AfriGeneas States Research Forum
[MO] A name for the nameless
Down a steep grassy hill and to your left, after you pass through the front gate of the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Weston, Mo., sits the “colored section.” There is no sign that says as much. Just a few scattered markers, some no larger than a cement brick. Some have names hand-scribbled in crumbling concrete. Others are just marked “Negro child” or “Negro woman of Mrs. Catherine Harris.”
Many have no stones or markers. Forgotten under unmarked patches of grass that lie in the shadows of contorted oaks and maples beneath a postcard view of the city.
Even as a young girl this part of the cemetery bothered Carolyn Larsen. She always wondered why there were so few stones there when at one time there were as many as 3,000 blacks living in Weston.
“I thought, ‘Where did all these people go?’” Mrs. Larsen said while I visited with her at the Weston Historical Museum last week. “I said, ‘I’m going to find out.’”
And she did. For 20 years. Mrs. Larsen dug through hundreds of years of court records, birth certificates, death notices and yellowed Weston Chronicle newspaper articles to try and put a name and a face to those forgotten people. She had enough material for a book.