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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Kansas City in Jackson County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

The Old French Cemetery

 
 
The Old French Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael W. Kruse, July 26, 2015
1. The Old French Cemetery Marker
English side.
Inscription.
English Side

Kansas City in the very early 1800s was an exclusively French-speaking community and its religious (and much of its social) life centered around its little log Catholic Church erected on a plot of ground near present 11th and Pennsylvania, given to the Church by Pierre La Libertie. Madame Berenice Chouteau was a substantial Patroness of the Church and it was named St. Francis Regis, but frequently called “Chouteau’s Church.” A cemetery was located behind (south) and west of the Church, and over the years the French who comprised almost the entire population of Kansas City from about 1799 to 1844, were buried there. The early death records were kept by the Church in Latin and French. The number of burials was fairly substantial, particularly after a cholera epidemic nearly filled the cemetery, and as the City grew it became apparent that the French cemetery stood in the way of progress. In about 1880 supposedly all the French burials were moved to St. Mary’s cemetery, and the roll of interments was deposited with the Trustees of the new cemetery. Most of the ancient remains, of necessity somewhat poorly segregated and identified, were interred en masse. Easily visible today in the old French section of St. Mary’s cemetery are the graves of the Etues, the French-related MulkeyDrips families and
The Old French Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael W. Kruse, July 26, 2015
2. The Old French Cemetery Marker
French side.
others. Probably the most interesting is the monument of Jacques Fournais (“Old Pino”) who lived to be 125 and who witnessed the tumultuous Battle of Montreal in 1760 while splitting fence rails with his father. In late June of 1986, construction excavation at 11th and Jefferson Streets near this marker exposed sixteen burials , on the western edge of the old French cemetery, later reinterred elsewhere, and the sites yielded very old crucifixes and religious medals.

French Side
Tout au début des années 1800, Kansas City était une communauté oü l’on parlait presque exclusivement le française. Sa vie religieuse comme la plupart de sa vie sociale étaient centrées autour de sa petit église catholique construite en troncs d’arbre, érigée sur un lopin de terre situé près de ce qui est à notre époque la llëme rue et Pennsylvanie. Lopin de terre donné à l'église par Pierre la Liberté. Madame Bérénice Chouteau était une dame patronesse importante de l'église nommée Saint Français Régis mais fréquemment appelée ”Eglise de Choteau." Un cimetière se trouvait derrière (au sud) et à l'ouest de l'église. Au cours des années, les français qui constituaient presque toute la population de Kansas City depuis environ 1799 jusqu’ en 1844 y furent enterrés. Les premiers actes de décès étaient rédigés par l’église en latin en français. Le nombre des enterrements

The Old French Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael W. Kruse, July 26, 2015
3. The Old French Cemetery Marker
était assez important en particulier lors d’une épidémie de choléra qui remplit presque le cimetière et comme la cité grandissait, il parut évident que le cimetière française entravait le progrès. Aux environs de 1880, on suppose que toutes les tombes françaises furent transférées au du cimetière de Ste. Marie et la liste des enterrements fut remise aux administrateurs de nouveau cimetière. La plupart restes qui, par nécessité, furent mal triés et identifiés, furent réenterrés en commun. De nos jours, dans la vieille section du cimetière Ste. Marie on peut facilement voir les tombes des Etue et des familles de Mulkey-Drips apparentées à des français. Le monument le plus intéressan est probablement celui de Jacques Fournais ("le vieux Pino") qui vécut jusqu’à l’âge de 125 ans et qui fut témoin de la bataille tumultueuse de Montréal en 1760 alors qu’il fendait du bois avec son père. En Juin 1986, lors de travaux d'excavation à la llëme, rue et Jefferson à proximité de cette plaque, sur le c ôte ouest du vieux cimetière français, seize sépultures furent découvertes et transférées autre part; On y découvrit de très vieux crucifix et des médaille religieuses.
 
Erected by The Chouteau Society & the Mildred Lane Kemper Fund.
 
Location. 39° 6.063′ N, 94° 35.507′ W. Marker is in Kansas City, Missouri, in Jackson County. Marker is on West 11th Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 655 W 11th ST, Kansas City MO 64105, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Chouteau’s Church (St. Francis Regis) (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Chez Les Canses or "Chouteau's" (about 600 feet away); Reverend Bernard Donnelly (about 800 feet away); Missouri Interstate Paper Company Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Frankel, Frank & Co Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Rothenberg and Schloss Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Meeting of Sertoma International (approx. 0.2 miles away); J. Fitzpatrick Saloon Building (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kansas City.
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesChurches, Etc.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 27, 2015, by Michael W. Kruse of Kansas City, Missouri. This page has been viewed 168 times since then and 37 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 27, 2015, by Michael W. Kruse of Kansas City, Missouri. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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