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Local History

Puzzling Tombstone

Springfield News-Leader September 24, 1933 page B1

Finding Tombstone Puzzles Workmen on Public Square

"Was there ever a cemetery on the Springfield public square?

"Workmen who dug up the head stone and foot stone for a baby's grave in the basement of the old Kirby building puzzled over the matter yesterday afternoon. They did not find a coffin or any other indications of a burial, but the stones evidently had been set in the ground at one time.

 "The epitaph of the marble slab discovered first by Harry Myers, contractor in charge of the job, read as follows:

Infant Son of
J. M. and A. J. Kirby
Died Feb. 19, 1871
Aged 22 days.
T and K

"A matching small marble slab without any inscription then was found, and finally a third slab upon which were carved only two capital letters in each upper corner "D" and "K".

"Myers had the contract for tearing out an arcade between the southwest corner of the square and McDaniel Street. To make the passageway, it was necessary to cut into the old Kirby building where the Kirby saloon operated for years. The Kirby estate still owns the building. Only two days ago workmen discovered two bottles of 'White Label' beer, thought to be more than [50] years old, which had apparently been hidden in the floor."

According to Greene County, Missouri Cemeteries -Volume 10, Infant Son Kirby, born January 28, 1871, died February 19, 1871, shares a large stone with James M. and Almira J. Kirby and Daisy Kirby in the Maple Park Cemetery. Possibly the stone found on the square was discarded after the newer stone, shown here and above, was purchased.

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