We spent several hours today in the Roman Catholic and second oldest (1857) cemetery in St. Louis, operated by the Archdiocese of St. Louis. It has an interesting history with the land once owned by Henry Clay. The cemetery is 477 acres, just huge, and over 300,000 people are buried there.
A couple of weeks ago while researching our family's genealogy, my sister discovered that part of our line was buried in Calvary. This was one of the Irish branches of the family who immigrated most likely during the potato famine and the troubles with England. We had long believed that all the Barry's were located in Chicago so we were shocked to learn some of them headed to St. Louis. These Barry's are from my father's mother's line and they ended up on the north side of St. Louis in an entirely Irish area called The Kerry Patch.
This intrigued me enough that I was excited to see if we could locate the graves. I have to say, Dale and I were more than impressed with that cemetery's record keeping. When you think of all those years, all those people, no technology, they have kept records of everyone and know exactly where the burial plots are. It took five minutes in the office and we had a map and listing of each Barry we were looking for with the dates they were buried, how old they were and what section and plot number they could be found.
Now this place is massive, filled with paved roads going up and back, side to side and round and round. But all the sections are clearly marked and the map kept us from getting totally lost.
We found the first set of Barry's fairly quickly, section 21.
The first thing we saw was the base and then, oh no, the top two parts had fall off.
I hope to see about getting that fixed. Hopefully it can be upright once again.
In memory of Patrick Barry Born 1845 Died 1910
Oddly Patrick's wife Alice and son James is buried there as well but they have no tombstone. I want to find out if burial tradition back then with Irish (or others) was to give only the head of the household the monument. On each side of this stone are two small square markers which we assume are the place of Alice and James.
The family had 100 square feet of plot space and since the cemetery kept such good records of who was where, and because most Irish were very poor, there was no need to give each person a stone.
The other Barry's were older, having died in years from 1871 up to 1888. They included Patrick Barry's mother and sister. We haven't figured out who the rest are but guess some are children or babies. This grouping also had 100 square feet of plot space. The sad thing is this area, section 6, is very old and many graves are without markers including our Barry's. However the cemetery office knew exactly where they were and who they were buried near with intact markers. So off we went but were sort of saddened that the nearby markers are unreadable. However we narrowed it down and are pretty sure one of the open spaces was filled with Barry's.
After ending the family search we went looking for historic figures we knew were in Calvary.
First was Dred Scott an American slave who unsuccessfully sued for his freedom and that of his wife and their two daughters in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1857.
His wife is buried next to him.
Interesting to us was how many graves had coins either on top of the stone or along the base. One thing we wanted to do was find out why this was being done.
Then on to playwright Tennessee Williams who also had coins around his tombstone.
Finally General William Tecumseh Sherman, Civil War General who is buried in grand style along with his wife, 3 sons and one daughter. He and his wife Eleanor had 8 children, 6 of whom lived to adulthood.
If you look closely above the flag staff and medal on Sherman's monument, you'll see shiny copper pennies.