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Gone, but not forgotten.
From Iberia at Junctions 42 & 17 go west a short distance to just beyond Iberia’s City limits. Peggy Smith Hake, Iberia, Mo, contributed this information about the Old Gardner Cemetery
Once there existed a cemetery with many gravesites located on the west bank of the Gardner Branch (a creek, which runs along the cemetery site). There only remains blackberry briars and tall orchard grass there today. The memory of the old cemetery had been hidden in the far reaches of my mind for many years until a letter arrived from Wichita, Kansas and got me back on my "memory trail". I could not remember for sure, but I thought there was once old tombstone in that cow pasture. Had I not played around them and caught crawdads out of the Gardner Branch when I was a child all those years ago? Some of the old stones were once piled behind a dog pen and stacked in a ditch near the creek. I have learned that my great-grandfather, Harrison Smith, and his two sons, Phelix?Pea and my grandfather, Frank, hand-carved some of the stones in that cemetery so I have a special interest in them. My ancestors were well-known stonemasons in the Big Richwoods for many years. Frank Mace (now deceased) of Iberia, told me he could remember the old cemetery so vividly. At one time he though there were 30 to 40 headstones standing. As a child he remembered visiting the cemetery with his mother and helped her put American flags on the graves of some old Civil War soldiers. Frank was the son of George A. Mace and Mary C. Adams. Mary’s mother was kin to the Long family who lived in the general vicinity of Iberia before the Civil War. Frank stated that some of his kinfolks are buried in the Gardner Cemetery along with the Longs, and some of the Adams as well. Frank also believed there were folks buried in the cemetery from the families of Castleman, Dial and Peterson. I think there were also members of the Steward family buried there. The Stewards and Long families were among the earliest settlers of the Iberia community. The Longs and Stewarts were kinfolks and come to Miller County together about 1840 or perhaps earlier. I went to the census records for Richwoods Township and have the Civil War years to locate the families who may have lived in the general area where the cemetery was located. They are: Stewart, Long, Allen, Lane, Noyes, Dyer, Record, Short, Marks, Gardner, Bailey, Bond, West, Tucker, Lenox, Shackleford, Arnold, Condra, Groves, Dickerson, Farnham, Jones, Blize, Poner, Aust, Moore, Hume, Setzer, Smith, Schell (black family), Lawless/Lollis (black family), Allen (black family). You can use your imagination and speculate that perhaps some of these old ancestral family names may have been on some of the gravestones that no longer exist.
Inventoried by Peggy Smith Hake.
Last update: 25 October 2001
© 2001 by Peggy Smith Hake.