A recent discovery of the Old Emmons Family Cemetery by Conservation Commission Foresters prompted a visit with the oldest living member of the Emmons family.
John Emmons, 91, blind, but still extremely alert, recently made me welcome. After chatting about the mutual friends and relations, we talked about the Emmons' Cemetery which is pre-Civil War in origin and which has not been used for at least 72 years or more.
The Emmons and Odom families came to Ripley County in the late 1830's, in time to be enumerated on the 1840 U.S. Census for Ripley County which then encompassed the present day counties of Ripley, Carter, Oregon and part of Shannon. There were three Emmons brothers: Martin, Griffith (or Griffin) and Daniel; all familiar first names in present day Emmons families. There was one Odom family, that of Demsey (or Dumfrey as it was spelled on the 1840 census). His wife was Delilah and a sister to the Emmons men.
They all settled along the north prong of the Little Black River where many of their descendants reside today. Along Little Black lie the remains of the Emmons' and Odom family cemeteries.
Listed in Martin Emmons' household in 1840 was "one female, age between 60-70." We wonder if he, as the apparent oldest son, didn't bring his aged mother with the family on the long, hazardous trip from Tennessee to Ripley County, Missouri.
We'll never know for sure, as the Emmons Family Bible went into the ashes during a fire many years ago, but it is a plausible theory. John Emmons commented that the two families are like "apples in a barrel, all mixed up and all related."
The only two markers still visible in this cemetery are those of Daniel and Annie Emmons. Both appear on the 1850 U.S. Census for Ripley County, Daniel dying soon after the census was taken. According to her grandson, John Emmons, Annie later married an Ode (Obe) Kasinger from Butler County by whom she had one son. Mr. Emmons thinks his grandmother's maiden name may have been Waters and there may even have been some Indian blood in her. When she died in 1893, she was laid to rest beside Daniel.
John Emmons also knows of these graves, all marked by a field stone, a common way of marking graves long ago.
Martin Emmons, John's father, and son of Dan and Annie Emmons.
Martin Emmons' first wife - name unknown.
Emanuel Emmons, child of Martin who died young.
Lucy Emmons, daughter of Martin who died young.
Young Emmons, son of Martin.
Young S. Emmons, son of Dan and Annie.
Joseph Emmons, another son of Dan and Annie.
Also buried in the cemetery is a "stranger", a man named MONDAY,(Mondays family has been found. For more information on him please contact Harrison C. Monday) who lies "just east nearest the creek." Mr. Emmons said there used to be a native stone marking this grave with the man's name and date of birth and death. In some puzzlement he admitted "I don't know why they didn't take him back to Arkansas where he belonged. He was no kin to us." He added, almost as an after-thought. " You spell his name like the day of the week, that's how I remembered it."
The Conservation Commission Foresters who discovered the cemetery counted about 18-20 possible graves of which John Emmons could only recall those listed above. We think that's pretty good for a "youngster" of 91 who is looking forward to observing his 72nd wedding anniversary with a young lady of 90 he met long ago at the old Shiloh Church House.
I'm happy to add the old Emmons family Cemetery, and the Odom Family Cemetery, to my growing list of forgotten Ripley County cemeteries.
The Emmons family cemetery, recently uncovered near Little Black River's south prong by State Foresters while surveying purchased land. John Webb and his men cleared accumulated brush from the cemetery and visitors are welcome. Only two graves in the cemetery are marked. The remaining burials are simply identified with field stones.
(Conservation Commission Forester John Webb told Ozark Graphic since the cemetery was discovered in an overgrown area south of Little Black, and east of Highway 21, a woods road now leads into it. The cemetery has been cleaned up to accomodate hose who might care to visit the historic family burial ground.)
Retyped from the Ozark Graphic Newspaper,
OZARK GRAPHIC, October 1973
Picture from Emmons Cemetery
Another view of Emmons Cemetery
Headstone of Daniel Emmons
Headstone of Annie Emmons