Volume 2, Number 11, Spring 1967
Photos by Percy Bridges
The side-facing gravestone (left, above) bears this inscription: "In memory of John Weaver - Died in Memphis Mar. 2, 1854-Aged 66 Years." Nearby is the marker over the grave of "Barbara, Wife of John Weaver - Died Nov. 15, 1848 - Aged 48 Years."
An inscription on the reverse side of John Weavers gravestone (right, above) explains why no body rests below the stone: "Erected at This Place as the Spot Selected by Him for His Burial Who Now Lies in White River, Ark, from the Burning of the Caroline Mar. 5,1854."
The stones stand under the shade of two holly trees in the pioneer Weaver Cemetery, located at the top of the hill on Old Highway 65 leading north out of Ozark, Christian County seat.
Fourth generation members of the Weaver family now living in Ozark and Springfield explain the circumstances.
John Weaver, who, with his family and slaves, immigrated from Tennessee in 1840 and took up land near Ozark, became a well known breeder of horses and cattle. Because he raised racing horses and trained them for the track he was renowned to horse fanciers between the Arkansas and Missouri Rivers as "Jockey John" Weaver. He made periodic trips to Memphis to market his surplus horses, steers, and slaves. On such an expedition in March, 1854, he contracted cholera and died. His body was sealed in a copper casket and placed a board the steamship Caroline alongside the sealed remains of other victims of the plague. When fire broke out aboard the Caroline on its journey up White River toward Forsyth, all the caskets were tossed into the river. Several attempts at identification failed and the body of Mr. Weaver was never recovered.
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