Barry County Cemetery Project

News about the Barry County MO Cemetery Project

 conducted by

Gerald Haddock

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Rattlin Tombstones


Dane Martin

This story and the photos here are all the property of Dane Martin and may not be used without his permission.

Click here for Dane's address


Dane Martin and Gerald Haddock

[Cousins - they descend from Charles Haddock, Jr. and his second wife Susan (Meyers) Rumbaugh]

It was the last day of March 2004, a wonderful sunny spring day in the Ozarks and we were off to one of those outstanding little adventures in life!

My cousin Gerald Haddock had come to Greasy Creek Holler (yes my Harvard type friends have told me itís spelled Hollow) to visit in the spring of 2003 and we had a great visit. After his retirement from teaching at one of the better-known collages in the US, he has taken on a project because of his love of family and Barry County Missouri. He is finding and listing all of the several hundred cemeteries in Barry County complete with GPS locations. It has become a bit of an obsession with him and his intention is to someday write a book listing all of them. The thing that really drives him crazy is to know about a cemetery and NOT know where it is or whoís buried there.

On a visit in 2003, in the course of our conversations, I mentioned the fact that I had once as a child, visited Seven Star Cemetery with my father. My dadís people came from Star Holler and several of them lived there for many, many years and some still do. There just isnít much about that area that someone in our family doesnít know about.

When I told Gerald that I knew about the cemetery, it was like someone had hit him with a cattle prod, his head came up, his eyes got wide, he stuttered a bit and then told me that it was one of the cemeteries on his list that he hadnít been able to find and could only get a few rumors about. He was so excited he dropped his cold soda and it was clear from the look in his eyes that I had better come up with some kind of answer. I told him I would look into it and we would get it done, but that I would have to have a little time to work it all out.

Now you have to understand how things are down here in these hills, the people who live here are some of the best in the world but fiercely independent to say the least. An outsider has a hard time getting the time of day out of most people but if you are family, even distant family, almost nothing is out of reach. Not only will they give you the shirt off their back but launder and starch it for you. Its best to remember that here, there is a gun behind the front door of nearly every house and every pickup on the road has a gun in it. It keeps people honest and makes for good manners. The idea of barging onto someoneís property to look for an old cemetery sounds like a good idea but should be tempered with some thought of living to a ripe old age.

During the winter, I contacted one of my Martin Cousins who still lives in Star Holler and asked him if he knew where the cemetery was as it had been over 50 years since I was there and couldnít quite recall its location. In his best Hollernise drawl, Donnie Smith told me that it was up behind his place in the woods. He then told me he would love to take us up and show us around. I let Gerald know, and the hunt was on!

Gerald and his wife Faith arrived in the Holler on the morning of March 31, 2004, it was good to see them again. We had a little coffee and good conversation and compared some notes and old family stories and it was time to head for Star Holler. We arrived at my cousin Donnieís house and of course had to follow the etiquette of the Holler. Tradition dictates that you get out of the car and present yourself. Donnie and his wife came out and invited us for coffee and everyone became acquainted and thanked them for the offer on the coffee. Donnie and I made arraignments for him to bring his Coon Dogs to my place at some later date to hunt, we talked about health and the weather and it was time to go and Rattle some tombstones!

We pulled out onto the small red gravel road and followed Donnieís battered old 4X4. We drove past the Coon Dog cage and down the road for a quarter mile or so and then pulled into a pasture over a cattle guard. The drive way led through the pasture and log yard where 40 or 50 nice walnut logs lay and then through the yard of his daughters house. We then drove through another pasture, past the rusting hulk of a 57 Chevy and stopped at a wire gate. Gerald jumped out and with two or three minutes of fighting the barbed wire he managed to get the gate open and both vehicles were through. We closed the gate of course as cattle were in the field.

Next came an old pasture that has grown up in brush and wild rose bushes tried to rip the mirrors off of our SUV. Another quarter mile of brush brought us to the big timber on the top of the ridge, right beside the lane was a nice size tombstone and you could see Geraldís eyeís light up.

We only found the one stone that was dated 1881; we did find a burial vault still sitting on top of the ground and one grave that had a crude rail fence around it. There were several depressions in the ground that clearly were unmarked graves and we did manage to find some field stones that at sometime may have had a name scratched into some of them. 

After an hour of poking around in the leaves and brush we all gathered at the car and had a talk. I asked Donnie if he had any idea of why they would bury people way the heck up on this ridge? He smiled and told us that in the early 1880ís that seven springs had been found in Star Holler and the story spread that the water would cure all kinds of diseases. Very soon hundreds of people showed up like magic to TAKE the waters and the town of Seven Star Springs was formed and became the 2nd largest town in Barry County Missouri. Then very shortly afterwards a huge flood occurred and wiped out the entire town. As many as 40 or 50 people from the town died in the flood and were buried there on the ridge as it was close and most of them were unknown and had no one to pay for the burial.

Gerald had his GPS location, had inventoried the entire cemetery, all ONE of the marked stones and it was time to head for home. We felt like we had accomplished something useful and had a great afternoon with a little adventure. The next time you look at a listing of Barry County Cemeteryís you will know what kind of effort that is sometimes required to get just one stone listed. It was worth it of course and I can only hope that some time you too can experience something like this, itís a labor of love.

Gerald Haddock is attempting to record all the cemeteries in Barry County, MO.


by Gerald Haddock

This project began with the concern which Charles Haddock, Jr. had about keeping good records at New Site Church, founded in 1848, in the Walnut Grove district southwest of Monett in Barry County.  New Site Church still has the original church minutes that he wrote by hand to preserve what he could of the details of the church's history in its early years.
My parents, Hugh and Orpha Haddock, contributed to the record when the published a family genealogy book, Legends of the Haddock Family, in 1976. They made several trips from their home in Grants Pass, Oregon, to the 1960's and early 70's visiting Haddock family members and related kin, compiling information about the extended family.  Before they died in 1986 they gave me the remaining copies of the book and charged me with the responsibility of distributing them to the extended Haddock family and other interested persons.
Mother's family, Marion Vaughan and descendants, also have a long history in Barry County. Shortly after the Civil war he took a veteran's grant of the Bear Wallow Farm at Cross Hollows on Flat Creek, northeast of Cassville.  Janice Treat Vaughan issued a private printing of The Vaughan Family in 2002.
In the summer of 1984 my brother Harold and I drove our parents from Oregon to Barry and Newton Counties. We spent several weeks visiting family members, distributing copies of Legends of the Haddock Family, and in the course of events Harold and I learned much about family history. By 1986 most family members and friends that they remembered from their youth were dead and buried, so that entailed visits to many cemeteries. We were distressed to find many untended and in a sad state of disrepair.  Even finding them was difficult.  Harold and I had never lived in Barry County, and my parents' memories were obscured by more than 50 years of living out of the county.  Through the years even the roads have been moved so to get to many cemeteries it was necessary to find the back road where they were, or even hike across fields where the road didn't go there anymore.
I resolved to do something to document cemetery locations, thus began the map I have been working to produce for several years.  Harold's contribution to the effort is the addition of GPS data to document precise locations.  His Senior Thesis at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1956 was about the concept of establishing an earth satellite system to provide radio signal location technology for determining exact locations on the face of the earth. That thesis was impounded and he never saw it again.  It seems he had chosen a subject that already existed in the concept phase of military development even before the first satellites were in orbit. In 1956 that was "TOP SECRET" stuff. When GPS became publicly available he insisted that I purchase the instrument and use it for documentation of cemetery locations.
The compiled map shows cemetery locations by position on the map; by the traditional Land Office system of Section, Township and Range; and by GPS coordinates.  More than 250 cemeteries are shown over an area extending from Berryville, AR at the SE corner of the map, to Neosho at the NW corner.  Barry County alone has more than 130 cemeteries, and there are obscure references to about 30 more that I still have not managed to locate.
Recently I have begun recording from whatever sources I can find the names of persons buried in the Barry County cemeteries.  This information is being entered into the genealogy program, The Master Genealogist, in genealogical format so it will be much more than just a listing of names.  Where it can be determined, genealogic relationships are also entered.

I have no idea how many entries there will eventually be. Already a list of persons buried in the cemeteries so far recorded can be printed in hard copy. The plan is to provide such a list for every Barry County cemetery to put into hard copy book form as well as electronic data base.  Thus the project has turned into much more than giving location of the cemetery.

My wife, Faith, has asked me why I'm doing all this, and as I try to find answer I think of Charles Haddock's concern that good records be kept, of Hugh and Orpha Haddock's charge to me to distribute the Haddock information in Legends of the Haddock Family, and then I come to the commandment in the Bible, "Honor your father and your mother."  Remembering those who have gone before us is essential to honoring them.

Barry County, MO, Project

This a massive project and will require a lot of work. If you have done some cemetery work in Barry County and would like to help Gerald or are interested in his work you can write to him.  Click here for his e-mail address.     He said, "The sheer size of what I'm doing is staggering.  But, even as I get further into it, there is abundant evidence that every new entry is just that much more than had been pulled together before.  Its all out there, but scattered as bits and pieces in so many sources."

Gerald also said, "But I've been in deep water before and came out of the experience OK. During a Navy drill in 1950 during the Korean War I was one of 20 "volunteers" selected as a victims in a search and rescue operation.  We were put into a motor whaleboat and set adrift with directions to the nearest land, Attu, Alaska, 400 miles north.  We all soon had that "We're in deep water" feeling, in this case it was 5 miles deep. The wave crests were higher than the length of the boat. The fog was so dense that we couldn't see from one crest to the next.  After being  there long enough to gain a sincere wish for solid ground, we heard the throb of a diesel engine, then smelled the fumes, and at last we saw a submarine appear momentarily coming into the wave trough that we were in, and then a wave crest came between us and it vanished from sight. The coxswain turned to our rescuer so we could board the submarine. The waves and the sloping sides of the sub presented problems.  The sub had half-circle handholds in its outer shell and all we had to do was jump from the side of the whaleboat, grab a hold and climb to the deck.  The catch was that the sloping side of the sub necessitated that the little boat nose up to the sub as a wave crested, one man at a time could jump from the gunwale of the boat to the sub and grab a handhold.  As each man jumped the coxswain would immediately back the boat away so it wouldn't collide with the sub.  Woe betide the man who missed his handhold, because he would be keelhauled as he slid down the barnacles on the sloping side of the sub.  After 40 some odd wave crests we all got aboard the sub, and no one had missed his handhold."
"All that is history.  Now I'm faced with a big job before me, and have figure out how to do it as I go along.  I enjoy challenges, so this should be fun., Gerald added."

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