Volume 9, Number 2 - Winter 1986
The listing of information on the headstones presently in the White Oak Cemetery in Ozark County was made last June by Mrs. Pamela Trump of Gainesville and Mrs. Nova Pleasant of Tecumseh. Besides the graves with markers, there are five graves identified only with fieldstones.
Consisting of approximately two acres, the cemetery lies on land dedicated for this purpose by Marshel Coplen and Sherman Coplen. The earliest burial marked with a headstone is that of Wiley Coplen, Dec. 20, 1888Feb. 25, 1889.
Just off of highway 160, about five miles east of Tecumseh, the cemetery is located in the northwest, northwest of Section 7, Township 22, Range 11.
The grounds at White Oak have been kept in good shape since the late 1940s, first by the late Walter House and then by his son, Raymond (Mose) House of Willow Springs. Though Walter House is buried at Baptist Hill Cemetery near Elijah, his father and stepmother, J. F. and I. L. House are buried at White Oak.
There are two $1,000 certificates providing interest for cemetery upkeep expenses. Mose House said his father collected donations and set up the first certificate and he did the same in setting up the second one. House said interest at first did not amount to much and he left it in the bank to build up and did the ground work for nothing. Now the interest, plus donations, pays for employing mowing services. Ozark County communities, as elsewhere in the region, do not impose a charge for a burial site, but survivors customarily donate toward upkeep of the grounds.
Several Yucca Plants about the grounds give the cemetery a slightly foreign look. The first plant was put there by W. P. Oehler at the grave of his wife, Mary. House said the plant spread so rapidly that it took a major effort to clear the grounds so mowing could be carried out smoothly. Several of the plants have made a comeback.
House said that when he retires next year, he plans to spend some time in improving the grounds and possibly putting up a gateway to identify the location. Presently, House is employed as a driver examiner supervisor with the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
There was a church building near the cemetery at one time. It was built probably in the early 1900s to serve a Methodist congregation, but by the 1930s it was falling in disrepair and has now completely disappeared. The church had no connection with the cemetery that he knew of, House said. The present members of the cemetery committee, besides House, are Sherman Coplen and Charles House, now both of West Plains.
Historical sketch by Ruby M. Robins
The headstone information is arranged alphabetically:
Joseph Franklin Ballinger, Nov. 15, 1927Aug. 23; 1983 Coplen (no other information); Frances Coplen, 1861-1908; Grandad Coplen (no other information).
Marshel Coplen, 1853-1928; Nova Coplen, Sept. ____ 1923-Oct. ____ 1923; Rosey Coplen, Oct. 31, 1887-Dec. 23, 1887; Viola Coplen, May 3,1888-Aug.
Walter Coplen, Nov. 17, 1879Dec. 20, 1928; Wiley Coplen, Dec. 30, 1888Feb. 25, 1889; Frank Crofutt, Pfc. U.S. Army, W.W.II, Feb. 11, 1906Oct. 14, 1981;
Martha E. Dean, Mar. 4, 1880Dec. 25, 1916; Sara Careline Dean, Apr. 19, 1879Jan. 29, 1939; A. L. Easter, July 3, 1853Aug. 10, 1922; Nancy J. Easter, May 5, 1879Jan. 5, 1941;
Albert Ralph Gargione, AMCS, U.S. Navy, W. W. II, Korea, Vietnam, 19251976; Michael A. Gargione, Dec. 5, 1954Nov. 10, 1979; Bessie E. Green, May 29,
1903July 27, 1962;
Elmer L. Green, Mar. 7, 1885July 2, 1918; James H. Green, Jan. 9, 1866Jan. 9, 1946; Senith E. Green, May 9, 1876Dec. 8, 1962; Three markers with only the name HAWKINS on them;
Birtie Homer House, 1897-1911; Hattie House, 1889-1973; Henry House, 1882-1941; I. L. House, Feb. 4, 1867-Oct. 2, 1925; J. F. House, Feb. 4, 1858-Mar. 5, 1947;
Olive E. House, 1896-1914; Alex Langston, 185 1-1931; Rosetta Langston, 1856-1946; Verona, wife of Emil Marshall, Mar. 3, 1909-April 4, 1931;
Four markers with only the name McCAIN on them; Mary S., wife of W. P. Oehler, 1861-1929; Earnest Underhill, Jan. 5, 1901-Nov. 29, 1971; Two rocks with only the name DEAN on them; Swain (no other information)
Five graves are marked with rocks with no information.
This is the first in a second series of information on Ozark County cemeteries. The next in the series will be Howards Ridge Cemetery. Information on the first series (25 cemeteries) is available. Write the secretary for cost and where to order.
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