Thursday, July 18, 2013

Little Known Pitcher Cemetery Is Rich In Kansas City History

Historic Pitcher Cemetery

Established in 1830, Pitcher Cemetery is not just a family burial plot, it is also the final resting place for pioneers, a Revolutionary War soldier, and the site of two mass graves.

Located at 3306 Blue Ridge Blvd. in south Kansas City, this small half-acre graveyard was originally established for the Colonel Thomas Pitcher family and is possibly the burial site of up to 200 people.  

Mystery Grave
Colonel Pitcher was a local pioneer and Civil War veteran who is believed to be buried in the cemetery's "mystery grave" along with his wife, Nancy,  and their young son, William. 

Ledstone Noland Gravesite
Not far from the mystery grave is the final resting place of Ledstone Noland, the lone Revolutionary War soldier in the cemetery.  Noland served as a Private in the North Carolina Militia from 1776-1783 and passed away in 1839.

Pioneer Headstone
Scattered throughout the graveyard are many unmarked stones.  These are the burial sites of pioneers who passed away from illness while traveling through the area.  Pioneers often could not afford carved headstones, so their graves were marked with simple stones.

Cholera Epidemic Mass Grave
The cemetery's two mass graves are located close together at the back of the property.  The first site holds the remains of cholera victims who died when an epidemic swept through the area between 1849 and 1851.  The second one contains those killed in a Civil War skirmish near the old Pitcher School House on October 21, 1864.  It is rumored that the grave contains both soldiers and civilians, but it is unclear exactly who is buried there.

Civil War Mass Grave
At one time, Pitcher Cemetery was in dire shape, but in 1990 it was restored by a group of caring volunteers and remains in good condition today for anyone who would like to explore it.  It is open to the public and has no set hours.  There is a small shelter house with a picnic table nearby and a small parking lot directly in front of the cemetery.

A bulletin board stands at the entrance of the cemetery with bits and pieces of odd and interesting information.  The graveyard itself feels secluded and is surrounded on three sides by thick woods.  This is important to know because if you don't use bug repellant here, the chiggers and mosquitoes will eat you alive!

As far as the overall feeling of Pitcher Cemetery, it emits somewhat of a heavy, sad aura combined with an old, historical vibe.  There are reports of strange lights, odd sounds, and mysterious shapes floating throughout the cemetery, but while I was there, I did not see anything out of the ordinary. 

If you decide to stroll through this hidden little historic gem, it should take no more than an hour and is a great little lesson in Kansas City history - definitely worth checking out!

Inside Historic Pitcher Cemetery

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