloses it all. Many lovely flowers and shrubs have been planted making it a place of beauty. On Memorial Day, the bridal wreaths, peonies and many other flowers are in full bloom. The Association hires a custodian and the place is carefully cared for. Mrs. J. H. Miller is now president; Mrs. W. H. Gooch, Secretary; Mrs. Minnie Johnson, Vice-president; Mrs. W. T. Galyen, Treasurer, and Lowell Miller, custodian.
On Memorial Day, dinner and supper is served to the public, which is usually well patronized. Funds raised are used to maintain the cemetery. Billy and Eva have long since been laid to rest, yet their memory lingers in the hearts of the people of Elmer.
The Elmer Cemetery Association was incorporated on June 8, 1965. The first deed received by Gertrude Wigal for the Elmer Cemetery was dated May 37, 1937 for one acre from George Elliott; then again for one acre on June 4th, 1938; and then November 3rd, 1959, for 2 1/2 acres. On November 3rd, 1959, Ollie Davison deeded a small corner to the cemetery. On June 1, 1960, George Elliott deeded 3 1/2 acres to the cemetery. All these deeds read it to be a free cemetery.