Machpelah Cemetery was originally known as the Waddell Family Cemetery. The first burial there was in 1839. In 1849, William Bradford Waddell donated his family’s cemetery, along with other nearby lands, to form Machpelah.
During the Civil War, many soldiers from both sides of the Battle of Lexington were buried at Machpelah. There is also a special memorial to the victims of the Saluda steamboat explosion of April 9, 1952. The Saluda carried Mormon immigrants from England and Wales who were traveling to Utah. Some of the bodies from that disaster are buried in a mass grave at the cemetery.
Among the prominent citizens buried at Machpelah are Stephen Wentworth (founder of Wentworth Military Academy), Ike Skelton (representative to US. Congress and chairman of the Armed Services Committee), William Waddell (one of the founders and operators of the Pony Express), and Gilead Rupe (the first settler of the area).
Cemetery records date only to 1885 with no record of earlier burials. Many headstones of the earlier burials can still be found. Records from the years of 1920 thru 1940 were destroyed by a fire.
Just inside the south entrance is a kiosk with a database of burial locations. Among those mentioned above are several of my beloved family. Too many to feature in just one blog. So, over the next few weeks, I will post 4 or 5 headstones with a short bio of each person.
Margaret Ruth Hughes was born on November 14, 1919, in Sweet Springs, Saline Co, MO. She died on November 26, 1988, in Buckner, Jackson Co, MO. She is my paternal aunt. She was the 10th child and the 5th daughter born to Charles Hughes and Virginia Hayes. She was married twice first to a sailor named Kenneth Smith with whom she had her 1st son. Her husband was shipped off to war and he never came home. Her 2nd husband was Paul Dwain Palmer. They had 2 sons and 1 daughter. Their 1st son died at the age of 7 months. She died from cancer at the age of 69. You may read about her incredible life here: https://wp.me/p4gvQU-wj
Paul Douglas Palmer Sr was born on August 19, 1915, in Winona, Shannon Co, MO. He died on June 1, 1993, in Buckner, Jackson Co, MO. He worked for the Gulf Oil Corporation aboard the vessel “Gulfwave” as a fireman during WWII. After that, He worked for the Missouri State Highway Department until he retired in 1987. He loved the Kansas City Royals and he never missed a game. He died of a heart attack at the age of 78.
Paul Douglas Palmer Jr was born on July 13, 1951, in Kansas City, Jackson Co, MO and died on February 19, 1952, from a viral infection and pneumonia.
Madonna Rose Palmer was born on January 1, 1964, in Kansas City, Jackson Co, MO. She died on August 21, 2001, in Higginsville, Lafayette Co, MO. She married twice 1st to Raymond Darnell and had a son. 2nd to John Anthony Bell and she had a daughter. She died of colon cancer at the age of 36.
Darrell Dwain Palmer was born on November 15, 1955, in Kansas City, Jackson Co, MO and died on June 24, 2016, in Kansas City, Jackson Co, MO. He never got married but he did have one daughter. He worked multiple jobs such as a truck driver, oil rigging, and too many other jobs to list. He died of brain cancer at the age of 61. BOTH MADONNA AND DARRELL WERE CREMATED AND PLACED ON TOP OF THEIR PARENTS.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.