Machpelah Cemetery in Lexington, Missouri
in Lafayette County, MO
Machpelah Cemetery is the oldest and largest cemetery in current use in Lexington, Missouri. A special act of the Missouri Legislature incorporated Machpelah Cemetery in 1849. The cemetery actually dates back to 1839 when John Taylor Waddell was buried in the Waddell Family Cemetery which over the next several years was replaced by and greatly expanded into what is now Machpelah Cemetery. The cemetery has been expanded by several additions over the years to bring Machpelah Cemetery to its current size.
Many early and prominent citizens of Lexington, Missouri and the Lafayette County area are buried in Machpelah Cemetery. Among the many notables buried here are:
The Aull Family (numerous family members who were important merchants in early Lexington history)
William Limerick (builder of Limerick Lawn, now known as Linwood Lawn)
Gilead Rupe (the first settler in the Lexington, Missouri area)
William Bradford Waddell (one of three original members of Russell, Majors and Waddell: founders and operators of The Pony Express)
Stephen Wentworth (founder of Wentworth Military Academy)
Also located within Machpelah Cemetery is The Saluda Memorial. On April 9, 1852, the steamboat Saluda exploded next to Lexington, Missouri while traveling west on the Missouri River. A large but unknown number of persons were killed in the explosion. Many of the bodies were buried in a mass grave on the north side of Machpeleh Cemetery where a memorial has been erected. Most of those killed and buried here were Mormons.
The name of Machpelah Cemetery is a biblical reference to the cave or tomb which Abraham purchased when Sarah died. In time, this was the burial place of not only Sarah, but also of Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Leah.
And . . . after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan. (Genesis 23:19)
Directions to Machpelah Cemetery: From the intersection of Highway 24 and Highway 13 (on the south side of Lexington), go north on Highway 13 to the first traffic light. Turn right at the traffic light. The cemetery is located behind the grocery store at this intersection. The entrance to Machpelah Cemetery is located on South 20th Street.
Cemetery records date only to 1885 with no record of earlier burials. Records from the years of 1920 thru 1940 were destroyed by a fire.
Looking across Machpelah Cemetery in Lexington, Missouri
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