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Western Lutheran Cemetery, Revisited Again

Update: I went back in the late summer of 2021.

We took a walk around the inside of the Western Lutheran Cemetery to take a closer look at some of the tombstones and monuments. I discovered that a Lutheran congregation in St. Louis County has been helping to maintain the cemetery, and I have noticed that much of the wild undergrowth has been cleared since I first discovered this historic burial ground.

I learned from that congregation’s pastor that none of the graves have been removed but I think that many of the markers are gone or possibly covered up from when the cemetery was untended.

There are some beautiful monuments, but unfortunately they are constructed of limestone, like the one below, so the details, including the original inscriptions, are eroded away.

There is one extremely important grave that I stumbled across, which has clearly received a new marker due to its obviously modern typeface, that of Johann Friedrich Bünger, a famous pastor at Trinity Lutheran and I believe a founder of Immanuel Lutheran, the church on the northwest corner of the cemetery property. He comes from a long line of Lutheran pastors. Note that he, like many Lutherans, came from the Protestant stronghold of Saxony. One of the apocryphal and erroneous names for this cemetery is the Paxon Cemetery, and it does not take much of stretch to realize that was a misinterpretation of the adjective Saxon.

If anyone can read the writing, which is in German, I would be impressed because it has eroded considerably. This type of motif is in other Lutheran cemeteries in St. Louis.  It is not the Virgin Mary and John the Evangelist, which would be expected based on Christian tradition, but a girl and boy, presumably sister and brother.

The Huth Family was from Mecklenburg-Schwerin, a duchy up along the Baltic Sea long once ruled by Sweden but lost to Prussia in the Nineteenth Century. It is now part of the modern province of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, and also a heavily Lutheran bastion of northern Germany.

I nicknamed this twisted old survivor the “Tree of Jesse.” Note the plinths for now long-gone obelisks.

5 Comments

  1. Hoping to get down there and walk the cemetery someday, as I have dozens of ancestors buried here in graves that are now apparently unmarked (or unintelligible). Would be interested to know the name of the Lutheran congregation that is helping to maintain. I do have row/plot numbers for many of my relatives and have often toyed with the idea of providing a marker with all their names/dates. I wonder if any early maps of the initial layout of the cemetery survive.

    • The congregation that was helping, at least years ago, is Unity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bel-Nor. I don’t know if they’re still helping out with maintenance.

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