The Barker Cemetery Improvement Group, Inc. met for their annual meeting April 9. Group president, Rod May, led a discussion on the proposed marking of the unknown graves in the cemetery. The issue was choosing between a large stone with all the names of the people in unmarked graves or individual stones placed randomly throughout the cemetery for each person.

The Barker Cemetery Improvement Group, Inc. met for their annual meeting April 9. Group president, Rod May, led a discussion on the proposed marking of the unknown graves in the cemetery. The issue was choosing between a large stone with all the names of the people in unmarked graves or individual stones placed randomly throughout the cemetery for each person.
The group decided that one large stone containing all the names was the best choice. West Chestnut Monument, Inc. of Carthage has agreed to make, letter and set the stone for about $1700. Donations for the memorial stone fund stand at about $1730, but the group feels an additional amount will be needed for the entire project. Donations are still being accepted and may be mailed to Mary Jean Barker, Barker Cemetery Treasurer, at 701 North Jefferson Avenue, Neosho, Mo. 64850.
The Barker Cemetery was laid out in 1843 by George Barker, a white slave owner, and Andrew Barker, George's slave. The cemetery has been used by blacks and whites ever since, most of whom are descendants of George Barker and Andrew Barker.
A massive research of the cemetery has been conducted by Carolin Barker Hixon and it is estimated that 18 people are buried in the cemetery in unmarked graves. Their names have been gathered through death certificates, personal letters, newspaper obituaries and other sources.
The other major discussion concerned an early corner post of the original cemetery. The wooden post needs to be protected and preserved. The old post sits outside the cemetery fence. A group will visit the cemetery to select the site for the stone and to assess how to care for the historic fence post.