Posted by: marthabernie | October 20, 2014

LONESOME HILL CEMETERY, Laclede County, MO circa 1905

This photo isn’t very clear, but based on the dress of the men, I would guess it was taken about 1900 – 1905 or thereabouts.

Lonesome Hill is an area not too far from the town of Phillipsburg, Missouri, where my mother grew up.  This photo came to me from a cousin whose mother had handed it down to her.  The photo has “Lonesome Hill Cemetery” written on the back side.

At first I thought this photo might have been taken on Memorial Day, when people went to their family cemeteries to clean up and cut back the spring growth.  This was an annual event for most families in this area, and I wrote a piece in 1997 about how my mother’s family always took a picnic lunch and cleaned up their family cemetery, the Union Cemetery which was located on their farm.  The Lebanon Daily Record published it on the front page of their Memorial Day edition that year.

However, after looking at the photo close up, I think this is either a funeral group or some sort of remembrance service (which might have been on Memorial Day since the weeds and such have not yet been cleared for the summer).  If you look at the photo closely, you can see that the man middle left of the center grave stone is holding up what appears to be the American flag.  Also, the other men left and right front row are all wearing badges and ribbons of some sort.  Odd Fellows were active in this area, but that is only a calcualted guess.  These men are too young to be veterans of the Civil War, and the weather appears to be moderate since there is no heavy clothing.

This cemetery has an interesting history.   It was said that “witches” were buried in the back portion and that one of the older trees was used for hangings.  This led to many ghost stories and alleged “sightings” in the last century.  Today the cemetery is a very peaceful place.  I have visited this cemetery a couple of times and have more updated photos which I will post when I come across them.  One of my mother’s cousins, Francie McMenus, married into the Montgomery family.  She and other Montgomery family members are buried here.  See enlarged portions below.  Note that you can click on the smaller images to enlarge them and have a closer look.  And if you would like a better copy of this photo, just let me know.


  1. Yes I wood BC my Best friend is out there’s so is her mom


    • The best copy of the photo is the one I used for the blog, so feel free to copy it from the post.


  2. I was raised in this area…Lebanon. we frequented this area alot as teens, probably 20 -25 years ago, there was a rock quarry there we swam in, the “slab” of concrete which covered and contained phosphorus railroad cars that wrecked in the early 70s, and of course the haunted cemetery, Lomesome Hill located in Phillipburg,Mo. Back in our high school days we cruised the “back roads” which were basically just gravel roads with no speed limits or cops and connected to every other road in the county at some point…and these roads were EVERYWHERE, all over the outskirts of Lebanon, Phillipsburg, ,Stoutland, Elrdrige…It was a cheap way to have fun, just smoking weed and driving around. Gas was about 99 cents a gallon (at Caseys) so “road-cruising” was the best way to have cheap fun without much incident at the young age of 16 or 17. And since all the creepy, scary places were located on these kinds of roads, we naturally hung out at these spots. I have so many memories and stories about Lonesome Hill Cemetery, the Slab, the Foundation, the Tunnel, Achtley Park, the haunted house in Stoutland…anyone from Lebanon knows these places. I was planning to go back there just before Halloween with some old friends and so I decided to Google “Lonesome Hill” for pics since 1 friend hasn’t been there before. I stumbled upon these pics. What year was this approximately? These are so cool and kinda scary when you zoom in. They look like ghosts. Which headstone are they showing there? Its huge..can you show any details of engraving? I would love to know exactly where in the cemetery they were.


    • THanks for your comments. I don’t know exactly when the photo was taken or in which part of the cemetery. I could only estimate the year by what I deduced from the photo and the age of a couple people I could ID. All the information I have is on the blog post. Thanks again.


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