Local People Preserving Local History
McRoberts and Scott Cemeteries Hike
The McRoberts and Scott Cemeteries provide another opportunity for a hiker to combine walking with local history. This hike is approximately 4 ½ miles roundtrip and involves some hills, so be prepared for some good exercise. The destination is an area where a small African-American community was located, apparently for several decades. According to an article in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat on February 25, 1941, forty-two slaves are buried in these two cemeteries. The cemeteries contain no marked headstones, but several unmarked stones, many of which were discovered buried and reset within the last few years.
Park in the Lost Valley Trail parking lot, which is located on the north side of Highway 94, just a ways down the road from the intersection of Highways DD and 94. Follow the trail northeast. As you walk on this trail, you will be following Muschany Hollow Road, that ran from the Marthasville Road (Highway 94) to the town of Howell, one of the villages removed by the U. S. government in 1941. The trail parallels Little Femme Osage Creek.
Continue walking to the northeast; do not follow the trail when it turns to the northwest. From this point you will be following the Lost Valley Trail in a counterclockwise direction. When you have walked .7 miles from the trailhead, the Lost Valley Trail will turn to the east. You immediately descend into a small creek which may have a few inches of water. Walk .37 miles. The trail curves around a couple of ravines and eventually crosses an old road (695839 4282730). As of this writing (Nov. 2010), a 4”x4” metal trail sign is posted. It reads “TRAIL” and points BACK down trail on which you have been walking.
Turn left onto the old road, which climbs a lengthy hill. In .7 miles turn off the trail to the east; within a few hundred feet you will see the McRoberts Cemetery (695620 4283351). It is fenced with wire and marked with a historical society sign. Records from 1941 indicate thirty graves. Several unmarked depressions are obvious. As you walk back to the old road, you will pass by what remains of the home on land owned by John Navo in 1875, Henderson McRoberts in 1905, and John Hamm in 1940. Look carefully and you may find the concrete cover to the well with the words “Walter Jesse” etched on it. This area is covered with daffodils in the springtime.
After you return to the old road, continue walking to the northwest. In .27 miles on the left, if you do this hike in the spring, it is impossible to miss the abundance of non-native flowers in what was once someone's front yard. Daffodils, narcissus, and snowdrops bloom in profusion. Turn southwest off the trail. You will notice what is left of the foundations of buildings on land owned by F. Castlio in 1875, C. Scott in 1905, and Mary Winterberg in 1940. The old farm pond is also worth exploring. After walking a few hundred feet, you will arrive at the Scott Cemetery (695154 4283593), which is fenced with wire and marked with a sign. Remains of two Muschany Mortuary metal grave markers are worth noting. One, barely legible, reads “Louis Scott.” The Muschany Mortuary was one of the many area businesses which ceased to exist when the U. S. government gained control of this land in 1941.
If you're still in the mood for more exploring, you can try to find the remains of the home (695185 4283219) on land owned by John Navo in 1875, Louis Wackher in 1905, and Eliza Teeters in 1940. It is located almost straight west of the McRoberts Cemetery, on the other side of the old road. Situated on the edge of a ridge, the site is littered with interesting artifacts, including galvanized tubs, saw blades, bottles, fencing, and a bed frame! You will need to walk several hundred feet in a southwesterly direction from the old road.
Go back to the old road and head home. The good news at this point of the hike is that your return trip is mostly downhill! Enjoy your walk!