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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Culvert ‘find’ turns out to be tombstone

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  • While working on widening Zebra Drive and replacing a bridge, Jeff Hance, foreman of the Fairview Special Road District, stumbled upon something last Wednesday: an old tombstone.
    “There was a narrow culvert down here [on Zebra Drive] and when we tore the old one out, [the tombstone] was in the headwalls of the bridge, the bank of large rocks that direct the water flow of the old bridge,” he said. “We tore the bridge out, put a new (culvert) in there and widened the road out.”
    What caught his attention that it was something other than just rocks and concrete was something on the stone.
    “It was lying in there and the only part that you could see sticking out was this flat part of the stone,” he said. “I thought, ‘what in the world is that?’ Then I dug around, then I got to see some of the lettering on it, well it was plain to see then what it was. I took the time to get it out of there, as easy as I could. It had rocks piled high on it. It was like they laid it in there and used that as a level spot to start stacking rocks on.”
    The tombstone reads: “Frances P. wife of B. Seamster: June 7, 1861, Feb. 26, 1914.” On top of the headstone, the words are as  follows: “Thy Will Be Done.” On the bottom of the headstone, the words are as follows: “Thy Trials Ended, Thy Rest is Won.”  
    The old culvert was taken out 40 years ago. A newer one was then installed.
    The reason why Hance was working over there was because, “This road that we are working on (Zebra Drive) is one of our ¼-cent sales tax roads.”
    There are two cemeteries located near where the tombstone was found: Mt. Olive Cemetery and Barker Cemetery. Hance said he talked to two people on the Mt. Olive Cemetery Board: Alan Sturgeon and Steve Ray. Ray actually lives near the bridge in question.
    “And they said that they have got a map, Steve recognized the name, that is why we brought it up there (to Mt. Olive Cemetery), he thinks that there are some more people buried in the cemetery,” said Hance. “I have not talked to either one of them to find out if they had done anything.”
    Hance said the stone is in good shape and estimates its weight at 500 pounds.
    “Getting it out, we had a little chip in it, a little scratch, but other than that, it came out pretty good shape,” he said. “For back in those days, that is a pretty fancy gravestone, compared to the old ones. I assume the Bible is on the top of the stone.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Ultimately, Hance is waiting for the outcome of the headstone.
    “I am interested in finding out,” he said.
    For now, the tombstone rests at Mt. Olive Cemetery.
    Editor’s note: if anyone has additional information on this story, please contact Todd G. Higdon at 417-451-1520 x18 or by email at thigdon@neoshodailynews.com

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