AURORA, Mo. — In 1858, the Old Settler’s and Indian Cemetery sat off of Lawrence County Road 2195. Today, it is know as the Samuel and Catherine Phariss memorial Cemetery.
Descendants of the Phariss line were searching for their loved ones. Samuel was the son of an American Patriot.
“They came from Virginia to Tennessee and then in 1838 they came to Missouri with like 45 family members,” Great Great Great Granddaughter Barbara Brauch said. “They were Scotts-Irish. I think it was very common for family members to move together. They were in their 60s when they came here. Their adult children and their families most of them came with them and settled in this area.”
Brauch spent hours looking through her family tree trying to figure out where to start. She ended up using Ancestry DNA, where should found others searching too.
“I had not met Noralee until I saw her on Ancestry DNA,” Brauch said. “I sent her a message hoping she would respond. She did and the first thing we did was start looking for the cemetery.”
Noralee Faulkner is also a Great Great Great Granddaughter of Samuel and Catherine. The Phariss’ were buried 20 years after they came to Missouri. In 2017, Brauch and Faulkner were able to locate the cemetery.
“When we first started coming out here this place was grown up in weeds and trees and it had an oppressing feeling,” Brauch said. “We weren’t sure what we had here to begin with. Little by little we would find a few stone fragments. We found the base stones. We did more research and found letters of people that had come here in earlier days.”
With the search over, the task now is keeping the story alive.
“It’s been 160 odd years,” Brauch said. “When we’re gone, it may fall into disrepair again. All we know we can do is be care takers now and try to honor the people who came before us.”