Morgan - Bell Grove Cemetery

Section 2 Polk Southwest Township


Maryville Forum, Maryville, Missouri, June 2, 1993


Duo's Eagle Scout project rests cemetery [by Kelley Vangundy, Daily Forum Staff]

Efforts by two Maryville Boy Scouts to restore a county cemetery have paid off in more ways than one.

Ryan Couts, 16, and Nate Brazier, 17, born members of Boy Scout troop 75, have worked for more than 300 hours restoring Morgan-Bell grove Cemetery for their Eagle Scout project. While the two young men's hard work has hopefully earned them the top honor in Scouting, it has also made descendants of the Morgan family very happy.

The cemetery, located southwest of Maryville on a county gravel road, over the years had become overrun with weeds, tall grass and trees. Many of the tombstones had fallen over from the many years the cemetery was not maintained.

"You couldn't even tell it was a cemetery," Couts said, remembering back to when he and Brazier began their work.

Following their labor of cutting brush, trees, weeds and grass, as well as resetting a number of stones and building a fence around the site, both Scouts say they are relieved the project is completed.

" I think we have given the whole area a facelift," Brazier said. "I hope people will come out and see it now."

Couts said he hopes people will now realize it exists.

Morgan family descendant say they are thrilled with the outcome of the project.

"We are just tickled to death," Joan Eitel, Maryville, a family descendant said. "My grandmother would be really pleased if she could see all of this."

Eitel, as well as a number of other Morgan family descendants, gathered at the cemetery Tuesday afternoon to see the renovations.

"I couldn't believe it when we first walked up, " Dixie McGary, a family descendent said. "It is really impressive."

Letha Marie Mowry, Maryville, who is also a descendent of the Morgan family, said she is excited about bringing other family members to the cemetery.

"I hope I can bring my grandsons out this summer," Mowry said. "They've never been out here."

"This is just wonderful," Mowry added. "Our (she and Eitel's) great-great-grandfather is buried here."

The cemetery, with a public cemetery on one side and a family cemetery on the other half, was deeded to Nodaway County in 1893, but had its first burial in 1842. It is believed to have the oldest marked grave in the county, belonging to John McDonald Morgan, who passed away at the age of 20 in 1842.

Eitel and her descendents, (The Morgan family), first arrived in Nodaway County in the fall of 1841 by covered wagon from Shelby County, Ind. She, as well as a number of her relatives, still remain in Nodaway County today, while others have moved on across the United States and Europe.

Couts said the project is something they have stuck with for a long time. [last paragraph of article is missing.]

Two photographs accompanied the article: "These photographs illustrates the accomplishments both Ryan Couts and Nate Brazier have achieved restoring Morgan - Bell Grove Cemetery. In the top photo, descendents of the Morgan family as well as the surrounding land owners Mr and Mrs Morris Walton, pose with the two Scouts. From left to right; front row, Craig McGary, Phillip McGary and Dixie McGary. Back row: Mr and Mrs Morris Walton, Ryan Couts, Ferris Eitel, Joan Eitel, Letha Marie Mowry, Leroy Shull, Elizabeth Mauzey and Nate Brazier stand around the proposed oldest marked grave in Nodaway County belonging to John McDonald Morgan. Eitel said seven generations of the Morgan family were represented in the cemetery Tuesday. The photo to the left shows the area before the pair's efforts.