Backstory and Context
Following the Platte Purchase in 1836 many pioneer families from Kentucky, Virginia, and other states, traveled to Buchanan County to start new lives. Some continued westward following the Oregon trail, while others purchased large tracts of farming land outside of the new town of St. Joseph. At this time it was quite common to be buried on family land, which has led to a surprising number of small family cemeteries throughout the county. Some of these burial grounds stayed very small, only serving the individual families, but others started to grow slightly, serving others in their small farming communities.
Nestled into the bluffs, Kerlin Cemetery is located on land that belonged to the Kerlin family. There are burials dating back to the mid 1840’s. Oddly enough, there are no stones indicating that any members of the Kerlin family are buried in their namesake cemetery. Some of the earliest burials in Kerlin belong to the Gabbert family who came to this county in the early 1840’s from Virginia. It is located in the Bluffwoods Conservation Area, just south of Halls, MO.
Union Historical Company. The History of Buchanan County. St. Joseph, Mo: Union Historical Company, 1881