Mineral Creek Cemetery
Cemetery plots can be purchased by contacting the City Clerk.
Plot prices are as follows:
Grave opening fee - $110.
BURY ME NOT ON THE LONE PRARIE (by Bob Wyatt, Mineral Creek Historical Society)
The Mineral Creek Cemetery has obviously not always been there. Back before the Civil War (1860's) this area was known as the St. Louis Prairie. The ground was rich and the prairie grass grew to be 15 feet high in places. Huge fires would take place when lightning would strike an area. On occasion the Indians set fire to the prairie because it removed all places to hide for the animals and it was much easier to hunt. The early pioneers were threatened many times by these fires. Often death would come as a result of them. When more and more people began settling here it became necessary to have places to bury the dead. In the earliest days people were buried at Shiloh Cemetery northwest of Leeton or in a family cemetery near the family home.
In 1869, a group of families moved to this area from Ohio. They gathered at the home of Ephraim Mohler and his wife. Among them were John Harshey and wife, Daniel M. Mohler and wife, Samuel Fulker and wife and George W. Reice. This group organized the Mineral Creek Church of the Brethren. Their first Love Feast and Communion were held at the Daniel Neher farm where the now much larger group decided to build a meeting house. Land was purchased from Rev. J. C. Bryson (Presbyterian minister located where Thad Fleming now lives) and a church building was completed and paid for by April 9, 1872. The previous year a cemetery was laid out and established in January.
The story behind the beginning of the cemetery concerned a young couple going west in a covered wagon in 1870. One of their children died while they were near the Church of the Brethren location that had been staked out for construction.
The couple grieved over the loss of their child. The looked around for a place to bury their child wanting the grave to be taken care of rather than be lost in the prairie. Seeing the construction of the Mineral Creek Church of the Brethren the couple requested to be allowed to bury their child near the building. Permission was granted and a short time later the area was marked off for additional plots. Thus the Mineral Creek Cemetery came into existence. The name of the child has been lost but was the first to be buried in the cemetery.
The Church took care of the cemetery over the years until 1912 when it was becoming too big a task for the congregation. The town of Leeton had been established and the railroad brought many more people to live in the area as well as die in the area. The number being buried was considerably more than the church could handle. It was also during this time that the congregation dismantled their building and moved it from next to the cemetery to the actual village of Leeton thus leaving the cemetery unattended in 1913. The community and the church made arrangements February 2, 1922, to transfer ownership from the church to the city. Since that time the City of Leeton has overseen care and beautification of the property.
It has been enlarged several times over the years as more and more room has been needed. The community now maintains the cemetery with donations from those decorating the graves. A box is located at the cemetery for contributions as well as acceptance of them by the City Clerk through the mail or at the City Hall. The cemetery received national attention when Ripley's Believe It or Not came for a visit. The phenomenon known as the “Glowing Tombstone” caught the interest of fraternities at the University of Central Missouri. For a few years their pledges attempted to steal the “Glowing Tombstone.” The story managed to catch the eye of the Ripley's Believe It or Not publication in the early 1950's. They came and did a story on the strange event thanks to a few pledges expressing how scared they were when trying to chase down the glow.
The story goes that a young bride to be was at the altar waiting to marry her fiance but he never showed up. She was devastated and went into a state of depression. Her broken heart it is said led to her death. After the funeral the caretaker was walking through the cemetery and noticed the ground had been disturbed. It appeared to be pushed up. With permission from the city, the caretaker dug the grave and opened the casket. The girl was still laying in the position she had been when they closed the casket but she had dirt under her finger nails. Since that time, on certain days of the year there is a glow seen in the cemetery. It is called the “Glowing Tombstone.” Ripley's suspected the stone was made from a natural material available in Minnesota that glows when the temperature varies some 40 degrees during a day and night. When they discovered that the glow removed to another stone when the original was removed from the cemetery, they dismissed the theory. They next thought that the glow was a reflection. This was proven wrong when all the area lights were shut off and the overcast night prevented a reflection by the moon. Many still say it was a miracle of nature.