Research on Union Campground Cemetery was at an all-time high during the summer of 1994. We were attempting to discover all we could in a short period of time. Contacts were made with families, either through telephone conversations or personal interviews and from these contacts many interesting and colorful stories emerged about “what-us ed-to be.”
More than one family mentioned that years ago an old wagon road ran along the western edge of the cemetery. To verify this story, a few photographs were taken. One of the photographs revealed traces of tracks made by the passage of wagons. No evidence, however, of where the road began and ended. A few people believed it started on Valley Water Mill Road and threaded its way along the western edge of the cemetery, leaving the boundaries in the northwest corner.
The ground to the western edge is uneven and overgrown. Small rocks are scattered and embedded in the soil. One rock seemed to be a little unusual. After a bit of prodding, prying and digging around the rock, a perfectly preserved tombstone came to light. The leaves and dirt and protected it from the elements for untold seasons. Lettering on the stone reveals:
At the top of the tombstone is a dove.
MARY E. SAGE
Dau. Of W.W. and S.A. Sage
Died: Feb. 8, 1884
3 Y,1 M, 28 D
“Suffer Little Children Come Unto Me”
The Springfield Land Office Sales Book (1833-1892) does not show a Sage family owning farmland. By 1904, the sales book lists an E.A.Sage, E.W. Sage, O.B. Sage and Martha Sage as owners of acreage in Franklin Township, but no W.W. Sage. Searches were made of probate, tax and census records with no results. Marriage Abstracts (18711893) show a William Sage married to Lucy Haslip on 4 October 1871. The name Lucy does not match the initials of S.A. Sage on the tombstone. The Springfield City Directory and Greene County Gazetter (1890-1891) lists W.W. Sage as owning property in Sec 22, Taylor Township, with a post office address as Ozark, MO.
An account of Mary’s death is to be found in the Greene County Missouri Archives Births and Deaths (1883-1890), p. 186: “Mary E. Sage – death registered by Dr. J.A. Brown – died of typhoid state of system with thrush – suffered 3 months.”
Typhoid, an acute highly infectious disease, is associated with contaminated food or water. Thrush is an oral infection with a fungus, characterized by white eruptions in the mouth. The doctor could not have done much more than keep Mary hydrated and as comfortable as possible. She probably did not take much water of food at the end of her life. How young to die, suffering untold misery, with little medical care because it simply was not available.
Mary Sage needs to be remembered. We can help do this by replacing her tombstone on its base. The base is nearby and in good condition.
No other Sage burials have been found in Union Campground Cemetery.
Prepared by: Jean Rayl 2004