Chester Chatter: Every cemetery tells a story

By Ruthie Douglas
©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Chester has seven cemeteries. For many years, Ken Barrett was the cemetery sexton for those cemeteries, taking quite good care of them.

Chester’s cemeteries are very well kept, which is not true of other towns.

Years ago, Ken gave me a tour of the graveyards in his pickup truck and told me the history of each one.

In Smokeshire, he pointed out the gravestone of a 7-year-old girl who had drowned. Anyone just reading the few lines on the grave stone knew that the parents loved their daughter and were distraught over her untimely death.

Ken also told me that the flags at that cemetery would get shredded by bobcats who saw them flapping in the wind.

While living in Texas, I discovered that families of those buried would show up on Memorial Day to clean around their loved ones’ graves, followed by a picnic lunch on the grounds.

Each Memorial Day in Chester, the American Legion places small American flags on each veteran’s grave. So take a moment to remember those who served and died for our country.

Out and about

The Springfield High School Class of 1959 met at the Riverside Restaurant on Friday. It has been many months since we have been allowed to gather. These 18 folks were so glad to see their friends once again.

Fred Perron, who lived in Chester then moved to Illinois, passed away on Oct. 3, 2020. His burial ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. June 5 at the Pleasant View Cemetery.  He had been a pallbearer for my husband’s funeral.

The Chester American Legion held a coin drop on Route 103 on Friday, collecting more than $3,000 for the 4th of July fireworks.

Let us remember the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre, in which white residents destroyed a large Black community known as the Black Wall Street, killing 100 to 300 people and razing 1,250 homes and other businesses.

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Filed Under: Chester ChatterCommunity and Arts Life

About the Author: Ruthie Douglas is originally from Springfield but has called Chester her home for 58 years, and has been writing the Chester Chatter column for more than 40 of those years. Ruthie is also a longtime volunteer throughout the community.

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