Hi neighbors. There is good news this month for the living and the dead here in Vernon County. The "2010 Vernon County, Missouri Cemetery Directory" is finally available!
Nancy Thompson, Neoma Foreman and at least 30 volunteers from the Tri-County Genealogical Society contributed thousands of hours over the past six years to get this tome completed. The work is published by the Vernon county Historical Society.
Days were spent trudging through muddy or dusty cemeteries, fighting flies, mosquitoes, spiders and snakes to discover every tombstone.
Some stones were resurrected from beneath the sod. Some graves were discovered that had no stones at all.
It is well worth the wait!
This two volume set has more than 700 pages of burial listings. The index includes maiden names for the women (when known) and adds more than 200 pages of information to the first volume.
The books are dedicated to Nathl B. Dodge, Jr., who was the first recorded pioneer burial in Vernon County. He died March 23, 1838 when he was only 30 years old.
Some graves had become overgrown and even unknown in cemeteries long-since abandoned. Our intrepid grave seekers literally left no stone unturned to find all the information available for researchers.
"So what's the fuss?" You might ask. "Who cares about old tombstones and dead folk?"
The same detail-orientated and determined people who took such pains to make all this information available to we less hearty souls who do our cemetery trekking via our armchairs.
OK, you do have to kind of be "into" genealogy or history to find delight in perusing cemeteries or books about them for hours.
But maybe you just realize some day you have no idea when Aunt Maggie died, or where she is buried. Maybe a cousin from California calls and asks where grandpa's father's grave is -- last they heard it was in "some little cemetery out in a pasture."
Well just think how cool you will look when you can flip though a book and give them not only the facts, but the exact location. You could even go out there yourself and see old great-grandpa's stone with your own eyes.
Maybe you are one of those logisticians who like filling in the blanks of any problem presented to them. Perhaps you are someone who just got a computerized genealogy program and you are tired of looking at those blank spaces under your family members names.
If you are a died-in-the-wool; search every census, birth certificate, death certificate and land deed researching genealogist; you will HAVE to have this book.
Just take time to flip through it -- you'll find familiar names if they died in Vernon County from 1838 through 2009.
You can get copies of the book by contacting the Tri-County Genealogy Society at their website, or drop in at the Bushwhacker Museum where the Vernon County Historical Society has some available for sale.
I'm writing this column on Earth Day ... I thought writing about a cemetery book would be appropriate.
It doesn't hurt to take time to think about not only those people who have died; but all those yet to be born. That's where Earth Day comes into the equation.
All the talk about global warming, a new ice age, loss of resources, the dying oceans, the loss of hundreds of animal and plant species, the lack of fresh drinking water, etc., can really get us depressed.
But the best cure for depression is to get up and DO SOMETHING about what's making us depressed.
I know the problems seem overwhelming. But big problems can be solved one small step at a time. We all have to have the same determination and the same fortitude to reach the same goals.
What should be our primary goal? Helping maintain the planet Earth so it can continue to sustain human life!
We can all do a few simple things to help.
We can reduce our usage of natural resources.
Reduce the energy you use. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. And if you turn around and see red, unplug all those little red lights that glow all over most homes 24/7 when they are not in use. You know -- printers, DVD players, radios, stereos, even TV cable boxes. You don't need to keep these things going when they are not in use. Every little bit hurts!
Until the next time friends remember we are all part of this planet, whether on it or in it. Let's take care of it while we still can.