Springfield cemetery commemorates centennial

SPRINGFIELD,Mo. (KY3) -- The Lincoln Memorial Cemetery in east Springfield is celebrating 100 years Saturday. The cemetery is the burial site of some of the oldest African American families in the city.

More than 1,200 people are buried there, with birth dates going back to 1850.

"If you don't talk about your history it'll be forgotten," said Denny Whayne, a former Springfield council member.

Dozens of people gathered to celebrate the cemetery's centennial Saturday with a rededication ceremony.

"I'm out here today to help celebrate what has been done by the committee, and I have family members here," said Anthony Pickens, who attended the ceremony. "My grandparents are buried right over in this corner along with my uncles and cousins."

After 100 years, board members who work to oversee this cemetery said there were a few things that needed a little bit more attention than they've gotten in the past.

"Some of the people in the cemetery was trying to get out. So we had to put a fence around to keep them in," Whayne said.

A brand new fence and a new marker were donated.

The board also recognized a high school student who planted 10 black nuttal oak trees throughout the cemetery.

People celebrating said their goal is to keep reminding the community of the importance of the Lincoln Memorial Cemetery and those who are buried here.

"It's very important so the younger generation coming up will know where their ancestors are and that they did exist and have lived in this town and have contributed to Springfield Missouri," said Pickens.

Whayne said in the future the board is hoping to get the cemetery on to the state and federal historical registers.

"We want to make this cemetery a integral part of the community," Whayne said.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.