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Historic Cottleville cemetery receives facelift

Pitman Cemetery
Graves in the historic Pitman Cemetery in Cottleville date back to the Revolutionary War. (Source: St. Charles Chapter DAR)

The Pitman Cemetery, the resting place of one of St. Charles’ Revolutionary War veterans, is getting a facelift today. 

Jacob’s Ladder (stonesdoneright.com), a well-known cemetery restoration company, has started the process of restoring Pitman to its former elegance. 

Penny Pitman, a descendant of Thomas Pitman, the brother of John Pitman, the Revolutionary War veteran, spearheaded the effort to restore and fix the stones. She contacted other family members and interested parties and received support from the city of Cottleville, Pitman Funeral Homes, Jim Pitman and Eric Pitman.

The cemetery had fallen in disrepair over the last 200 years. About 12 years ago, the Saint Charles Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) cleared out the brush and reset some of the stones with the help of Ida and Carl Gerdiman, well known grave restorationists. The Boone-Duden Historical Society also helped clean up and restore some of the stones.
When Lombardo Homes bought the property for the Legacy at Patriot’s Ridge subdivision, then-City Administrator Scott Lewis explained to them the significance of the cemetery. Lombardo placed an ornamental fence around the cemetery and installed a front entrance gate. All through construction, Lombardo Homes removed brush, cut down dead trees, mowed the grass and took care of the cemetery. 

The local Saint Charles Chapter of the DAR annually cleans the cemetery with the help of Lombardo Homes and the city of Cottleville.

“We are fortunate that individuals and groups like the DAR, Boone-Duden Historical Society and the city of Cottleville have kept track of these early settlers who included Revolutionary War veterans and preserved their graves. This is a family burial ground that might have been destroyed without that attention,” Penny Pitman said.

It is believed that about 30 people are buried in the cemetery, according to Boone-Duden Historical Society. Some enslaved people are believed to be buried there also. 

John Pitman served during the Revolutionary War under George Rogers Clark and fought with Daniel Boone at the battle of Boonesborough. He served as St. Charles County representative to the Missouri Constitutional Convention for statehood, and served as first tobacco commissioner. He had come to St. Charles County with his family in 1811 from Kentucky following along the same trail as did Daniel Boone and his family. He died Jan. 1, 1839, at the age of 85.

Later in July, the Pitman Cemetery will be one of 12 cemeteries featured in a countywide Missouri Bicentennial Cemetery Tour

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