Tucked away but not hidden in August A. Busch (Sr.) Wildlife Conservation Area is the Francis Howell Cemetery. We’ve looked at the Thomas Howell Cemetery a few years back, and there are even more cemeteries founded by the family, including one just a few miles away, showing just how prolific and important the clan was to the settlement of St. Charles County.
Interestingly, and unlike most cemeteries, the oldest burials began in back, and they’ve been working their way towards the front. This is very much an active cemetery, and the State of Missouri is still allowing burials up to the present day.
There is a wealth of historic gravestones, many quite old.
Most of the oldest are limestone, which of course have deteriorated due to acid rain, but luckily the interments switched over to granite relatively early on. I liked this one below in particular.
Some of these gravestones are reminiscent of ones I’ve seen on the East Coast, which shows just how old they are. Francis Howell was from North Carolina, and his son Thomas was born there in 1783.
And here is the grave of Francis Howell himself! The Howells originally settled in what is now Chesterfield, but they then crossed over the river to St. Charles County in 1800.
I think some people might know that Olive Street Road extended all the way from downtown St. Louis to around where the interstate bridge now crosses the Missouri River between Chesterfield and St. Charles County. This was the original location of Howell’s Ferry, and nearby Howell Island is a remnant of the family’s operations in the area.
There are other families who were in the Howell orbit buried in the cemetery, as well. Remember, a weeping willow represents sorrow, so is a logical motif on gravestones.
A finger pointing to heaven is logical, but I’ve never seen a crown before surmounting the hand. It is interesting.
This stone is interesting, and if you look really hard, you can making out the writing and engravings. There is actually an odd-looking animal or beast on the right.
We tried to make out this stone, but it looks like a woman standing over a grave. It was common for women to be responsible for visiting and tending to graves.
All in all, an incredibly fascinating cemetery.