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June 20, 2011

Sunset Hill Cemetery Warrensburg, Johnson County Missouri

 Sunset Hill Cemetery 

Sunset Hill Cemetery


When Sunset Hill began in 1868, the cemetery contained 13 acres, was in somewhat of a rectangular shape, but had small projections in the northeast corner and at the entrance. Nearly 200 graves were moved in from the old cemetery located off of Gay Street and lots were sold for ten dollars apiece. Sunset Hill was given to the city by its previous owner W. G. Colbern in 1880. At one point in time, goats were brought in for cemetery upkeep. Over the years, numerous expansions have taken place bringing Sunset Hill up to the massive 60 acres now viewed by visitors. In the back west, 13 more acres of wooded property is owned by Sunset Hill which will allow the cemetery to expand and meet the needs of future generations.
About the Author: Research for this information was compiled by county research assistant Tom Papez in a coordinated effort between the City Manager’s Office and Central Missouri State University. All attempts were made to create precise and exact information. If you wish to add to a story or provide information about people not listed, we would love to hear from you! Tom Papez would personally like to thank everybody, especially Albert Baker, Bob Theiss, and the Historical Society, for their efforts in providing valuable puzzle pieces to Sunset Hill’s past.

Shelton S. Abney Jr

Stationed in Warrensburg as a member of the Highway Patrol, Shelton Abney proudly served his country as a member of the military police during World War II. Shelton played collegiate football at the college now known as Central Missouri State University and lays beside his loving wife Nadine.

American Legion

Standing at attention in the center of Sunset Hill is a nine-foot-tall monument honoring those who gave their lives for our country. Draped in the shadow of the American Flag, this tribute created by the American Legion pays respect to the fallen heroes of World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The American Legion has been placing flags on the graves of deceased soldiers since before the Second World War and even use to have a special presentation on the evening of Memorial Day. Perhaps no organization in our country has done more for cemeteries than the American Legion and Warrensburg is extremely thankful for their help and support.

Charles M. Anderson

The tombstone of Charles M. Anderson, who perished in 1918, is actually in the shape of what appears to be an above-ground coffin. Perhaps this was the family’s way of saying that not even death could keep him down.

O. Kenneth Andes

Arriving back from service with a flag draped over his coffin. Kenneth was killed in action during a battle in 1944 and his gravestone is engraved with the statement, “He Died For His Country.” Kenneth is buried beside his parents.

Richard G. Antrim

The remains of 16-year-old Richard Antrim, who died just 8 months prior to John F. Kennedy’s assassination, lies about 25 paces east of the American Flag. An actual picture of Richard, along with all his youthful ambition, is forever cemented to the gravestone covering of his eternal resting place.

Charles Banks

Superstition created a minor uproar in Warrensburg back in 1894 when rumors spread about the theft of Charles Banks’ body. Banks, a murderer who was executed right here in Warrensburg, was thought to have his corpse stolen by body snatchers. The sunken condition of the grave only led to further speculation. Investigators were able to dispel town hearsay by digging up the grave of Banks and swearing on record to the discovery of a decomposing, and a horrible smelling body.

Linda Dian Barnes

Between two cement vases and a wide array of flowers, lies the eternal resting place of Linda Barnes. Next to 51-year-old Linda’s grave is a tiny statue of a humble angel. Another grave, about 30 baby steps east of Linda’s, shows a mother deep in prayer. This grave, belonging to eight-year-old Stephanie JoAnn Hall, is adorned with the statement, “She Knows What Love Is.”

A. C. Bass

A. C. came to Missouri in a controversial late 1800′s program that sent trainloads of young orphans from the East Coast to the Midwest. Adopted by the Young family who preceded the Cheatham’s in the banking industry, A. C. would go on to serve our country in World War I and become the State Commander of the American Legion.

Horace Herbert & Effie Shyrock Bass

Located beneath a giant vase lies the eternal resting place of Horace and Effie Bass. The Bass family landmark can easily be identified by anybody passing near the Cheatham Monument.

Abigail Lee Berry

Buried about 20 yards north of James Kirkpatrick’s grave lies a unique tombstone, carved out of wood, and created out of love. This somber memorial is dedicated to the evidently short life of Abigail Lee Berry.

L. M. & Martha B. Berry

Near the shade of the tall oak tree where the wind always seems to blow, lies the eternal resting place for L.M. and Martha Berry. Located about 200 feet northeast of the Confederate Monument and surrounded by family, this grave’s most noticeable feature is the large cylinder lying on top.

Milton A. Jr. & Catherine Boon

Secluded between two evergreen trees standing over 12 feet tall, lies the graves of Milton and Catherine Boon. Milton, a World War II veteran, and his wife are buried near other family members.

Lt. Eugene Tipton Bradshaw

Lt. Eugene Tipton Bradshaw: Lt. Bradshaw’s life was cut short when he was killed in action flying over Belgium during the Second World War. 21-year-old Bradshaw served our nation in numerous military segments including the 57th bomb squad.

Robert Bradshaw

Robert Bradshaw was born on April 27 of 1915. Exactly 80 years later, on his birthday, Robert passed away. This military veteran of World War II, who also ran a taxi service in Warrensburg, is buried beside his wife Catherine I. Bradshaw who perished on a cold January day in 1999.

Willis Brazil

Every harvest season, Willis Brazil would make his way into Warrensburg to help local farmers shuck their corn. One year, when an ear of corn slipped under a wagon, Willis placed his hand under the wheel at the wrong time as the team of horses moved forward and broke Brazil’s arm pinching it against the hard, frozen ground. After the arm was set and pain medication was given, Brazil evidently took too large a dose a day later and the medicine left his mind in a delusionary state. Living the rest of his life at the county home which used to be located off of Highway 50 on the south side of town, Brazil is now buried in the far west corner of the cemetery known as the “pauper’s field” or indigent area.

Clement A. Bruch

In an earlier day, when city water was poor and storefronts contained five-gallon jugs to help cool off patrons, Clement Bruch delivered water from his property most commonly referred to as the Electric Springs. Located near the present apartment complex named after the Springs, Clement would deliver water store front to storefront while riding along in his horse and buggy. Clement’s tombstone may be seen about 25 yards east of the American Flag.

Ruby M. Bryant

Hidden near the south side of section S3 stands a pulpit made out of stone. With a closed Bible laying atop its stand, the soul of Ruby Bryant now lays between God’s hands.

J. A. & Ethel Buente

Jay, as most people called him, and his wife Ethel ran the successful Buente Drug Store located off of Highway 13 near the railroad. Jay, who served his country in the Second World War, is buried near another veteran named Joseph A. Douglass.

Robert W. Burford

As a First Sergeant in the U. S. Army, Robert Burford fought for our nation in both World War II and Korea. Originally with the National Guard, this Leeton Postmaster was buried in 1993 near the northwest corner of this cemetery. Robert’s spirit lives on in the hearts he left behind.

Archie Cash

Long before America fell in love with Cliff Clavin off of the television show Cheers, Warrensburg had their own heartfelt appreciation for one of our own local mail carriers. Archie Cash, a private who served in the U. S. Army during World War I and local postal worker, perished at 90 years young. He is only one of the 600 veterans buried at Sunset Hill.

Thomas E. Cheatham

One of the most recognizable names in the history of Warrensburg belongs to the Cheatham family. As a member of a banking family that owned the Citizen’s Bank, Thomas did not just use his talent at the office. He served our city as the President of the Warrensburg Cemetery Association. His effort and vision for creating Sunset Hill into a high-quality cemetery came true under his leadership. More members of the Cheatham family are buried about 25 yards east of Thomas’s tombstone and a separate memorial is dedicated to the memory of his daughter, Vivian Cheatham DeFur, and her husband Earl. The main strip of the entire cemetery is named in his honor.

D. Louann Christopher

“Love Is Patient, Love Is Forgiving, Love Understands, Love Is Sharing, Love Is A Treasure, Love Is Eternal,” and love is the guiding light that united Tom and Louann late in February back in 1967. Their relationship grew from honeymoon dreams to cherished memories while both focused their hearts on believing in forever. Louann passed away in 1992.

John Clifford

Standing tall amongst a handful of tiny graves lies 8 day old John Clifford. John is only one of the dozens of infants buried together in the corner of the cemetery near the work barn. Engraved in these tiny epitaphs are angels, hearts, crosses, stars, lambs, flowers, horses, toy soldiers, and the swollen tears of loved ones. Bring a handkerchief when visiting this area.

Anna Ewing Cockrell

Buried to the left of her famous husband and surrounded by her family, lays rest to Missouri’s very first State Regent, Anna Ewing Cockrell. Moreover, as one of the early leaders of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Anna’s life is cherished by those who share her common ancestry.

Francis Marion Cockrell

Perhaps the most nationally recognized person in the cemetery, Francis Marion Cockrell served the state of Missouri in Washington as a Senator for 31 years from 1874 to 1905. This former Confederate General passed away in Washington and his remains were brought back to his hometown to be buried at Sunset Hill. The Johnson County Historical Society has extensive records on him and numerous other Warrensburg residents.

George W. Colbern

Three years following the Civil War, George W. Colbern graciously put aside 13 acres of his property in order to create the eternal resting place now called Sunset Hill. Previously called Colbern Cemetery, which initially had sold burial plots for just ten dollars back in 1868, the cemetery was deeded over to the city in 1880. On a side note, the Colbern family owned the Electric Springs Resort area from 1836 through 1881 which George would eventually buy back a decade later in 1891.

Edward T. Coleman

In the shape of a large ball sitting on top of a stack of wood, lies the remains of Edward Coleman. Located at the crossroads of the North Entrance and Cheatham roads, the back of the sphere asks a heartfelt question. “My Dear Friends, Where Will You Spend Eternity?” Perhaps as a last chance for sharing his faith, Edward hopes visitors would answer “in heaven.”

Captain Readic Comer

During the Civil War, 220,000 African American soldiers enlisted to fight for the Union. After fighting in the war, the all-black 10th Cavalry would continue fighting the Apaches during the 1870s and 1880s and even chase Pancho Villa south of the border during the Wilson administration. Comer, who joined the service at 18 years old against his mother’s wishes, would serve our country in the 10th cavalry during both World Wars. Harry S. Truman awarded Comer the rank of Captain as he became the first African American Captain from Missouri.

Angel Conant

In one of the most recent tragedies to affect Warrensburg, High School Recent graduate Angel Conant was killed in a car wreck in Illinois. Her grave, located just feet off of the main drive, is marked by an eternal flame.

J. C. Cooper

Cooper, an African-American blacksmith was one of the co-founders of the Baptist Church in Montserrat. This war veteran’s grandson, Mazell Campbell who is also buried at Sunset Hill, was highly respected for his work at Knob Noster State Park in which he worked one day with a fractured leg.

Leland Culp

As a standout in Democratic Party Politics, Leland Culp served Warrensburg in the council and as city mayor. Visitors may view the gravesite for this World War II veteran and creator of Inland Chemical Company by the shady trees at the north side of the cemetery near the tombstone of James C. Kirkpatrick.

Harry L. & Bessie R. Day

George Willis & Susie Myrtle Diemer: George Diemer, the former president of Central Missouri State University, is buried beside his wife Susie Myrtle Diemer. Located on the CMSU campus, Diemer Hall is named in his memory. Their child, George Willis Jr. whose grave is located near his parents, gave his life for our country while serving in the Second World War.

Thomas Reed Dunham

Thomas Dunham, a World War I veteran, ran a laundry business located off of South Holden near the old Estes Hotel. His nephew, Oliver C. Dunham Jr., also served our country as a sergeant in the armored field artillery. Oliver was a successful businessman and is buried near his uncle.

James Douglas Eads

Historians have coined the term Renaissance Man to refer to individuals who have possessed amazingly well-rounded talents in a large variety of fields. James Douglas Eads would fit this description. This pastor, physician, politician, hotel proprietor, newspaper editor, and military veteran had lived in West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa, before settling permanently in Warrensburg, Missouri. This amazing man, who fathered eight children including one whose lineage would keep the name James Douglas Eads for four generations, had unlimited talents in all areas of a person’s life.

David Eppright

Thousands served America under the leadership of General Douglas MacArthur during the Second World War. While serving in the 63rd Bomb Squad, 1st Lieutenant Eppright vanished into the mountains of New Guinea. David and eight fellow crew members gave their lives fighting for freedom having accomplished the mission. Eppright’s remains have been returned to his family, his tombstone is located near other family members.

J. A. Falconer

J. A. Falconer fought heroically for the Union Cause during the American Civil War. In 1999, many years following his death, Falconer was awarded a Medal of Honor along with a 39-inch tall tombstone inlaid in 24-carat gold which is located at the Southeast corner of Sunset Hill. His former tombstone consisted of a basic marble slab that had sunk deep into the ground.

Reverend Robert A. Foster

This teacher and preacher would honorably serve Yankee regiments as a chaplain and teach his family as a patriotic guide. In the Battle of Lone Jack, Robert’s son Emry was severely wounded and another son C. Morris felt a bullet pierce through his left lung. His fourth son Melville was wounded while fighting at Briar Creek while the most unusual occurrence took place prior to the war even starting. In a political debate in the old Johnson County Courthouse which still stands as a historical building on Main Street, oldest son Marsh Foster was shot and killed by a rebel sympathizer in February of 1861. To many, he was the first martyr of the Civil War.

Harry R. Garrison

Like president Grover Cleveland, Harry Garrison was an official on two separate locations. He served Warrensburg as mayor from 1929 through 1933 and again from 1947 through 1955. Garrison also served on the Board of Regents at CMSU and there was some gossip from high ranking political associates in Kansas City about Garrison running for governor. Garrison worked as the editor of the Standard Herald which has become the Warrensburg Gazette.

Martha E. Gilbert

In a time when only a few women volunteered for the armed services, Martha Gilbert was active in the Woman’s Army Corps during World War II. After proudly serving our nation, Martha returned to Missouri and became a school teacher.

Leonard Goodall

In a grave marked by the name Goodall, lies the inventor of the horizontal engine who was helped along by a small engine manufacturer. Despite having a wooden leg, Goodall overcame all adversity and ran a successful manufacturing and lawnmower company here in Warrensburg. When antagonists questioned his theory stating that the pistons placed sideways would run out, Goodall scoffed at their attacks. Time proved him right.

Myrtle T. Goodwin

Near the southeast corner of Sunset Hill lies perhaps the oldest person in it, Myrtle T. Goodwin. Born on December 30, 1887, her 108 years, 7 month and 29 day life ended on August 27, 1996. She is buried near her family.

Noel B. Grinstead

Grinstead Hall, a building located at Central Missouri State University, is dedicated to the honor of Noel Grinstead. For years, Noel taught industrial arts at the college and he is buried beside his wife Berne and his parents.

Benjamin W. Grover

Lying beneath the shade of a large tree about 30 yards away from the East Entrance lays an entire section dedicated to one of Warrensburg’s most time-honored families. As one of the founding fathers of Warrensburg, Benjamin Grover served Missouri in the Senate and his effort became the main reason for bringing the railroad through Warrensburg.

John C. Grover Jr

In a section dedicated to the Grover Family, one will notice the gravestone of John C. Grover Jr. When this military man passed away in 1987, his corpse was cremated. Some of John’s ashes were buried with his family at Sunset Hill. The rest of his remains are proudly stationed in Washington D.C. at Arlington National Cemetery.

Amber LaVie Harlan

Hidden underneath a teardrop or candlelight shaped gravestone, about 30 yards east of the road leading to the work barn, lies the remains of 33-year-old Amber LaVie Harlan. Her tombstone reads, “A Beautiful Bride Sleeps In Lace. The Spirit Of Love With An Angel’s Face.”

Laura Mae Harmon

Born on the 4th of July, 1905, Laura Mae Harmon evidently knew her Creator well. When she perished in 1992, her children left her praises on her tombstone claiming, “Here Lies A Godly Woman!” and “We’ll See You Again Mom!” Laura might have taught her children to pray now I lay me down to sleep. To this, her family triumphantly responds we thank you Lord our Mom you keep.

A. B. Harrison

A ten-foot high monument with a dove placed atop serves as a reminder of the tragic death of A. B. Harrison when his home collapsed on him. His wife writes her final letter to him on his gravestone, “Sleep husband dear, and take your rest. ‘Twas hard indeed to part with thee, but Christ’s strong arm supported.”

Eldo Lewis Hendricks

Buried beside a giant vase commemorating the Bass Family, lies the remains of the 22-year long University President Eldo Hendricks. From 1915 to 1937, Eldo Hendricks ran Central Missouri State University when it was still a teacher’s college. Eldo’s grave lies next to his wife Viola and CMSU has an entire hall named in his honor.

Major N. B. Holden

Warrensburg stared the Civil War in the face as both sides had large practicing military factions. Major Holden became a casualty of this country-wide crisis as he was assassinated in the middle of the night. His tombstone reads, “Assassinated at his residence, in Warrensburg, at 1:00 A.M.”

Dr. Joe M. Hopping

Dr. Hopping quotes the angels at Christ’s tomb when his tombstone asks, “Why Seek Ye The Living Among The Dead? He Is Not Here, But He Is Risen.” Hopping’s gravestone may be seen about 25 paces west of the Jesus Monument.

George Wilson Houts

Though a Civil War battle was never officially fought in Warrensburg, the town was heavily divided over the conflict. Even prior to the Emancipation Proclamation, George Wilson Houts decided that slavery was an immoral institution and freed his eleven slaves. This not only made him unpopular by many townspeople, but also made the Civil War veteran who served in the 2nd Virginia Infantry disliked by his own family, many of whom were Confederates.

Infant Daughter of Houx

Nestled in the Eastern section of the cemetery just up from the East Gate lies five small white stones belonging to the Houx family. The fourth of the five stones belong to an infant daughter who has the oldest grave in the cemetery dating back to 1834. More Houx family members are buried together further down Cheatham Drive and others are spread out around the cemetery.

Amanda E. Jackson-Bernand

Tucked away in the deep northwest corner of Sunset Hill lies a small section dedicated to the indigent, or the poorer people of Warrensburg. Created during the Great Depression, visitors will view headstones, lined in short rows, that appear to be little more than cement blocks. Many of the deceased had no living relatives and some only had three people show up to their funeral: the funeral director, the preacher, and the gravedigger. People buried there are remembered by only their name and the year of their death. Amanda E. Jackson-Bernard’s grave lays a somber 15 feet away from a memorial, erected by the county court of 1940, marking the memories of those who perished.

Thelma W. Jones

When Thelma Jones passed away in 1994, generations of loved ones mourned the loss of their dear friend. Her tombstone reads, “Beloved Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother, And The World’s Best Cook. We Miss You.” Hopefully, the loving 89-year-old great grandmother passed on her favorite cookie recipe before God called her home.

James C. Kirkpatrick

Buried beneath a shady tree lies a politician that brought light to Warrensburg. James C. Kirkpatrick, a 1929 Central Missouri State graduate, served the state of Missouri for 20 years as Secretary of State. The 30 million dollar library located at CMSU was named and dedicated to the legacy of Kirkpatrick and to the assistance he provided his alma mater. The Kirkpatrick Historical Room at the library is decorated in Irish Green and located on the second floor.

Mildred Martha McBride

American poet Anne Bradstreet wrote “Farewell sweet babe, the pleasure of mine eye, farewell fair flower that for space was lent” when her one-year-old grandchild passed away. The family of Mildred McBride must have felt the same way when their 14-year-old seedling perished in 1907. The cross on her grave reads, “She Was But A Flower, Too Good For The Earth.”

Samuel G. McCluney

As the President of the Game Breeder's Association, Samuel McCluney touched the lives of many of Warrensburg’s citizens. When this published author perished in August of 1967, every florist in the city was sold out and extra flowers had to be ordered. His grave is located not to far away from the Statue of Jesus Holding Child near the northwest lot.

Charles E. Miller

80-year-old Charles Miller is buried beside his 91-year-old wife Bernice. Charles, a World War I veteran, worked as a carpenter in a corner building at the south side of East Pine across from the old post office.

Samuel Milliken

Buried with his wife Marie C. Goheen and with family members nearby, Samuel Milliken’s grave leaves a message of hope for loved ones. The tombstone reads, “No Pain, No Grief, No Anxious Fear, Can Harm the Peaceful Sleepers Here.”

Frank Thomas Moriarty

Make sure to salute the grave of 97-year-old American Hero Frank Moriarty. This army veteran served our country in both World Wars. This University instructor’s tombstone is engraved with a typewriter, a cross, and a rolled-up scroll.

Timothy & Margaret Murphy

Reminding people today about the blessing of modern medicines stands the 19th-century graves of Timothy and Margaret Murphy and their six children: John T., Margaret, Maria, Thomas, Rosa, and Agnes. No child lived to see their fourth birthday.

Alex Samuel Nassif

Alex Nassif, who proudly served our country during the Second World War, ran a successful shoe business here in Warrensburg. Alex, an immigrant who was born five days before the turn of the 20th Century in Lebanon, Syria, donated money for the creation of our community swimming pool which was named in his honor.

Amy Jo North

During an emotionally charged ceremony in 1998, Warrensburg laid to rest 16-year-old Amy Jo North following her tragic death in a fatal car accident. Amy’s funeral was probably the largest ceremony in the history of Sunset Hill when an estimated 1000 people in a 500 car procession said goodbye to their departed friend. Her gravestone is one of the most highly decorated places in the cemetery as people have come to give small memories and large teardrops to Amy.

Albert C. Owings

About a year prior to Pearl Harbor, Albert’s unit mobilized for their preparation of war. Serving as the Chief Warrant Officer of the 35th Division, this soldier proudly served his country during the second World War. In a side note, Albert’s father, who takes precisely the same name, had previously served our nation during the first World War.

Katura Hall Gallaher (Gillum)

Underneath a stone tree with a cross engraved into it, lies the remains of a young wife of John A. Gallaher named Katura Hall Gallaher (Gillum). Located a stone’s throw away from the Confederate Monument, one can view this fossil. Interesting enough, located right next to Catherine’s grave is John’s second wife Pauline G. Gillum. Her grave is also marked with an unusual structure: a large vase with a sundial on top.

Kenneth N. Robinson

About five steps off of Cheatham Drive close to halfway between the Cheatham and DeFur Monuments lies the remains of World War I army veteran Kenneth Robinson. As the main source of supplies to the college, Kenneth owned the university book store where students bought their textbooks.

Thomas A. Runk

Buried beneath a shady tree about three steps off the southern pocket of Collins Avenue, lies the remains of 52-year-old Vietnam veteran Thomas Runk. Thomas, who proudly fought for the freedom of the South Vietnamese people, perished in 1997.

Henry Hagan Russell

Henry Russell, who went by H. H., ran the successful Russell Clothing Store located in the cities of Marshall, Clinton, Sedalia, and Warrensburg. H. H. served our city as mayor and was very active in pursuing an airbase in the area. His grave is surrounded by family and lies cattycorner to the Vivian Cheatham DeFur Monument.

James Ryan & James E. Basham

City Marshall Ryan and Night Marshall Basham were fatally shot and killed in a 1908 shootout at the old Estes Hotel (which used to be located to the southern cattycorner of City Hall). Byron Hall declared insane by the testimonies of witnesses and family members, was apparently under the belief that attackers were pursuing him for $500 he had earned herding sheep. Before Hall committed suicide by shooting himself into his own heart, he shot Ryan 3 times and sent Basham to his death with a steel bullet that passed entirely through the Night Marshall’s body. Basham and Ryan are both buried about 100 feet North of the Confederate Memorial.

John N. & Ruby Duncan Sandridge

Taking it easy beneath a shady tree in the far west side of the cemetery lies the remains of John and Ruby Sandridge. In a gravestone shaped like a park bench, visitors can take a load off as the remember the Sandridges, who ran a successful pawn store in Warrensburg. Both John and Ruby’s smiling faces are cemented into their headstone, and into eternity.

James C. Shanks

James Shanks was either in or had just finished dental school when his country called him to serve in World War II. Following the war, Captain Shanks returned to run successful dental businesses in Chilhowee and in Warrensburg.

Steven Thomas Sharp

Buried between two potted plants engraved with praying hands lies Steven Thomas Sharp, the 24-year-old son of William and Ethelyn. This gravestone, located near the above-ground mausoleum of Charlotte Patton, is completed with a tiny statue of the Virgin Mary and the phrase, “I’m As Free As A Bird Now.” Etched by the name Sharp is a bird flying away.

Beryl A. Shults

Located in the pocket corner of Collins Avenue lies the largest and most decorated cross in Sunset Hill. Beryl Shults, who passed away in 1996 just 10 days away from her 50thbirthday, is buried beneath a 58-inch black and white cross. Another cross, standing 52 inches tall, can be found in the back far west of the cemetery to mark the gravesites of Edward Henry & Anna Reynolds Eckel.

Harvey M. & Effie R. Sullivan

Harvey Sullivan, member of the 17th Illinois Cavalry during the Civil War, lays beside his wife Effie and between two giant evergreen trees measuring nearly 11 feet tall. Effie was 16 years younger than Harvey and she died 17 years after her soul mate perished in 1921.

Statue of Christ and Child

Visible to cars traveling west on Business 50, people may see a large stone statue of Jesus holding a young child. The Savior is clothed in the traditional garments with sandals while holding the right hand of a small child who is clinging to the Lord’s shoulder. To some, it may appear that the child had fallen down and Jesus is taking care of the tiny scratch.

Harland A. Tempel

Harland Tempel, who received a Purple Heart for heroics during the second World War while serving in the European Theatre, is buried beside his beloved wife Velva. Happily married for 52 years, both husband and wife died soon after reaching their 75 years of age. At the grave of this former Johnson County Sheriff, Matthew 31:28 tells people to “Come To Me, All Who Labor And Are Burdened, And I Will Give You Rest.”

Charles H. & Jessica M. Thompson

Buried in the S1 section of the cemetery, standing out among a host of other stones, is a tiny marble vase belonging to the memory of the Thompsons. Surrounded by other older gravestones belonging to numerous African-Americans, this area of Sunset Hills shows that when it came to segregation, not even cemeteries were immune.

Charles E. & Lonia I. Todd

When Charles and Lonia were married on the blistery Christmas Eve of 1908, they expected to grow old and die together. After death did them part in 1930, Lonia would live an additional 50 years before she perished at 92 years old.

Union Memorial

Situated between two plants potted in stone stands a 21 foot high Memorial commemorating the Northern Soldiers of the Civil War. A mustached soldier firmly grasping his rifle with both clenched hands, grabs the attention of everyone who enters Sunset Hill through the East Entrance. “In Memory of Union Soldiers and Sailors” is proudly carved into a marble block within the statue that gives gratitude to the dozen and a half graves located in the general vicinity. In a side note, when this statue was renovated in 1965, his rifle was missing and his nose had been shot.

Martin Warren

Near the East Entrance and about ten paces away from the Union Memorial, one can honor the grave of the founder of our proud city, Martin Warren. This pioneer served as a Private in the Virginia Continental Line during the American Revolutionary War and his name can be seen etched in stone between the Holy Cross and the Sons of the American Revolution Emblem. Though people searching through the old cemetery off of Gay Street will discover another tombstone belonging to our city’s founder, his body was moved to Sunset Hill in 1915.

Paul Verle Webb

Located beside a beautifully sculpted flower bed, lies the remains of World War II veteran Paul Verle Webb. The artistic sculpture includes engravings of numerous children or angels performing a religious celebration.

Michael Wayne Whisenhunt

In the Memorial Section near the beautiful statue of Jesus carrying a young child, lies the grave of eight-day old Michael Whisenhunt. Surrounded by numerous, permanent flower vases, Michael’s gravestone shows a teddy bear playing on a swing and reads, “Playing In God’s Garden.”

Frank E. Whittington

Near the massive, homemade, above-ground mausoleum located at the back of the cemetery, lies the remains of Frank Whittington. Frank created the structure to honor his wife’s request not to be buried in the ground.
  • Cockrell, Francis Marion b. October 1, 1834  
  • d. December 13, 1915
  • Civil War Confederate Brigadier General. Perhaps the most nationally recognized person in the cemetery, Francis Marion Cockrell served the state of Missouri in Washington as a Senator for 31 years from 1874 to 1905. This former Confederate General passed away in Washington and his remains were brought back to his hometown to be buried at Sunset Hill. The Johnson County Historical Society has extensive records on him and numerous other Warrensburg residents.
  • After his Johnson County birth in 1834, Francis Marion Cockrell would proudly serve the city of Warrensburg for the rest of his life. A practicing attorney when the Civil War began, Cockrell enlisted into the army and would make Missouri and the Confederate States of America proud. Beginning his military career as a state guard, Cockrell would eventually climb all the way up to Brigadier General and become the ferocious leader the south called upon while fighting in the western part of our divided nation.
  • Noted for his unbridled discipline, Cockrell marched Missouri troops to the beat of “The Bonnie Blue Flag” or “Dixie” as they prepared to engage with their attackers. He would never back down from any challenge and even stood toe to toe with powerful squadrons led by General Sherman long before his march to the sea. Cockrell played a major role in the historic siege of Vicksburg, helped fend off the North with General Samuel French at Lost Mountain, and nobly stood his ground defending Atlanta prior to the evacuation.
    Despite being wounded in two places at the Battle of Franklin, the Confederacy still achieved a temporary victory when Cockrell’s garrison helped take over the enemy line. Facing enormous odds, only 40% of the hundreds of troops who began the Battle of Franklin were still in fighting condition following the short-lived victory.
    During the Civil War, southern troops fought with enormous fortitude and at times seemed to defy the natural rules of war by refusing to surrender. To many, dying in a cold, blood-soaked field, beneath a crimson-stained uniform would be more honorable than receiving food and comfort from the North. Missouri troops trained or led by Cockrell were tremendously successful. Official reports from both sides of the war indicate that some Missouri squadrons never failed even once at taking the enemy line or defending their own. This statistic alone would place our stubborn Missouri fighters as among the best warriors in the history of the world. As Brigadier General, Cockrell receives the highest credit for the discipline he instilled into the hearts and minds of those Missourians who fought so bravely during the war. Following the war, Cockrell’s commitment to public service refused to wane. After losing the 1874 gubernatorial election by only 1/4th of one vote in a convention of 1000 delegates, he would go on to win election as a senator and serve in Washington D.C. for 30 years from 1875-1905. Cockrell was appointed Interstate Commerce Commissioner and helped to clarify the boundary dispute between Texas and New Mexico. The State of Missouri, the County of Johnson, and the City of Warrensburg will never forget their national hero.
  • Comer, Readic was born on November 16, 1894 in Macon, Georgia.
    His parents were Makey Comer and Laura Daniels.
    Comer was a Buffalo Soldier and served in both World War I and World War II.
    He had the rank of Master Sgt. and later Captain after the armed forces were desegregated.
    He served in the armed forces for 30 yrs.
    He was the first African-American to reach the rank of captain in the state of MO.
    He served as a boy scout leader in Warrensburg for several years.
    He had a child named Angeline B. Hayes
  • During the Civil War, 220,000 African American soldiers enlisted to fight for the Union. After fighting in the war, the all-black 10th Cavalry would continue fighting the Apaches during the 1870s and 1880s and even chase Pancho Villa south of the border during the Wilson administration. Comer, who joined the service at 18 year’s old against his mother’s wishes, would serve our country in the 10th cavalry during both World Wars. Harry S. Truman awarded Comer the rank of Captain as he became the first African American Captain from Missouri
  • Born in Macon, Georgia six years prior to the turn of the 20th century, Readic Comer enlisted into the army during August of 1913 while he was 18 years old. Comer was immediately assigned to the troop M of the all-black 10th calvary and sent to Fort Ethan Allen in Vermont about a month later. Comer would be quickly be reassigned (and paid $15 a month) to the extremely honorable position of serving as the personal security guard for General John J. Pershing while stationed at Fort Huachuca in Arizona.
    While Woodrow Wilson was president and after the Mexican bandit Pancho Villa raided the American City of Columbus, New Mexico, Comer was sent south of the border with Pershing on a manhunt which lasted 11 months during 1916. Going as far south as Mexico City, the search and seizure was a dreaded conquest that ended up empty-handed. While trekking through the hot, sweltering country, eating tomatoes in an attempt to replace fluids, the Government of Mexico limited the search for Villa to outside city limits giving Villa plenty of secure hiding places with the help of loyal townspeople.
    In an attempt to describe the lack of food eaten by the soldiers while in Mexico, the flamboyant Comer would later remark on his adventure:
    “We were starving to death most of the time. All we had to eat were tomatoes and hard tack, which is biscuits made from flower and water and some of them were as old as 1905.”
    “One time we caught a jackrabbit and started a fire with some flint rocks and that was the best meal I’ve ever eaten. I’ll never eat jackrabbit again because it doesn’t taste the same.”
    Keeping rattlesnakes away at night was a different matter. Soldiers would steady their saddles down on the rugged terrain and use them for pillows while they would place a rope around their body in an attempt to frighten away any daring serpents. Comer explains:
    “The rope didn’t always work and if you saw a blanket fly in the morning, you could be sure there was a rattlesnake under it.”
    Nicknamed “Buffalo Soldiers” by the Indians because of the darker skin and tremendous work ethic, African American soldiers like Comer accepted this title as a badge of honor since buffaloes were highly respected by the Indians. Many of these soldiers (also called Black White Men by the Indians) were either ex-slaves, army veterans, or freemen looking west who had joined the army believing that the frontier military life could provide a better life than living east of the Mississippi. In later years, Comer even referred to himself as “a fading Buffalo soldier, veteran , veteran” which placed emphasis on his military duty as a Buffalo soldier first and a war veteran second. Few people know that around 20 percent of the Calvary who had fought in the Indian Wars were black and many gave valiant efforts in the Cheyenne Indian War, Red River War, Ute War, Apache War, Sioux War, and numerous others. The 10thCavalry that Comer served in was established upon the completion of the Civil War in 1866.
    Readic Comer proudly served our nation in both world wars including two tours of duty in the Philippines under General Douglass MacArthur and Jonathon Wainright. After 30 years of service, he could have retired in 1943 but delayed his retirement since America was in the middle of World War II. Readic Comer received the rank of Captain from President Harry S. Truman while becoming the first African American in the state of Missouri to attain the rank of Captain.
    While retired, Comer was an active participant in Warrensburg events as he led Boy Scout troops and had hobbies that included electrician, plumber, builder, reader, and especially an enthusiastic storyteller. Readic Comer passed away in 1988 at 94 years young. His gravestone may be viewed at Sunset Hill Cemetery lying next to his wife Maybelle Comer who both have crosses engraved into their stone. Readic was buried wearing his uniform while his wide-brimmed military hat sat delicately on his chest. Today, people may take one last look into the focused eyes of this military leader at the Mary Miller Smiser Heritage Library. Here hangs an elaborate oil painting portrait dedicated to Comer’s years of distinguished service and to the legend our local American Hero. 
  • Falconer, John A. b. 1844  d. April 1, 1900
    Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He served during the Civil War as a Corporal in Company A, 17th Michigan Volunteer Infantry. He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery at Fort Sanders, Knoxville, Tennessee, on November 20, 1863. His citation reads "Conducted the "burning party" of his regiment at the time a charge was made on the enemy's picket line and burned the house which had sheltered the enemy's sharpshooters, thus insuring success to a hazardous enterprise". His Medal...[Read More] (Bio by: Bill Walker)
    GPS coordinates: 38.7703018, -93.7525711 (hddd.dddd)
  • Furlong, Rose A. b. 1885  d. 1972
    Daughter of the Choctaw Nation.
  • Grover, Col. Benjamin W. b. October 27, 1811  d. October 30, 1861
    Served as county sheriff then elected to the state senate, served 4 years. During his career in the Senate, he was the leading proponent in securing the location of the Pacific Railway through Johnson County, MO. He became a Union Colonel of the 27th MO. Vols, one of the first regiments raised in this state. He was mortally wounded in the battle of Lexington, MO. (Sept 13-20,1861)when Col. James A. Mulligan and his forces were obligated to surrender the fort to the enemy, Confederate General...[Read More] (Bio by: Tom Denardo)
Benjamin W. Grover

This ca. 1861 tintype depicts Benjamin W. Grover, a prominent early citizen of Warrensburg, Missouri. After a career with the railroad, Grover served in the 27th Missouri Infantry, U.S. Volunteers, and died October 30, 1861 from wounds received in the first Battle of Lexington. Grover is believed to have been a friend of General Grant; the coat he is wearing in the photograph may have been given to him by Grant.
  • Memorial to Confederate Veterans
    Through the efforts of former Confederate Brigadier General, Senator Francis Marion Cockrell, the Confederate Reunion Association was formed for Confederate Missouri veterans memorials in 1901. In 1917, the completed monument to the memory of Confederate Veterans was dedicated at Sunset Hill Cemetery, Warrensburg, Missouri. (Bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith)
  • Memorial to Union Soldiers and Sailors [memorial]
    In 1894, to honor the memory of those whom served in the Civil War, the Colonel Grover Post Grand Army of the Republic, erected the Union Soldiers and Sailors Memorial at Sunset Hill Cemetery, Warrensburg, Missouri. (Bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith)
  • Warren, Martin  b. August 1763  d. August 1852
    Revolutionary war veteran. Warrensburg, Missouri is named after him as well as a local school. County commissioners platted this town in 1836, it was originally called Warrens Corner for the early settler martin warren. The commissioners changed the name to Warrensburg in 1836.
    Born in Augusta County, Virginia in 1763. The son of James Warren, Martin joined the Revolutionary War under the leadership of Captain John Daugherty and General George Rogers Clark at 18 years of age. Martin fought...[Read More]
    Plot: Military section at east entrance
  • Workman, Chuck  b. January 6, 1915  d. January 3, 1953
    Major League Baseball Player. Born Charles Thomas Workman. He played as an outfielder and third baseman for three different ML teams: the Cleveland Indians (1938, 1941), Boston Braves (1943 to 1946), and the Pittsburgh Pirates (1946). During his 6-year ML career, he had a batting average of .242 and batted in 230 runs. (Bio by: Mel Bashore)
    Sunset Hill CemeteryWarrensburgJohnson CountyMissouri, USA
Lt. Col. Beverly "Bev" Hale Bunce
World War II
May 16, 1919  Sep 28, 1980

Born: Twin Falls, Idaho, United States 
Buried Sunset Hill Cemetery, Johnson County, MO Warrensburg

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