by: Emilee Kuschel, Natalie Nunn
The Union Campground Cemetery sits at the outskirts of Springfield. Nestled at the corner of 65 and Valley Water Mill Road. The cemetery could be a long-forgotten place, but two groups, with not a lot in common, are working hard to keep the memory alive of loved ones’ past.
Dr. Billie Follensbee is a Professor of Art History at Missouri State University. For nine years she has taken her class to get hands-on training,
“This is what I call a win, win, win, win, win experience,” explains Follensbee.
Her students are gaining the kind of know-how that doesn’t come from a classroom. It’s a highlight of the semester says Follensbee, “They receive full training and then they get to work hands-on. That is the best part of the class for them. They love working hands-on with all of this stuff.”
Robert Chandler is part of the Union Campground Cemetery Association. He has spent 30 years restoring the cemetery. The expertise the students bring is invaluable to his group.
“It’s kind of a labor of love as you might say,” says Chandler. Everyone in the association is linked together by a family member buried in the cemetery.
Chandler works hard to keep loved ones’ memories alive, “You don’t want to forget the past.”
The partnership between the students and the association has thrived. Young and old working together to honor those gone long ago.
People often talk about the cemetery being a Civil War Cemetery for the Union. Although there is one Union Soldier buried there, it is actually a cemetery for the union of churches that came together for a campground meeting that began in 1851.
If you want to learn more about the cemetery and those buried there, you can visit unioncamproundcemetery.org.
Union Campground Cemetery Association in Springfield, Missouri