The tombstone of Josephine Deeds was found in October 1994, buried under several layers of dirt and leaves. The original gravesite cannot be determined, although from her death date it would have been in the oldest section of Union Campground Cemetery. The shape of the stone is similar to many· others in this section, very plain and unadorned. The lettering is primitive and hard to read:
In Memory of
JosephineG. J. Deeds
Born: Feb. 17 A.D. 1843
Died: Dec. 28 A.D. 1844
Dau: of Margie (?) J.T.YD.
A footstone was found in another part of the cemetery with the initials J.G.J.D. Who were her parents? Three men in early Greene County history had the name of Deeds: James Deeds, Joshua T. Deeds, and Joseph Deeds. Only Joseph Deeds had a wife by the name of Margaret. Birth records in Greene County began in 1883. Before that time, birth registrations were «hit and miss”. As a result, no record exists for this young child. However, since the name Margie somewhat fits that of Margaret, research has focused on Joseph and Margaret Deeds.
The Polk County Missouri 1837 Tax List shows a Joseph Deeds owning 2 slaves valued at $1,000, 2 horses valued at $190, and 4 head of cattle valued at $100. In the Greene County Missouri Will Book C, NO.2: “Joseph Deeds of Greene County, State of Missouri, wrote his will on 26 Seep 1842. He named his beloved wife, Margaret M., who was to have plantation in lieu of her dower…” It should be noted that property owned by Joseph Deeds was not in the immediate vicinity of Union Campground Cemetery.
Greene County Probate Records, Book A, p. 31, May term 1843, ordered a sale of Joseph Deeds’ slaves. The Springfield Advertiser (1844-50) lists the death of Joseph Deeds in 1844, leaving a Margaret M. Deeds as one of the administrators of his estate.
By 1850, when the next federal census occurred, Margaret Deeds was listed as 49 years old, born in North Carolina, came to Missouri by 1835.
With so little information, nothing can be verified about Josephine except the dates on her tombstone. A few telephone contacts were made to individuals in Springfield who go by the name of Deeds, but no one was able to establish a Deeds family member who had had a daughter named Josephine.
Her death at such a early age, with no documentations of birth, and without family ties to Union Campground Cemetery, creates a puzzle. All that we can do in 2005 is to give recognition for her brief life and preserve and protect her tombstone.
Prepared By: Jean Rayl