Cemetery History (A-F)

Shelton S. Abney Jr

Stationed in Warrensburg as a member of the Highway Patrol, Shelton Abney proudly served his country as a member of the military police during World War II. Shelton played collegiate football at the college now known as Central Missouri State University and lays beside his loving wife Nadine.

American Legion

Standing at attention in the center of Sunset Hill is a nine foot tall monument honoring those who gave their life for our country. Draped in the shadow of the American Flag, this tribute created by the American Legion pays respect to the fallen heroes of World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The American Legion has been placing flags on the graves of deceased soldiers since before the second World War and even use to have a special presentation on the evening of Memorial Day. Perhaps no organization in our country has done more for cemeteries than the American Legion and Warrensburg is extremely thankful for their help and support.

Charles M. Anderson

The tombstone of Charles M. Anderson, who perished in 1918, is actually in the shape of what appears to be an above ground coffin. Perhaps this was the family’s way of saying that not even death could keep him down.

O. Kenneth Andes

Arriving back from service with a flag draped over his coffin. Kenneth was killed in action during battle in 1944 and his gravestone is engraved with the statement, “He Died For His Country.” Kenneth is buried beside his parents.

Richard G. Antrim

The remains of 16 year old Richard Antrim, who died just 8 months prior to John F. Kennedy’s assassination, lies about 25 paces east of the American Flag. An actual picture of Richard, along with all his youthful ambition, is forever cemented to the gravestone covering of his eternal resting place.

Charles Banks

Superstition created a minor uproar in Warrensburg back in 1894 when rumors spread about the theft of Charles Banks’ body. Banks, a murderer who was executed right here in Warrensburg, was thought to have his corpse stolen by body snatchers. The sunken condition of the grave only led to further speculation. Investigators were able to dispel town hearsay by digging up the grave of Banks and swearing on record to the discovery of a decomposing, and a horrible smelling body.

Linda Dian Barnes

Between two cement vases and a wide array of flowers, lies the eternal resting place of Linda Barnes. Next to 51 year old Linda’s grave is a tiny statue of a humble angel. Another grave, about 30 baby steps east of Linda’s, shows a mother deep in prayer. This grave, belonging to eight year old Stephanie JoAnn Hall, is adorned with the statement, “She Knows What Love Is.”

A. C. Bass

A. C. came to Missouri in a controversial late 1800′s program that sent trainloads of young orphans from the East Coast to the Midwest. Adopted by the Young family who predceded the Cheatham’s in the banking industry, A. C. would go on to serve our country in World War I and become the State Commander of the American Legion.

Horace Herbert & Effie Shyrock Bass

Located beneath a giant vase lies the eternal resting place of Horace and Effie Bass. The Bass family landmark can easily be identified by anybody passing near the Cheatham Monument.

Abigail Lee Berry

Buried about 20 yards north of James Kirkpatrick’s grave lies a unique tombstone, carved out of wood, and created out of love. This somber memorial is dedicated to the evidently short life of Abigail Lee Berry.

L. M. & Martha B. Berry

Near the shade of the tall oak tree where the wind always seems to blow, lies the eternal resting place for L.M. and Martha Berry. Located about 200 feet northeast of the Confederate Monument and surrounded by family, this grave’s most noticeable feature is the large cylinder lying on top.

Milton A. Jr. & Catherine Boon

Secluded between two evergreen trees standing over 12 feet tall, lies the graves of Milton and Catherine Boon. Milton, a World War II veteran, and his wife are buried near other family members.

Lt. Eugene Tipton Bradshaw

Lt. Eugene Tipton Bradshaw: Lt. Bradshaw’s life was cut short when he was killed in action flying over Belgium during the second World War. 21 year old Bradshaw served our nation in numerous military segments including the 57th bomb squad.

Robert Bradshaw

Robert Bradshaw was born on April 27 of 1915. Exactly 80 years later, on his birthday, Robert passed away. This military veteran of World War II, who also ran a taxi service in Warrensburg, is buried beside his wife Catherine I. Bradshaw who perished on a cold January day in 1999.

Willis Brazil

Every harvest season, Willis Brazil would make his way into Warrensburg to help local farmers shuck their corn. One year, when an ear of corn slipped under a wagon, Willis placed his hand under the wheel at the wrong time as the team of horses moved forward and broke Brazil’s arm pinching it against the hard, frozen ground. After the arm was set and pain medication was given, Brazil evidently took too large a dose a day later and the medicine left his mind in a delusionary state. Living the rest of his life at the county home which used to be located off of Highway 50 on the south side of town, Brazil is now buried in the far west corner of the cemetery known as the “pauper’s field” or indigent area.

Clement A. Bruch

In an earlier day, when city water was poor and store fronts contained five gallon jugs to help cool off patrons, Clement Bruch delivered water from his property most commonly referred to as the Electric Springs. Located near the present apartment complex named after the Springs, Clement would deliver water store front to store front while riding along in his horse and buggy. Clement’s tombstone may be seen about 25 yards east of the American Flag.

Ruby M. Bryant

Hidden near the south side of section S3 stands a pulpit made out of stone. With a closed Bible laying atop its stand, the soul of Ruby Bryant now lays between God’s hands.

J. A. & Ethel Buente

Jay, as most people called him, and his wife Ethel ran the successful Buente Drug Store located off of Highway 13 near the railroad. Jay, who served his country in the second World War, is buried near another veteran named Joseph A. Douglass.

Robert W. Burford

As a 1st Sergeant in the U. S. Army, Robert Burford fought for our nation in both World War II and Korea. Originally with the National Guard, this Leeton Postmaster was buried in 1993 near the northwest corner of this cemetery. Robert’s spirit lives on in the hearts he left behind.

Archie Cash

Long before America fell in love with Cliff Clavin off of the television show Cheers, Warrensburg had their own heartfelt appreciation for one of our own local mail carriers. Archie Cash, a private who served in the U. S. Army during World War I and local postal worker, perished at 90 years young. He is only one of the 600 veterans buried at Sunset Hill.

Thomas E. Cheatham

One of the most recognizable names in the history of Warrensburg belongs to the Cheatham family. As a member of a banking family which owned the Citizen’s Bank, Thomas did not just use his talent at the office. He served our city as the President of the Warrensburg Cemetery Association. His effort and vision for creating Sunset Hill into a high quality cemetery came true under his leadership. More members of the Cheatham family are buried about 25 yards east of Thomas’s tombstone and a separate memorial is dedicated to the memory of his daughter, Vivian Cheatham DeFur and her husband Earl. The main strip of the entire cemetery is named in his honor.

D. Louann Christopher

“Love Is Patient, Love Is Forgiving, Love Understands, Love Is Sharing, Love Is A Treasure, Love Is Eternal,” and love is the guiding light that united Tom and Louann late in February back in 1967. Their relationship grew from honeymoon dreams to cherished memories while both focused their hearts on believing in forever. Louann passed away in 1992.

John Clifford

Standing tall amongst a handful of tiny graves lies 8 day old John Clifford. John is only one of the dozens of infants buried together in the corner of the cemetery near the work barn. Engraved in these tiny epitaphs are angels, hearts, crosses, stars, lambs, flowers, horses, toy soldiers, and the swollen tears of loved ones. Bring a handkerchief when visiting this area.

Anna Ewing Cockrell

Buried to the left of her famous husband and surrounded by her family, lays rest to Missouri’s very first State Regent, Anna Ewing Cockrell. Moreover, as one of the early leaders of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Anna’s life is cherished by those who share her common ancestry.

Francis Marion Cockrell

Perhaps the most nationally recognized person in the cemetery, Francis Marion Cockrell served the state of Missouri in Washington as a Senator for 31 years from 1874 to 1905. This former Confederate General passed away in Washington and his remains were brought back to his hometown to be buried at Sunset Hill. The Johnson County Historical Society has extensive records on him and numerous other Warrensburg residents.


After his Johnson County birth in 1834, Francis Marion Cockrell would proudly serve the city of Warrensburg for the rest of his life. A practicing attorney when the Civil War began, Cockrell enlisted into the army and would make Missouri and the Confederate States of America proud. Beginning his military career as a state guard, Cockrell would eventually climb all the way up to Brigadier General and become the ferocious leader the south called upon while fighting in the western part of our divided nation.

Noted for his unbridled discipline, Cockrell marched Missouri troops to the beat of “The Bonnie Blue Flag” or “Dixie” as they prepared to engage with their attackers. He would never back down from any challenge and even stood toe to toe with powerful squadrons led by General Sherman long before his march to the sea. Cockrell played a major role in the historic siege of Vicksburg, helped fend off the North with General Samuel French at Lost Mountain, and nobly stood his ground defending Atlanta prior to the evacuation.

Despite being wounded in two places at the Battle of Franklin, the Confederacy still achieved a temporary victory when Cockrell’s garrison helped take over the enemy line. Facing enormous odds, only 40% of the hundreds of troops who began the Battle of Franklin were still in fighting condition following the short lived victory.

During the Civil War, southern troops fought with enormous fortitude and at times seemed to defy the natural rules of war by refusing to surrender. To many, dying in a cold, blood soaked field, beneath a crimson stained uniform would be more honorable than receiving food and comfort from the North. Missouri troops trained or led by Cockrell were tremendously successful. Official reports from both sides of the war indicate that some Missouri squadrons never failed even once at taking the enemy line or defending their own. This statistic alone would place our stubborn Missouri fighters as among the best warriors in the history of the world. As Brigadier General, Cockrell receives the highest credit for the discipline he instilled into the hearts and minds of those Missourians who fought so bravely during the war.

Following the war, Cockrell’s commitment to public service refused to wane. After losing the 1874 gubernatorial election by only 1/4th of one vote in a convention of 1000 delegates, he would go on to win election as a senator and serve in Washington D.C. for 30 years from 1875-1905. Cockrell was appointed Interstate Commerce Commissioner and helped to clarify the boundary dispute between Texas and New Mexico. The State of Missouri, the County of Johnson, and the City of Warrensburg will never forget their national hero. 

George W. Colbern

Three years following the Civil War, George W. Colbern graciously put aside 13 acres of his property in order to create the eternal resting place now called Sunset Hill. Previously called Colbern Cemetery, which initially had sold burial plots for just ten dollars back in 1868, the cemetery was deeded over to the city in 1880. On a side note, the Colbern family owned the Electric Springs Resort area from 1836 through 1881 which George would eventually buy back a decade later in 1891.


In the mid to late 1800s, long before Pertle Springs dominated the resort town known as Warrensburg, people sought health and refuge visiting the flowing rivers and deep ponds located at Electric Springs. This playground for Johnson County had a large hillside hotel, a forty tub bath house straddling a fresh flowing ravine, concession stands, and a summer garden encircled with a colorful array of flowers. Beginning in 1887 and for the next 22 years, street cars pulled by two mules would transport people to and from central parts of town to the resort. For recreation, people could bowl in a small two lane bowling alley with wooden balls. For swimming or wading, the water sunk down to as deep as ten feet in various locations and was thought to have a healing quality for people who had illness, disease, or other physical problems.

Here are some actual advertisements enticing people to travel to the oasis:

“Electric Springs Water. Drink your way to health using Nature’s own beverage. Especially recommended for all kidney and bladder troubles, diabetes, sour stomach, dyspepsia, etc.”

“Invalids, the Oakes Hotel is now ready for business. The Electric Springs bath house is in full blast where baths are given with pure Electric Springs water, red hot if desired. This hotel is situated in the city of Warrensburg, one half mile from the courthouse, yet it is in the wilderness, in the midst of wild scenery. Do you know that this water has cured diseases that have baffled the skill of the medical fraternity for the past 2000 years?”

In 1836, Henry Colbern purchased a ten acre plot of land which currently encompasses part of west side of Business 50, Thunderbird Mobile Estates, various business offices, a car wash, and the Electric Springs Apartments. The property would stay in the Colbern family until it would be sold to John J. Cockrell in 1881. A decade later, George W. Colbern (the founder of Colbern Cemetery which would later be renamed Sunset Hill) would buy back the property and continue providing hot and cold baths to visitors from all over the county.

Using the water as a refreshing resource for both people’s bodies and owner’s pocketbooks, the water would be sold around town to various businesses and individual houses. Arthur King, who purchased the property in 1917, would use the water to make soda pop. As the Electric Springs waned due to the competition of Pertle Springs, the use of the automobile, and the lack of scientific proof of spring water’s healing quality, Clement Bruch would purchase the property in 1929 and make it his personal home. He would make a living delivering water storefront to storefront while riding in his horse and buggy. Today, little remains of the Garden of Eden that brought thousands to Warrensburg accept for the stories written down by those who lived years ago.

Edward T. Coleman

In the shape of a large ball sitting on top of a stack of wood, lies the remains of Edward Coleman. Located at the crossroads of the North Entrance and Cheatham roads, the back of the sphere asks a heartfelt question. “My Dear Friends, Where Will You Spend Eternity?” Perhaps as a last chance for sharing his faith, Edward hopes visitors would answer “in heaven.”

Captain Readic Comer

During the Civil War, 220,000 African American soldiers enlisted to fight for the Union. After fighting in the war, the all black 10th Cavalry would continue fighting the Apaches during the 1870s and 1880s and even chase Pancho Villa south of the border during the Wilson administration. Comer, who joined the service at 18 year’s old against his mother’s wishes, would serve our country in the 10th cavalry during both World Wars. Harry S. Truman awarded Comer the rank of Captain as he became the first African American Captain from Missouri.


Born in Macon, Georgia six years prior to the turn of the 20th century, Readic Comer enlisted into the army during August of 1913 while he was 18 years old. Comer was immediately assigned to the troop M of the all-black 10th calvary and sent to Fort Ethan Allen in Vermont about a month later. Comer would be quickly be reassigned (and paid $15 a month) to the extremely honorable position of serving as the personal security guard for General John J. Pershing while stationed at Fort Huachuca in Arizona.

While Woodrow Wilson was president and after the Mexican bandit Pancho Villa raided the American City of Columbus, New Mexico, Comer was sent south of the border with Pershing on a manhunt which lasted 11 months during 1916. Going as far south as Mexico City, the search and seizure was a dreaded conquest which ended up empty handed. While trekking through the hot, sweltering country, eating tomatoes in an attempt to replace fluids, the Government of Mexico limited the search for Villa to outside city limits giving Villa plenty of secure hiding places with the help of loyal townspeople.

In an attempt to describe the lack of food eaten by the soldiers while in Mexico, the flamboyant Comer would later remark on his adventure:

“We were starving to death most of the time. All we had to eat were tomatoes and hard tack, which is biscuits made from flower and water and some of them were as old as 1905.”

“One time we caught a jackrabbit and started a fire with some flint rocks and that was the best meal I’ve ever eaten. I’ll never eat jackrabbit again because it doesn’t taste the same.”

Keeping rattlesnakes away at night was a different matter. Soldiers would steady their saddles down on the rugged terrain and use them for pillows while they would place a rope around their body in an attempt to frighten away any daring serpents. Comer explains:

“The rope didn’t always work and if you saw a blanket fly in the morning, you could be sure there was a rattlesnake under it.”

Nicknamed “Buffalo Soldiers” by the Indians because of the darker skin and tremendous work ethic, African American soldiers like Comer accepted this title as a badge of honor since buffaloes were highly respected by the Indians. Many of these soldiers (also called Black White Men by the Indians) were either ex-slaves, army veterans, or freemen looking west who had joined the army believing that the frontier military life could provide a better life than living east of the Mississippi. In later years, Comer even referred to himself as “a fading Buffalo soldier, veteran ,veteran” which placed emphasis on his military duty as a Buffalo soldier first and a war veteran second. Few people know that around 20 percent of the Calvary who had fought in the Indian Wars were black and many gave valiant efforts in the Cheyenne Indian War, Red River War, Ute War, Apache War, Sioux War, and numerous others. The 10th Cavalry that Comer served in was established upon the completion of the Civil War in 1866.

Readic Comer, proudly served our nation in both world wars including two tours of duty in the Phillipines under General Douglass MacArthur and Jonathon Wainright. After 30 years of service, he could have retired in 1943 but delayed his retirement since America was in the middle of World War II. Readic Comer received the rank of Captain from President Harry S. Truman while becoming the first African American in the state of Missouri to attain the rank of Captain.

While retired, Comer was an active participant in Warrensburg events as he led Boy Scout troops and had hobbies that included electrician, plumber, builder, reader, and especially an enthusiastic storyteller. Readic Comer passed away in 1988 at 94 years young. His gravestone may be viewed at Sunset Hill Cemetery lying next to his wife Maybelle Comer who both have crosses engraved into their stone. Readic was buried wearing his uniform while his wide brimmed military hat sat delicately on his chest. Today, people may take one last look into the focused eyes of this military leader at the Mary Miller Smiser Heritage Library. Here hangs an elaborate oil painting portrait dedicated to Comer’s years of distinguished service and to the legend our local American Hero. 

Angel Conant

In one of the most recent tragedies to affect Warrensburg, High School Recent graduate Angel Conant was killed in a car wreck in Illinois. Her grave, located just feet off of the main drive, is marked by an eternal flame.

Confederate Memorial

Standing 23 feet tall and resembling the Washington Monument, stands a 17,000 pound statue honoring the Confederate soldiers of the Civil War. Located at the corner of Collins and Cheatham, this can’t miss monument is the tallest spectacle in the cemetery. The structure was delivered to Warrensburg by railroad and assembled together from 5 separate pieces.

J. C. Cooper

Cooper, an African-American blacksmith was one of the co-founders of the Baptist Church in Montserrat. This war veteran’s grandson, Mazell Campbell who is also buried at Sunset Hill, was highly respected for his work at Knob Noster State Park in which he worked one day with a fractured leg.

Leland Culp

As a standout in Democratic Party Politics, Leland Culp served Warrensburg in the council and as city mayor. Visitors may view the gravesite for this World War II veteran and creator of Inland Chemical Company by the shady trees at the north side of the cemetery near the tombstone of James C. Kirkpatrick.


As a long term resident of Warrensburg, Leland Culp spent his entire life serving the city and the people who lived here. His legacy may be heard through the stories of those who worked with him in a wide variety of organizations, and can be seen by the strong family bond that remains in the Culp family heritage. Following is a short list of activities and accomplishments that can barely even attempt to summarize the life of a man who gave everything he had to help make Warrensburg a fabulous place to live.

Jesse and Judith Culp were overjoyed to show off their newborn baby boy to extremely congratulatory friends and family. Leland Culp was born on February 18, 1916 in Warrensburg, the city he would love and serve the rest of his life. After falling in love, he would marry his darling bride Zinn Brooks in November of 1952.

Thankful to be living in the United States, Culp proudly served the Red, White, and Blue by fighting in both World War II and in the Korean War. This retired Lietenant Commander in the U. S. Navy would become a licensed professional engineer in both Texas and Missouri. He would take his leadership skills he had acquired while serving our nation and bring that ability back to the city Old Drum made famous.

Leland Culp created the Inland Chemical Company in 1956 and operated the store until its sale 31 years later in 1987. Inland Chemicals specialized in plastic bottles, fire extinguishers, fire fighting equipment, and a multitude of other products to help make lives better and more secure.

As one of his most famous accomplishments, Leland Culp honorably served on the Warrensburg City Council from 1960 through 1963 and even had a one year term as mayor from April of 1961 through April of 1962.

Very few people ever receive the opportunity to help Central Missouri State University on the executive level. Yet, for an entire decade from 1965 through 1975, Leland Culp was an influential leader serving on the CMSU Board of Regents.

He was an outstanding leader in the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce and even received a special award from the group for being an outstanding long-term member.

Leland Culp was extremely active in the Democratic Party, which had a major role in shaping the current system of state government in Missouri. He was the Chairperson of the Johnson County Central Democratic Committee (1972-1976), a member of the Democratic State Committee in Missouri (1977-1980), and was the Chairperson of the 31st Senatorial District Committee (1981-1982).

A strong Christian man, Leland Culp was an active member of the 1st Baptist Church. He also served on the Board of Directors of the United Missouri Bank and was even an active member of the Sunset Hill Cemetery Association. Even up to his death at 72 years old, he was still active in our city while serving on the Warrensburg Board of Adjustment. Because of the major commitment Culp gave to our city and from the lives of the people that were made better by his work, Warrensburg is incredibly thankful for the commitment of Leland Culp.

Harry L. & Bessie R. Day

George Willis & Susie Myrtle Diemer: George Diemer, the former president of Central Missouri State University, is buried beside his wife Susie Myrtle Diemer. Located on the CMSU campus, Diemer Hall is named in his memory. Their child, George Willis Jr. whose grave is located near his parents, gave his life for our country while serving in the second World War.

Thomas Reed Dunham

Thomas Dunham, a World War I veteran, ran a laundry business located off of South Holden near the old Estes Hotel. His nephew, Oliver C. Dunham Jr., also served our country as a sergeant in the armored field artillery. Oliver was a successful businessman and is buried near his uncle.

James Douglas Eads

Historians have coined the term Renaissance Man to refer to individuals who have possessed amazingly well-rounded talents in a large variety of fields. James Douglas Eads would fit this description. This pastor, physician, politician, hotel proprietor, newspaper editor, and military veteran had lived in West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa, before settling permanently in Warrensburg, Missouri. This amazing man, who fathered eight children including one whose lineage would keep the name James Douglas Eads for four generations, had unlimited talents in all areas of a person’s life.


Always on the move, James Douglas Eads was a man of numerous talents. Never satisfied with the status quo, Eads repeatedly sought new fields to master and more people to help. Following is a short summary of Warrensburg’s true Renaissance Man.

Born in 1813 in West Virginia, James Douglas Eads would serve the nation in numerous facets and live in as many as five different states (very unusual for his time).

As a man of God, Eads humbly served his congregation of believers in Blandensville, Illinois as their church pastor. He would eventually leave the cloth and pursue medicine, another way of helping and serving his fellow citizen.

As a licensed physician in at least two states (Illinois and Iowa), he dedicated his life towards helping people recover from illness or disease. As a private in the army, this highly intelligent man would also use his medical ability to help injured troops during his stint in the Mexican-American War (1847 through 1848).

Between the wars, Eads lived in Iowa and held the highly prestiged title of Iowa State Superintendent of Public Instruction. From 1854 through 1857, Eads made difficult and controversial decisions that could have helped the Iowa school system. After a handful of important decisions turned out sour, Eads would move his family down south into Missouri and into the restful city of Warrensburg.

However, with the Civil War on the way, Eads couldn’t rest for long. During the Civil War, he would serve as Captain of the Missouri State militia for the entire four year conflict. In the early days of the war, Eads used his influence around town gathering people together in forming a militia. During this time period, the disgruntled confederate enemies were so angered at his involvement that they placed a price on his head.

Though during the war, his fighting record is less than would be desired, there is at least one man who is extremely grateful for the courage of Eads. After hearing of an innocent Union Soldier in Lexington who was about to be found guilty for a crime he did not commit, Eads rode horseback through Confederate territory wearing his Yankee uniform in order to stand up for the man’s innocence and secure his safe trip home.

Eads was also an extremely vigilant hotel proprietor and successfully ran the Bolton House (located on the south side of the public square on West Main Street), the Eads House (located on the southeast corner of West Market and North Main Street), and the Allen House (located in Clinton, Missouri). He would also become well known working as a newspaper editor for the Signal (pre-Civil War Warrensburg newspaper) and for the Warrensburg Journal (Daily Star Journal).

Though some people attempt to link James Douglas Eads with the same heritage of James Buchanan Eads (developer of the Eads Bridge in St.Louis and successful inventor of various aquatic and bridge creation patents), nothing in history has been found to place the two together in the same family lineage. However, James Douglas Eads would have eight children (three sons and five daughters) with six of them living beyond infancy. In one family line, Mary Dalton would follow in her father’s footsteps and become a successful hotel proprietor. Another line would carry the name James Douglas Eads to the fourth generation. Son James II would own a large farm in the country and a drugstore on the corner of Holden Street and Pine Street. James III (known to many as “little Doug Eads”) would perish unexpectantly in some type of an argument following a turkey shoot. Lastly, James IV died tragically as a child while crossing the road near College Street and Railroad Street. Today, traveling through Sunset Hill Cemetery, people may give their last respects to a man and a heritage that meant so much to so many people.

David Eppright

Thousands served America under the leadership of General Douglas MacArthur during the second World War. While serving in the 63rd Bomb Squad, 1st Lieutenant Eppright vanished into the mountains of New Guinea. David and eight fellow crew members gave their lives fighting for freedom having accomplished the mission. Eppright’s remains have been returned to his family, his tombstone is located near other family members.