Volume 7, Number 3, Spring 1980
The Quaker Community is located some four miles north of Cassville in central Barry County on either side of the Flat Creek Valley.
The creek is a tributary of the White River, and it was along these tributaries that the pioneers settled in the first half of the nineteenth century.
The colony of Quakers did not arrive until shortly after the Civil War, but once they settled in this community they left an indelible stamp that has endured for more than a century. The one- room country school was discontinued and "Quaker" District was annexed to Cassville 20 years ago.
The Freeville Baptist Church across the road is known as "Merles Chapel", but in referring to the community it is always known as "Quaker".
On the hillside which borders the valley on the west is a dense growth of sprouts, young saplings, briers, weeds and cedar trees in an otherwise open field. It is fenced, and in this condition it does stand out to the average person passing by. But, only on inquiry does one learn that it is a cemetery. Apparently, there have been no interments in the cemetery for over thirty years.
It would be the rankest kind of speculation to estimate the number of graves, but there may be as many as three dozen in the cemetery because some graves (or what obviously appears to be graves) do not have headstones.
It was one hundred years ago last August that Simon Jones made a quit-claim deed to "The Public" for two acres of ground located less than a quarter of a mile west and slightly north of the Merles Chapel Church near the end of Highway Y some four miles north of Cassville.
The fact that Jones deeded the property to "The Public" is worth noting, but what is more important was the limitation he placed on
its usage. The deed, made August 27, 1879, stated in the grant that "I, the undersigned, of Barry County, Missouri, do set apart for a Friends Meeting House and burying grounds and, if necessary, to be used for school purposes "the two acres" to remain exclusively for said purposes without change of title forever and this shall be a bar against my executor, administrator, heirs and assigns forever."
In reading the deed alone, one wonders why his wife did not sign. This is quickly resolved by a look at her tombstone. She died August 18, 1879, nine days before the deed was made. She was born October 25, 1811.
Since the deed was for the purpose of establishing a "Friends Meeting House which is the proper name for a church used by the Quaker faith, it is fairly safe to assume that there were enough Quakers in the community to warrant a church Building.
The grave of Milliscent Jones is not the oldest marked grave in the cemetery, however. Close by is a headstone for Samuel Righ giving a birth date of May 22, 1803, and a death date of May 4, 1875. Curiously, the next line on the headstone says, "Age 69 years, 11 months and 12 days." Something wrong somewhere.
The only spot in the cemetery which is not completely grown up is a plot of four graves surrounded by a concrete wall extending several inches above ground on three sides, and on the west side about 12 inches above ground to cement the headstones in place.
In addition to the grave in this enclosure of Milliscent Jones, at her side is her husband, Simon, who was born January 10, 1811, and died January 5, 1880.
The other two graves are those of John B. Hutchens (born December 18, 1825, and died April 7, 1878) and his wife, Elizabeth (1827-1910).
Evidently these graves have been cared for over the years since a barrier of some type has been placed on the ground within the enclosure and covered with crushed rock.
John B. Hutchens (spelled Hutchins on the stone) was born in North Carolina and there married Elizabeth Tulbert. They had nine children. They left North Carolina for Iowa where they lived for several years, then to Jasper County, Missouri, for four years, and finally to Barry County after the civil war. He was a miller and a farmer.
There was a water driven grist mill located on Flat Creek about a half-mile south of the cemetery, and it is quite likely this was the mill Hutchens operated at the time of his death. Three of his sons, Isaac, Wilson and Joh, operated mills at other locations in Barry County for many years after his death.
The name for the community is still used today, despite the fact that the Quakers have long since disappeared. Perhaps the name became permanent, however, when on July 23, 1891, Eliza J. Talbert, the widow of Alphus Talbert, and his children deeded a school site to the directors of the School District No. 4 and named it "Quaker".
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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