Shady Grove Cemetery

Shady Grove Cemetery between Cape Girardeau and Dutchtown at the deadend of CR 211 is the final resting spot for more than 250 members of the area’s black community. It dates to before the Civil War. A reader pointed it out to me after I did a story on the Pecan Grove School, which is at the corner of Hwy 74 and CR 211.

When I went there about two years ago, it was in pretty ratty shape. When I returned with LaFern and Shari Stiver on a beautiful fall day in 2011, the land had been cleared. I hope careful note was made of where the tombstones were located because they had apparently been moved to make the clean-up easier. I did note red flags scattered here and there.

More information about Shady Grove

Photo Gallery of Shady Grove Cemetery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.



25 Replies to “Shady Grove Cemetery”

  1. As I was doing my genealogy project, I found several family tombstones where the date of death had not been entered. As a relative, I would get the death certificate listing the cemetery to have the local marker business enter the date of death. Most of these family members had been dead for decades.

  2. I grew up on the land next the cemetery (by the pond) and just walked the cemetery yesterday. Has anyone cleaned it up since 2012?

  3. D Cato, Ron Giboney here. Apparently there has been discussions relative to head stones or markers being moved. In any event, the Giboney’s and Cato’s are also related. Would love to talk

  4. Diane Giboney-Bell what happen to all the head stones and markers out at Shady Grove Cemetery . There seems to be only about 5 or 6 left in place in the entire cemetery. Isn’t that against the law?
    Everyone who has ancestors should be questioning what is going on out there

  5. I am Anita Squires-Jones. I am a decendent of the Giboney & Cato families. My great grandmother was Janie (Cato) Davis. She was the daughter of Peter Cato & Odelia Melvina Giboney. I have made some calls regarding this cemetary but haven’t received any response. We need to organize to see what we can do to save this historic site.

  6. I am a descendant of several family members who are buried at Shady Grove Cemetery. Our families are in the process of making sure the cemetery never closes and will work diligently to get our members’ headstones/markers replaced. I recently read where they have closed the road to the cemetery. We will see that it reopens.

  7. I am a descendant of the Giboney & Cato families. My great grandmother Janie (Cato) Davis, daughter of Peter Cato and Odelia Melvina Giboney are buried here. Our family is seeking to find out what is needed to replace damaged headstone/markers and find out why the road to the cemetery is closed.

        1. Thanks. I think this is the applicable statute:

          Visiting abandoned family or private burying ground surrounded by private property, right of access, when, enforcement by sheriff–court’s power to disinter.
          214.132. 1. Any person who wishes to visit an abandoned family cemetery or private burying ground which is completely surrounded by privately owned land, for which no public ingress or egress is available, shall have the right to reasonable ingress or egress for the purpose of visiting such cemetery. This right of access to such cemeteries extends only to visitation during reasonable hours and only for purposes usually associated with cemetery visits.

          2. The sheriff or chief law enforcement officer of the county in which the abandoned family cemetery or private burying ground is located shall enforce the provisions of subsection 1 of this section.

          For the record, I am not an attorney. I thought about studying law, but realized very quickly that you didn’t have to spend years in college to be a photographer.

  8. Hi family. We have been closely involved with Shady Grove Cemetery over the last few years. During that time we have contacted the Commissioner, Sheriff, Lt. Governor and we have been making slow but definite progress. Although numerous stones are now missing, we have been keeping it mowed and it has been recently surveyed. Please be aware that we are hosting a UNITY Family reunion in May 2022 in Cape and there will be much info shared at that time. We had our first Giboney/Bollinger reunion in 2019. This reunion includes all descendants of Shady Grove Cemetery including the Giboney’s, Bollinger’s, Catos, Wades, Caldwells, and more.
    Please reach out to the Giboney/Bollinger Family page on Facebook or leave questions here.

  9. Hello family and friends!!!
    I’m Valerie McGee

    I visited this cemetery many times as a child.

    I’m the great great granddaughter of Spencer Refroe. and Rosie Birch through their daughter Martha Renfro- McGee – Mayham through her son Lynn H McGee

    I thank our Cuz Frank W H Maxwell and Cuz Diane Y Giboney- Bell for reconnecting me with this branch of our mutual family tree

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