Whenever I go visit Dad’s grave in the New Lorimier Cemetery, I see the Perionnet family’s mausoleum just as I turn left to leave the graveyard. Missourian librarian Sharon Sanders wrote about the history of the structure in her December 5, 2013, blog. I’ll steal a few snippets from it, but if you want to get the whole story, you should go to her blog.
Harlan P. Peironnet was first resident
Harlan P. Peironnet was a prominent Cape Girardeau businessman when he died in St. Louis in 1912. He was first buried in New Lorimier Cemetery, but his wife and son-in-law spent $3,475 to have this mausoleum built by a St. Louis company. Newspaper accounts said some of the granite pieces weighed as much as 14 tons and had to be moved in special wagons pulled by “giant” horses brought in from St. Louis.
Mr. Peironnet’s remains were disinterred and moved into one of the eight crypts in the building in 1914. His wife, the paper reported, viewed his remains, “which were in nearly as perfect condition as the day he died, a year ago.”
Peironnet’s wife died in 1951
Mrs. Julia Moon Peironnet died in 1951, a few days short of her 96th birthday. She came to Cape when she was two, the daughter of one of the first practicing dentists west of the Mississippi, and was was one of the first students at Cape Girardeau Normal, which later became SEMO University. She taught school in Wayne County and in East Cape Girardeau, where she was ferried back and forth across the river in a skiff.
Lightning hit mausoleum in 1984
A cemetery worker making his rounds on a March morning in 1984 noticed damage to the mausoleum that he thought might have been caused by a bomb. A federal bomb squad that was called in determined that the building had been struck by lightning. The force of the bolt blew off a 2-foot by 2-foot chunk of granite, knocked off one of the double doors and shattered much of the marble slate that made up the eight biers inside.
The damage has since been repaired.
It’s interesting how much of the skyline on the right is dominated by Southeast Hospital. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)
In a good neighborhood
I was fascinated by the “Miller” tile work setting off the graves on the south side of the mausoleum. Had I stepped back a few more steps, I would have seen the stone marking the grave of I. Ben Miller, noted farmer and businessman.
The light-colored stone on the right belongs to Dr. Lila Miller, his daughter. Mr. Miller named his dairy farm on Sprigg Street the Lila Drew Farm in honor of his daughters, Miss Lila Miller and Miss Clara Drew Miller. Both daughters are buried in this section, along with son Edwin Miller and his wife.
10 Replies to “Peironnet Family Mausoleum”
Mr. I. Ben Miller also owned the I Ben Miller Ice Cream factory on Water Street just after the turn of the century (1800 – 1900). I have a picture of it in my Cape Girardeau photo archives.
Does the Peironnet home off the Big Bend Road near Sylvan Drive still stand? I remember my dad referring to that area as Peironnet Woods, but never knew the story of the family.
I’ll have to check on that. It was still there in 1972 when Sally Wright Brown wrote a story on Oakenwold
Yes! It’s still there and has been restored and looks near origional. A beautiful home it is.
It IS a beautiful home, but not one I’d like to move into soon.
My Sunset Court house sat on the hill now occupied by a portion of the SEMO hospital parking lot, seen in the photo. We could see much of the cemetery from our north-facing picture window.
My maiden name is Peironnet. The Peironnet family lived in Wheaton, Illinois for many years. James S. Peironnet was the second mayor of Wheaton in the 1800’s. Are we related?
Most of the Peironnet’s were buried in the Wheaton Cemetery.
Our great grandfather (Robert Isom Young) was caretaker of the original estate on Big Bend Rd. in Cape Girardeau MO.
My parents lived on Sylvan Lane until they passed in 2017-we always loved watching the deer on the estate grounds as we were coming from or going to their house. Is it still for sale? I noticed the signs have been down since before Christmas. Has it been purchased? Beautiful setting and home!
If my memory is correct Clara Drew Miller and her sister lived in one of the large homes near fort B(?) overlooking the river and downtown. As I recall they had twin grand pianos in one of the rooms on the first floor and gave piano lessons to students. I always wondered how they could afford such a large house. Now, I think I know.