History of Round Prairie Cemetery

Round Prairie Cemetery
Last Name First Name Maiden Name Birth Date Death Date Age Source Remarks Contact
Holladay Ann M   11-APR-1812 18-SEP-1878 66     Ingrid Griffin
Holladay Dandridge   01-Nov-1800 26-Nov-1878 78     Ingrid Griffin
Preston Morgan   13-Jun-1806 14-Aug-1888   Jim Claxton father of Rachel  
Preston Nancy Evans 01-Oct-1812 08-Mar-1879   Jim Claxton    
Thornburgh Benjamin F   07-Sep-1856 20-Apr-1905   Jim Claxton Son of John & Rachel  
Thornburgh John   02-Aug-1829 09-Apr-1885   Jim Claxton    
Thornburgh Rachel Preston 30-Oct-1833 11-Feb-1890   Jim Claxton Wife of John Thornburgh  
Thornburgh Susan Ellen   25-Jun-1854 10-May-1874   Jim Claxton Dau. of John & Rachel  

To submit additions or corrections, contact the Leavenworth County Host at the email address below.

This page was created by Leavenworth County Host, Judy Richardson on Sunday, October 28, 2007.


From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.

Death of young daughter brings family to Round Prairie Cemetery
by L. Candy Ruff, Times Lifestyles Editor
Leavenworth Times, Sunday, Oct. 11, 1987

Round Prairie Cemetery had been used for several years before Thomas and Margaret Snoddy buried their 7-year-old daughter there in 1861. They selected a plot at the highest elevation in the cemetery and on Oct. 18, 1861 Rebecca Ann Snoddy was laid to rest.

The death of this child prompted her parents to deed land to the cemetery association that had been started at the beginning of the Civil War. Little did the couple know that their other child would begin a family, produce nine children and for the next five generations have the responsibility of caring for Round Prairie Cemetery.

Today's descendents are two young people, Dennis and Lisa French, children of David and Ann French. They mow, trim around the headstones and generally care for the cemetery where their great-great-grandparents, great-grandparents, and grandparents are buried.

These youngsters have deep roots in northern Leavenworth County and one of their ancesters wrote a book in order to capture the story of the family's early years. James E. Pennington's memories are told in "Recollections," a book he wrote in 1930 at the age of 82. Pennington married the Snoody's other child, Margaret, just after the Civil War. They had nine children and eight of them are buried alongside their parents in the family plot.

"He wanted us to remember the old times," his great-granddaughter Cindy Wooten said not long ago. "He was a very literate man a did a great deal of reading. The tory goes that when he was getting up in years, his children pressed him to write down all the things he had been telling them all for years. I'm sure glad he did."

Pennington's story begins in 1830 when his parents moved from Tennessee to Missouri. They settled in Nodaway County in what was called "The Narrows," and in 1847 Pennington was born. The Civil War hit this family hard with two fighting for the South and two for the North. Pennington's father was terrorized by bushwackers and consequently moved his family to Platte County for the remainder of the war.

By this time, the older Pennington had lost his wife, the mother of his 11 children, and had remarried. This new wife was a well-to-do widow who owned land and a large home just outside Platte City. It was from this home that Pennington set out on his own in 1854. He took the ferryboat to Leavenworth and found a job driving oxen for a supply train headed west.

"That's one of the most interesting parts of the book. He stayed out there four years and had quite a few things happen to him, but he came back to be near his family after the war was over," Mrs. Wooten said.

Peace had finally come to "Bleeding Kansas" and the older Pennington had purchased land in the Round Prairie community of northern Leavenworth County. His son joined him in farming, but it wasn't too long before Pennington had his eyes on one of the local girls. That's where Margaret Snoddy comes in.

"Margaret's parents had only two children and one of them died when she was just 7 years old. I guess her parents thought they would never have many grand-children, but like the book says, she had nine of them," she explained.

Pennington tells of the deaths of two of his children in "Recollections," and why the family had to call on the family plot at Round Prairie. Margie died Dec. 12, 1881 and like the Snoddy girl, she was only seven years old.

He told it this way:

We had but little sickness in the family until Margie, at the age of seven, was suddenly stricken with a case of croup which we could not control. In spite of all that could be done, we could not save her. She died and was buried in the cemetery. It was a great shock to us.

The couple's next shock came in 1904. Again the father tells of the death of John, the youngest child.

We were to be made sad because of John, our youngest boy, who died in 1904. He was attacked with a bad case of croup, very much like his sister Margie was, and died in a short time, just as she had. He was almost eight, near her age also, at his death. It was a great shock to us as he was a very lovable boy and took unusual interest in tasks assigned him on the farm. We layed him away in the Round Prairie Cemetery near the graves of his sister and grand-mother.

The cemetery is located just past the old Round Prairie School on US 73, the first gravel road to the west. The school and cemetery were a part of a growing community during the last century. The Round Prairie Union Church served four demoninations from its beginning until it closed at the turn of the century. The cemetery was located across the road from the church.

Pennington describes the lay of the land. The eighty acres given him by his wife's parents were on the north end of the cemetery.

Mr. and Mrs. Snoddy donated one and one-half acres to the cemetery association. The cemetery had to serve a large community and it became necessary to have it enlarged. Lizzie and I deeded two acres more adjoining it and it made one of the nicest cemeteries in this section.

Mrs. Wooten says the first burial in the cemetery occured in 1829 when Granville Linville died at the age 73. Others were buried over the years, but lots were not formally designated until 1861.

The story of the Pennington family reunion held in 1903 includes several visits to the cemetery. Pennington's 11 brothers and sisters were still living with the youngest one 47 years old. The week-long celebration was well planned and concluded 84 years ago Oct. 17.

Pennington ends his story by telling of one more trip the family had to make to Round Prairie Cemetery. This time it was for a grandchild.

I have not named one of our 25 grandchildren or our seven great-grandchildren. But I believe all will accept my mention of our grandson, Paul Jaynes, who a short time ago met with a tragic accident that resulted in his death. Paul was our oldest grandson and a son of Bess and Joe Jaynes. The accident that caused his death occurred when his foot caught in the cogs of a corn shredder that he owned and was operating. His foot had to be taken off and blood poison set in and he died in less than two days."

He was buried in the family plot in 1926. The author of "Recollections" died Nov. 2, 1935 and his headstone is one of the largest in the cemetery. His book, many of his records and belongings still survive and tell the story of this large family and their ties to Round Prairie Cemetery.

Article donated by Debra Graden, President
Leavenworth County Genealogical Society, 1998

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