Smithville, MO

Some of Smithville, Missouri's earliest settlers were buried at Aker Cemetery

CJ Coombs

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The Aker Cemetery is off this point under the waters of Smithville Lake.Bob Simrak, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Aker Cemetery located northeast of Smithville, Missouri is a historic site. It began as a family burial plot for Platte River Valley's first white settlers. The area was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in November 1974.

The Akers

In 1828, 500 acres of land were accumulated by John and Mary Aker. John was born to German parents in 1785 in Pennsylvania. He married a woman also of German descent, Mary Sidener. The Akers had 12 children. Their family arrived in Clay County, Missouri from Kentucky.

There are other families in this location that are buried in the cemetery. Some individuals ended up marrying into the Aker family. As the original homestead buildings of these early settlers were destroyed, the cemetery is the only proof of the early settlers coming to this area.

John Aker was a man of native ability, and although he had only three months’ schooling improved himself by an extended course of excellent reading and became thoroughly versed in ancient history and well posted in the current events of the day. Born in Pennsylvania, he migrated with his parents to Kentucky, and for a number of years resided in an old fort, where the settlers sought protection from the Indians, and later, fitting himself for the work of life, learned the trade of a brick-mason. (Source.)

The cemetery

A known burial that was the most recent occurred 92 years ago. The cemetery had not been maintained and the only reason its existence became known was when some land was acquired for the Smithville Dam and Lake.

Some local historical groups became interested in the cemetery and have researched the descendants of those buried in the cemetery. The development of a plan was to ensure the cemetery was maintained and preserved.

There are 13 memorials listed on the Find a Grave website including the markers for John and Mary Aker. It would be an interesting project to determine whether any Aker descendants exist today.

Thank you for reading.

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms. Thinker, giver, and lover of life and retired early to be a writer. Born into Air Force service life, life has taken me to Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO
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