Mount Auburn Road’s Name

I’m sure these motorists, like the thousands of others who pass by this point in a week, don’t realize that they’re driving by the reason Mount Auburn Road has that name.

Mount Auburn Cemetery

While looking for something else (how many times have I written THAT phrase?), I saw a April 13, 1961 story in The Missourian about the start of a “Scenic Route West of Cape” that would link Hopper and Gordonville Roads.

The story went on to say that the road was “getting its name from the Mount Auburn Cemetery, atop one of the elevations, and which was the old Joyce Family Cemetery.”

I don’t recall a cemetery

I asked Mother if SHE ever remembered seeing a cemetery along Mount Auburn Road. She drew a blank, too.

On one of our many trips down the road, I played a hunch and turned west toward the apartment buildings up on a hill at what I found out was an extension of Themis Street. At the end of Themis, I saw a short piece of road going off to the right, occupied by a dumpster.

Brush, trees and May Apples

Beyond the paved part was what looked like a trail leading up the hillside. THAT looked promising. I followed the trail up the hill for a hundred yards or so, past a nice stand of May Apples,  until it broke out into a clearing.

Cemetery surrounded by fence

There, at the crest of the hill was a tiny cemetery with a few stones and some obligatory pine trees, all surrounded by a chain link fence topped with barbed wire and secured with a rusty padlock.

There was a gap under the fence in a couple of places. There was a time when I would have had the inclination – and ability – to wriggle under the fence, but my ambition and my flexibility have gone missing.

Most of the stones carried the name “Joyce”

The light was spotty and the fence interfered with getting good shots of the stones, but I did notice that most of them had the name “Joyce” on them.

The Missourian story said the property owners donated a 70-foot right of way to build the road. They included Arthur Job, Ed Haman, Schonhoff Brothers, John Hunze, Percy Farrar and Maple Joyce.  “A 28-foot roadbed is being constructed, this to be graveled, and in the future the road likely will be given a permanent hard structure.”

Joyce Family died in clusters

A Mar. 22, 1927, story said that a double funeral service would be held for a woman and her granddaughter.  Mrs. Clara Giboney died Monday and her granddaughter, Miss Marie Joyce, passed away early today. The bodies will be interred in adjoining family cemeteries on the Hopper Road.

Mrs. Giboney, a widow of the late Alexander Giboney, succumbed to pneumonia, which she contracted after several months of illness with a heart malady.

Miss Joyce was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lee Joyce…Her mother was a daughter of Mrs. Giboney. The young woman, who was 18 years of age, was stricken with a nervous malady a week ago, and her condition rapidly became serious. She had been employed for the past several months as a stenographer at the Dempsey Grocery Co., and prior to that time attended Central High School and the business college here. She was popular in a wide circle of friends and was generally regarded as highly efficient in her work.

She is survived by her parents, five brothers, Leland, Melvin, Thomas, Ivan and James, and one step-brother, Prof. Maple Joyce, a teacher at Murphysboro, Ill.

Engrams buried there, too

One stone had the name Engram on it. It looks like Wm. Engram was married to Mattie Joyce, who died in 1929.

A June 8, 1954, obituary said that Miss Anna T. Joyce, 87, was the third sister to die within six months.

Miss Joyce, known to her friends as “Tony,” was born at Ancell on Aug. 18, 1866. Two sisters preceded her in death, Miss Beatrice Joyce on Jan. 22, 1954, and Miss Georgie Joyce on Feb. 17, 1954. She is survived by a brother, Lee Joyce of Jackson.

The pallbearers, all nephews, will be Marshall Engram, Marvin Engram, Maple Joyce, Leland Joyce and James Joyce.

I didn’t run across a story that told when the Joyce Family Cemetery was named the Mount Auburn Cemetery.

16 Replies to “Mount Auburn Road’s Name”

  1. Facinating. Ken, there must be other small cemeteries hidden away with interesting stories and lists of deceased. I hope you stumble across some more.

  2. Ken-
    Your insight, information and eye for interesting subjects is captivating. I can’t wait to find out what you’ve discovered each day! What a gem of history this tiny cemetery is for those who are related and not. In searching for my own genealogy, I would love to come across this type of info that you tend to uncover. I’m wondering if this Engram family is related to Doc Ford and the Gerlach’s from Cape. I think they lived on Hopper at one time.

    1. There’s nothing special about it. When you hear a snatch of something interesting, just file it away until you can act on it.

      I had no plan to actively look for this cemetery. I was driving down the road and whipped up the Themis extension on a whim.

      I learned early on in the newspaper biz that doing “Hey, Maude” stories are the most fun. (Harold is sitting at the breakfast table reading the paper when he yells, “Hey, Maude, did ya see this?”

    2. There is indeed something special about this cemetery–it belongs to my family. My grandfather was Maple Joyce (he was my mom’s father and soul mate), and his farm stood just up the hill from the cemetery–where I spent many wonderful nights sleeping on the cot in front of the wood-burning stove. He was a cousin to, and neighbor of, both Marvin and Murray Engram; Marvin was the father of Iris Ford. Mt. Auburn Road is named after my grandfather’s–Maple Joyce’s–farm. The names that you will find in this family cemetery are those of my grandfather’s uncles and cousins…as well as a few other colorful relatives.

  3. Ken, My Brothers and I used to sled ride down that hill. We called it Pine Tree Hill. My older Brother lost his 3 front teeth sled riding down that hill. Mount Auburn Rd stop about where Themis Street is.Below the Hill is an lane that went to the Joyce or Ingrams House. I remember the cemetery well. The Old house had slave quarters and even had chains in the quarters.

    1. Where was the house? I don’t recall the cemetery or anything about that area, probably because the road wasn’t built all the way through until after I left Cape.

  4. Ken, There is a lane at the bottom of Pine Tree hill. There is a gate there now. But the lane was to the house. The house is no longer there. All subdivison now. I rember the house and the slave houses. I talked to my older brother and he verfied that to. In my opinion, there might be slaves buried up there on Pine Tree hill.

  5. Ken – Do you know if this area was called West Mount? Some of the archive stories from the Southeast Missourian during the 1930-40 seem to refer to West Mount as “subdivision” or “suberb” rather than a street name, but I think they are talking about the Hopper Road area.

  6. The West Mount area was a stretch of Hopper Road generally between West Rodney and Kingshighway. Around the intersection of Hopper and West Rodney are several brick homes with a 1920-30s look. This is, I believe, the heart of West Mount. My dad lived in the second house east of Patricia during the late 30s and 40s.

    In 1940 my grandfather and great grandfather built West Mount Gardens, a motel, gas station and cafe complex on the northwest corner of Kingshighway and Hopper adjacent to the VFW Hall. WWII gas rationing killed the service station, but the cafe lasted until about 1950. Later, in the mid 60s, when I worked at Wimpy,s, one of the cooks remembered me. She had worked at the cafe when I was about 2.

    My grandparents sold the motel in the mid 50s, and, like many others, retired to Lantana, Fla.

  7. Bill – Thanks for the info! I hope you, and others, are writing down this information somewhere for your kids, grandkids and great grandkids! All the years of listening to my parents and grandparents tell stories that I thought I’d remember, never hit me so hard until I was trying to recall the details! What wonderful family and community history is shared here.

  8. I’m one of the granddaughters of leland joyce. We were never informed they were changing the name of the Joyce cemetery. My grandfather into the late 70’s did the maintainence on the graveyard. You are also correct about clusters dieing. Years ago, my younger days, I did scale the fence with my sister. There are two sets of twins that died the same time and alot of stone are missing. Originally the whole top of that hill was stone covered.

  9. The people buried in this cemetery are my family. I spent the best years of my life at my grandparents’ farm (Maple and Erna Joyce) just up the hill from the cemetery. This is a special place o me.

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