The Belton Cemetery was formally founded in 1875 to serve the residents of Belton, Missouri, and northwest Cass County. The cemetery is on 20 acres on the south side of Belton on the north side of Cambridge Road, just west of South Scott Avenue. However, a cemetery has been in existence on the land long before Belton itself was even founded in 1871. Indeed, cemetery records show that earliest burial was for B.F. Barber in 1842.
Belton Cemetery is owned and operated by the Belton Cemetery Association Inc., a general not-for-profit corporation governed by a 15-member board of directors. The association and board are independent of the city of Belton. Since its founding, the cemetery and its association has continued to grow and evolve with the community.
To better care for the cemetery, members of community organized the Cemetery Association of Belton in 1890 and incorporated the body in 1891 through a filing in the Missouri Circuit Court of Cass County.
However, it was not until 1959 that the cemetery was actually within the city limits of Belton. According to the minutes of the cemetery board’s meeting on December 16, 1958, the association voted to ask the city to annex the cemetery. Belton’s Board of Alderman discussed and accepted the annexation proposal at its meeting on January 5, 1959. William V. Powell was the mayor of Belton at the time.
In the major step in the cemetery’s evolution, the board filed papers with Missouri’s Secretary of State in 1967 and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in 1968 to reincorporate as a non-profit corporation called the Belton Cemetery Association Inc. All assets of the Cemetery Association of Belton were fully transferred to the Belton Cemetery Association Inc., and Wallace Blair, the president of the old entity at the time, became the president of the new entity. This governing structure continues to allow all funds donated to the cemetery to be treated as tax free for the giver.
The association’s Board of Directors is a group of volunteers who give of their time to see that the cemetery is maintained in a manner respectful to the memories of all the people buried in the cemetery. Each year, the board along with other generous volunteers from the community host an open house at the cemetery during the entire Memorial Day weekend, helping visitors to find graves and serving iced tea, lemonade and cookies. The association also ensures the cemetery is decorate with beautiful flowers and flags at the entrances for the weekend.
In 2001, the association added an east entrance to cemetery on South Scott Avenue. The new entrance was built of rock that closely matches that of the old entrances on Cambridge Road on the south side of the Cemetery. And the rot-iron gates on the new entrance were originally from the farthest east entrance on the south side, which had been enlarged several decades before. Faye Wallace, president of the board at the time, spearheaded the effort to construct the new South Scott Avenue entrance.
On Veterans Day, November 11, 2010, the association unveiled and dedicated the new Veterans Memorial. The beautiful monument honors all branches of the U.S. armed services (see the photos on this website). The association is still accepting donations for the memorial. See the information on how to donate at the top of this page and be sure to indicate that your donation is for the Veterans Memorial.
In Mach 2011, the association launched this website. The website was created by Coders for Charity, a group of professional website designers who spend an entire weekend once a year creating websites for non- profit organizations. We were fortunate enough to get their help with our site. The database the programmers used for the Find a Grave feature of this website was created by the Tabor family. For many years, board member Mary Tabor recorded all burials in the Belton cemetery in a book, on note cards or whatever she had handy to write on.
Mary's daughter, Margo Beal with the help of her sister, Mickey Tabor, later gathered up Mary’s notes and put the information into a more formal book that is now used to help people find graves. Margo and Mickey also spent many hours walking through the cemetery gathering more information and correcting any errors. the website, Margo transferred all the information into a computerized database. Margo is still adding entries and making corrections when needed. The association is very grateful for what the Tabor family has done and continues to do to ensure that the archives of the Belton Cemetery are as accurate as possible.
Near term, the association has two major development plans: a columbarium and a new facilities building. The board has decided to remove the white storage building in the center of the cemetery that has served the association well for many years to make room for a columbarium to hold the remains of those who choose cremation as an alternate to traditional burial. At the same time, the association plans to construct a building elsewhere on the cemetery grounds to house a meeting room, office, storage space and toilets.
As it has done for more than 120 years, the Belton Cemetery Association continues to maintain and care for the cemetery through the efforts of its board and other volunteers. These citizens believe the cemetery is important to our community not only because it displays our respect for the residents who have come and gone before us but also because it keeps their memories alive for future generations, preserving our common heritage.
Elmer W. Larkey
Belton Cemetery Association Inc.
April 18, 2011