About this Cemetery

Sibley Cemetery

The Sibley Cemetery is reputed to be the oldest historic-era cemetery in Jackson County and western Missouri and contains roughly 600 graves. It is located on a high bluff edge immediately above the Missouri River. The cemetery began as the military cemetery for Fort Osage (1808-1827), and the oldest known graves are those of 48 soldiers from Fort Osage and Fort Atkinson buried here from 1810-1820. After the fort was abandoned, the cemetery was greatly enlarged as it was used by local occupants, and the military portion of the cemetery was all but forgotten until it was relocated in the 1990s. Most of the graves in this cemetery are of local residents of the town of Sibley (platted in 1836) and the nearby area. The non-military graves date from around 1820 to 1994. Burials are no longer allowed.

Sibley Cemetery

In addition to the Fort Osage and Fort Atkinson soldiers buried here, the graves of a famous "mountain man", Zenas Leonard, is also here, as are several members of early families who initially settled in the area such as the McClellan, Harrelson, Chiles, and McMillan families. There are also graves of veterans of the War of 1812, Civil War, WWI, WWII, and Vietnam.

Zenas Leonard spent the years 1831-35 trapping and exploring throughout the West and wrote a famous and widely read account of his travels entitled, "Narrative of the Adventures of Zenas Leonard." He settled in Sibley in 1836 and married a local woman, Isabel Harrelson. Leonard operated a store and freight business in Sibley until his death in 1857.

Sibley Cemetery

Another individual, important in the history of Jackson County, is Abraham McClellan. He and his family moved to the Sibley area around 1820 while the fort was still in operation. McClellan was elected as a Missouri state representative in 1826 and appointed as one of the first Jackson County judges in 1827. He was also the Missouri State Treasurer from 1838-43.

The cemetery is part of the Fort Osage National Historic Landmark operated by Jackson County Parks & Recreation. It is in the northeast corner of Jackson County. The site is open from 9AM-4:30PM, everyday except Mondays and certain holidays. The cemetery is located about 500 feet south of the Fort Osage Education Center. There is no admission fee to view the cemetery, but there is a fee to visit the museum and fort.

For further assistance see the staff at the front desk in the education center and museum.


Tour of Ft Osage and Sibley Cemetery (Flickr)
Jackson County Parks: Ft Osage
Fort Osage National Historial Landmark