Black Walnut Cemetery
The Black Walnut Cemetery is located near the former community of Black Walnut in northeastern St. Charles County, Missouri. The cemetery, originally located on Moses Robbins’ land, dates from the 1820s to the 1910s. We believe there are about 88 people buried here, many being children from about 39 different pioneer families, many related to the Robbins’ family.
In 2019 several cousins from Kansas and California, descendants of Moses and Abigail Cook Robbins, met in St. Charles, Missouri to discuss how to restore the cemetery after decades of neglect. The cemetery was overgrown with brush and, because it was isolated in a rural area of the county, subject to vandalism and periodic flooding. While there had been efforts through the years, including an effort by the CCC in the 1930s, the cemetery routinely “went back to nature”. The Robbins cousins made a pledge to return the cemetery to its origins as a place to honor their ancestors and other pioneer families buried there. The Kansas and California cousins formed the Black Walnut Cemetery Restoration Project with the assistance of local historian Dorris Keeven-Franke and Jerry Prouhet, an area resident with interest and expertise in cemetery restoration. Work began on two fronts, research on the families buried at the cemetery and cemetery restoration.
A core restoration team under Jerry’s direction made new discoveries of long-buried gravestones and added to the number of families with members buried at the cemetery and in 2021 the restoration was successfully completed. Researching the families buried at the cemetery continues on, thanks to the efforts of the Robbins cousins and local historian Gary Simpkins. The researchers created QR codes to connect the family biographies from the website to the grave sites enabling visitors to read about the families as they walk from one grave site to the next.
As a result of the tireless efforts of many volunteers, the cemetery has been transformed into a beautiful and meaningful space, with its history researched, recorded and brought to life for future generations to learn from and enjoy.
The following families have been documented on this website: Anderson, Bacon, Baker, Bassett/Overstreet/Timberlake, Bemis, Bonds, Cornforth, Deney, Engelbrecht, Gaiter/Cunningham/Spencer, Garvin, Garvin/Mallerson, Grace, Hoddle, Jameson/Harris, Jefferson, Johnson, Johnson/Best, Keene/Havener, Kempf, Kirchdoerffer/Herle, Kluesener, Kuhn/Kunz, Kuntz, Long, Major, McKenzie, Meier, Meyer, Millering, Mittalbargar, Mudd, Murray, Pfeiffer, Prinster/Mauzy, Robbins, Steinkamp, Stephenson, Stonebraker, Walker, and Winger/Long/Pujol. If you have information about any of these families, please use the Contact page on the website and/or join the Black Walnut Cemetery Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/514746299058524 to share your family’s history.
If you are visiting the cemetery in person, please take advantage of the QR code stakes and scan them with your smart phone which will take you to the family biography website page as you walk around the cemetery.
To ensure the ongoing maintenance of the cemetery, the Black Walnut Cemetery Association was formed in 2022 as the steward organization of the cemetery. The Association aims to engage the Black Walnut community, descendants of those buried in the Cemetery, and other supporters in the preservation of the cemetery. Funds are raised yearly to pay for maintenance of the beautiful cemetery grounds. Please contact the Association at the following email address if you have questions or if you are interested contributing to the cemetery maintenance: firstname.lastname@example.org
See coverage of the Cemetery Restoration by Channel 4 KMOV reporter Jon Kipper on June 4, 2023 ‘Look what we found’ Group restores 19th century St. Charles County Cemetery, uses QR codes to bring history to life https://www.kmov.com/2023/06/05/look-what-we-found-group-restores-19th-century-st-charles-county-cemetery-uses-qr-codes-bring-history-life/