Ray County Genealogy
Fishing River Township
|O'Dell Cemetery||#4 on Fishing River Township Map||T52R29S23
southwest of Elkhorn
1973 Ray County History: O'Dell Cemetery in the southwestern part of Ray County is located on the farm presently (1973) owned by the heirs of the late Judge David Jackson O'Dell and his wife Roberta (Tarwater) O'Dell.
Records at the county court house in Richmond show that on Sept. 3, 1881, Eliza Jane Warriner, widow of George Washington O'Dell, and her husband John C. Warriner set aside two and one-half acres for a public burying ground.
It is not known just how old the cemetery is as many of the inscriptions are not legible, and many graves are marked with ordinary field stones. Some Stones are dated as far back as 1842. It is and has always been a free public burial ground.
Years before funeral directors furnished grave diggers, it was the custom for the men of the neighborhood to dig the graves. It has been rightly told that when Jimmie McAfee died Feb. 21, 1901, the weather was so bitterly cold and stormy the men nearly froze while trying to dig the grave. It was decided that day to erect a building. Funds were collected, lumber sawed and with all helping, a house was completed some time later. It was for the sole purpose of holding funerals and to provide a place of warmth and shelter when graves had to be dug in bad weather.
In 1968 Jeptha Calvin Roe willed a sum of money to the care and upkeep. With this and donations from interested parties the cemetery is maintained. The Three trustees are: Ernest Ralph O'Dell, Lulian McAfee and Claude McKissick with Mrs. Ruth (O'Dell) Barger as secretary and treasurer. (173)
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