The registry at Columbia Cemetery reads like a who's who of local history. From its beginning, the cemetery has become the final resting place for city's most influential leaders in business, military, the arts, education and government. Here are a just a few of the names etched on monuments within the cemetery:

Jane Froman, 1907-1980

A graduate of Christian (now Columbia) College, Froman rose to international fame as a singer and stage performer in the 1930s and ’40s. While traveling to Europe on a 1943 USO tour, Froman’s plane crashed and she suffered extensive injuries. Her courageous recovery was chronicled in the film “With a Song in My Heart.”

J.W. “Blind” Boone, 1864-1927

Boone overcame the barriers of race and obstacles of blindness to become an internationally famous concert pianist. His ragtime compositions provided a direct link between African American plantation songs and ragtime. The Blind Boone Memorial Foundation placed a marker at Boone’s gravesite in 1971.

Moss Prewitt, 1799-1871

Moss Prewitt opened Boone County’s first banking firm in 1856. He joined other area merchants to form the Boone County Saving Association (later Boone County National Bank) in 1864. He was one of the original trustees of the Columbia Cemetery Association.

General Odon Guitar, 1824-1908

As a soldier, politician, lawyer and supporter of the University of Missouri, Odon Guitar commanded the Union Forces of the Ninth Calvary of the Missouri State Militia during the Civil War and was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. His brother, David, served as an officer of the Confederate Army.

William F. Switzler, 1819-1906

Switzler published the Missouri Statesman newspaper in Columbia from 1843-1885. He served as a representative in the Missouri General Assembly for three terms in the 1840s and 1850s and was a delegate to the 1865 and 1875 Missouri Constitution Conventions. His 1882 “History of Boone County” is considered the most complete early history of the county. Switzler also was an original trustee of the Columbia Cemetery Association.

William Orear, 1761-1839

One of two Revolutionary War veterans buried in the cemetery, Orear served in the Virginia Militia in 1777 and participated in the campaign against Cornwallis at Williamsburg. His grave was marked with a marble headstone by the Columbia Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1952.

Slater (1834-1929) and
Margaret (1833-1928) Lenoir

Slater and Margaret Lenoir built the Maplewood Home on their 427-acre farmstead southeast of Columbia in 1877. The home is now operated as a historic site by the Boone County Historical Society and the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department.

Dr. Frank G. (1867-1954) and
Lavinia Lenoir Nifong (1868-1959)

St. Louis surgeon Frank G. Nifong married Lavinia Lenoir, daughter of Slater and Margaret Lenoir, in 1900. The couple moved to Maplewood in 1905 and lived there the remainder of their lives. Their benevolence provided for the construction of Lenoir Manor and an addition to the Boone County Hospital, which bears Dr. Nifong’s name. A city park and a boulevard also bear his name.

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Columbia, Missouri
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