The site for Fort Osage was recommended by Lewis and Clark on their early expedition along the Missouri River, and was later built under the direction of Clark at what is now Sibley, Jackson County, Missouri. The cemetery, located a short distance from the Fort, is one of the earliest cemeteries in this part of Missouri. It was used by the Fort for military personnel as well as by the civilians in the community that grew up around it.
The cemetery can be categorized as a "Customary" cemetery. The cemetery was not originally planned or platted. When the need occurred, individuals chose a spot and took care of their own, and as a result, while the graves are oriented eastward and are in family groupings, there is no real order to the cemetery.
As was common for the military, the soldiers were placed in unmarked mass graves. With no stone carvers available in the area, it is likely many of the earliest settler graves were not markedwith a gravestone. Many were likely marked with a stone, wooden cross, tree or other planting, or flowers. Those with some means would have had to mail order a stone, likely from the St. Louis area.One of my favorite early markers at this cemetery is this marble scroll-top child's marker. The marker sits on a concrete base and features a lamb, a common symbol of innocence and youth usually associated with babies and small children.
Reading the inscription (below) we find this marker is, in fact, for a small child. As settlers new to the area, the surviving parents also felt it important to let those that follow know that this child was born in Utica, Mississippi, only two short years earlier.
Tour Ft. Osage and Sibley Cemetery on Flickr: http://tinyurl.com/dbkv8r Click Show Info to see captions.
See the Digital Cemetery for more about Sibley Cemetery.