Watters Family Cemetery
Salt River Township.
a mile north of Ashburn
SE1/4 of the NW1/4 of the NE1/4 of T55N, R3W
location, burials, probing for markers, farmstead, family members, photo survey

Cemetery GPS:  N39deg, 33.588min; W091deg, 10.973min, +/- 20ft, elevation 590.  Cemetery GPS location converted to the deg/min/sec reading to use for a site like Google Earth (which shows locations in minutes and seconds rather than only in decimal equivalents of minutes)  as one moved the mouse over the maps:  (N39deg, 33min, 35.28sec); (W091deg, 10min, 58.38sec).

Albums with hundreds of pictures of the Watters Cemetery, Watters farmstead,  DuPont Reservation, Waddell farmstead, Ashburn and Bush Station area can be viewed by browsing the Pike County Missouri folder at
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Burials markers, bases, fieldstones located in Jan 2007:

Southern Portion
From west to east, four standing markers, one buried, two bases buried.

Susan A. Watters, b. Mar 19, 1833, d. July 15, 1870, mother.  Marker was broken through the ‘wife of W.M. Watters.’  Top half found covered with leaves in front of the standing bottom half.

Underground Marker Base, was located between Susan and Joann’s markers.  No marker was located for this base; probably Joann’s base. 

Joann Watters, b. Jan 13, 1862, d. Sept 10, 1962, dau of W.M. & S.A.  Joann's marker was/is propped up on some fieldstones.  A base was found underground just to the westward of her marker, or toward her mother Susan's marker.  This base is the likely location of Joann's burial.

James M. Watters, b. Mar 31, 1856, d. Sept 21, 1856, son of W.M. & S.A.  James’ marker is/was leaning upright on a field stone. 

Underground Marker Base, assumed to be James’ was located underground less than two feet to the west of James’ marker.

Unknown flat limestone piece, found just west of Charles’ marker.

Charles B. Watters, b. ?, d. ?, son of W.M. & S.A.  Was located underground about two feet west of William’s marker.   The marker was broken with only the top/name portion found.  It is possible one or more pieces around William Jr.’s marker belongs to the Charles marker.

W. (W.M., William Marion?) Watters, b. Jan or Mar or Apr 31, 1825, d. Nov 18, 1872.  Marker was broken, bottom half standing, with only the dates showing.  This is Wm. Jr., husband of Susan A.  W.W.’s footstone was found buried close-by, but the area census data shows initials W.M.  The footstone if William Jr.’s, apparently did not have the middle initial, ‘M.’  The Watters family apparently had numerous ‘Marion’ first/middle names used, so if an M. initial, it may be Marion.

W.W. Footstone, found by probing, buried under 6in of leaf mulch and soil, located 3+ feet eastward and in line with the broken marker assumed to be W.M. Watters, thus likely the footstone for W.M. Watters which had been displaced and ‘tossed’ up near the headstone, eventually coming to rest three feet east of the headstone and covered by leaf mulch and soil formation.

Unknown Marker Piece, found probing for the broken top of Wm Jr.’s headstone,  located 18in to the NE of W.W.’s headstone under about 4” of soil, with what appears to be a number five.

Unknown flat limestone piece, found probing for the broken top of Wm Jr.’s headstone, located 18in to the N of W.W. headstone under 6” of soil.  No apparent markings, but appears to have worked flat sides.


Northern Portion
One field stone standing, three markers, one base, field stones found underground:

Watters, George A., d. Aug 20, 1865, aged 30y9m3d.  Marker was located with a probe  buried about six inches under leaf mulch and soil at the west end.  Marker was north of Susan A.’s standing marker.   A fieldstone was found underground about four feet north of George’s marker.

Article (Bowling Green) 1865 (regarding George Watters, murdered)
A Man Murdered—We learn that George Waters (Watters), living on Salt River, in this county (Pike), was shot on last Sunday morning, from the effects of which he died in a short time.  We did not hear the particulars of the murder.  A man whose name we heard but have forgotten, with whom Waters had difficulty some ten days prior to the killing is supposed to have committed the deed.  He has fled.

Watters, William (Sr.), b. Sept 12, 1787, d. Feb 7, 1864.  Marker under about eight inches of leaf mulch and soil.  Marker located on a north line about equal distant from Joann and Susan’s, and a few feet NW of John H.  An underground base was found just to the east of Wm. Sr’s marker.

Watters, John H., son of W.M. & S.A., b. Dec 7, 1868, d. Apr 5, 1869.  Marker was located with a probe and found buried about six inches under leaf mulch and soil.  Marker was north of Joann’s standing marker.

Underground Fieldstone, about four feet northward from George’s marker. 

Fieldstone Marker, a standing limestone slab with no marking is located burial length+,  to the north of the Wm. Jr. Watters family standing row of markers.


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Last updated:  Jan 30, 2007

Locating and walking into the Watters Family Cemetery

1. Go to old Ashburn, Missouri.  Go north about one mile, either on the east or west side of the railroad track, to the end of the north/south road.  Park on the west side of the tracks at the entrance to the MO Conservation land or the old DuPont Explosive Plant. 

GPS readings:
DuPont Explosive Plant, north valley:  N39deg, 33.906min; W091deg, 11.143min.
Busch/Bush Station Store:  N39deg, 33.766min; W091deg, 11.213min, elev. 675ft.
Cemetery location:  GPS  N39deg, 33.588min; W091deg, 10.973min, +/- 20ft, elevation 590
Conservation land gate (entrance area into old Watters’ farmstead or south valley of the DuPont Explosive Plant:   GPS N30deg,33.643min; W091deg10.808min, +/- 2



Above is a view back to Ashburn from the gate area into the DuPont Reservation trail to the Watters Cemetery.  The line on the right of the road is some of the old fencing which controlled entry of visitors, plus kept a herd of goats which were pastured within the grounds to keep underbrush down.  The plant operated from the 1890's to the early 1930's, producing gunpowder, explosives and corrosive chemical by-products.


2. Start at Conservation land gate:   GPS N30deg,33.643min; W091deg10.808min, +/- 20ft.
3. Walk about 300yds WxSW, on a 240deg bearing following the old trail into the DuPont Plant.

4.   Turn directly north after reaching about the middle of the north side of the Conservation Shed, which in 2007 was on the south side of the trail, or at a GPS reading of  N39deg, 22.560min; W091deg, 10.930min, +/-20ft, elevation. 495ft. 

5.  If the leaves are off the trees, one can see a few pine trees midway up the hill to the north.  These are not cedar trees, but true red pine trees which in 2007 seem to be a self sustaining small cluster of pines, therefore the cemetery pines may survive for decades of future location reference.  If during growing season the forest cover and undergrowth will be too dense to see very far ahead so one will need to follow directions more closely. 

6. After leaving the DuPont trail, cross a dry creek bed area a few yards away, and continue directly north uphill crossing a flat area which was an old shortlline railroad bed that lead around the east side of the hill and northward about a mile to the next deep valley or the northern portion of the DuPont Plant.  Go up the next rise/hill to a another flat ‘bench’ where the cemetery is located, about 75 yds from the DuPont path.  In 2007, there was still the timber base or foundation of a small cabin like building on the next level/bench above the cemetery.  The cemetery is on the immediate northern rise-line up the ridge of the of hill, and not on the east facing or southwest side of the hill.  If the cemetery cannot be found in dense cover after walking about a hundred yards, the easiest thing to do is return toward the DuPont trail and start over.


Coming upon the Watters Cemetery from the south, up over the second 'bench,' one can faintly see four standing markers in 2007.  Three are on bases, while the second from the right is leaning on fieldstones.  Later some of the small woody stems were trimmed back so the ground could be probed for buried markers and bases.  The soil and leaf mulch covering located buried markers was later put back in place as the inscriptions on buried markers is lasting better than those exposed to acid rain, lichen growth and other environmental factors.  Going left/west to right/east:  Susan A. Watters, mother, 1833-1870; underground base with the marker not located; dau Joann, 1862-1862;  underground base likely James M.'s, son 1856-1856, as his marker can be seen propped up on fieldstones;  underground maker of son Charles B., broken with no dates;  father Wm. M, 1825-1856, marker broken.

7. Cemetery location:  GPS  N39deg, 33.588min; W091deg, 10.973min, +/- 20ft, elevation 590.  Note the cemetery is about a hundred feet higher than the DuPont Trial.   Cemetery GPS location converted to the deg/min/sec reading to use for a site like Google Earth (which shows locations in minutes and seconds rather than only in decimal equivalents of minutes)  as one moves the mouse over the maps:  (N39deg, 33min, 35.28sec); (W091deg, 10min, 58.38sec)  Online mapping sites such as TerraServer and Google Earth can be used to  get a better visual of the area.  Online census and genealogy sites such as World Connect, Heritage Quest, Ancestry can be used to trace families in the area.


Visitation Log

July 2007:  Jerry Lamberson of Ashburn, Doug Cox from Hannibal and I did not find the 'lost cemetery' on the DuPont Reservation during a visit in July of 2007, due to the thick summer growth on the old DuPont Explosive Plant, now the DuPont Reservation of the Missouri Conservation Commission.

Above shows the dense growth at the DuPont gate area.  Just to the right would have been the old LaMotte Station/Depot area.  Forward and to the right/north would have been the actual buildings and farmstead of the Watters family before DuPont bought the land in about 1890+.  Most of the DuPont buildings/structures  were up the trail and in the deep valley and along the road from Ashburn to this gate area.  Below, is some of the area to the north and into the old Watters farmstead.  Since the DuPont/Watters land was taken over by the Missouri Conservation Commission in the late 1930's, most of the area has been left undisturbed and in the process of natural succession of plant communities since the 1940's.

Jan 4, 2007:    On a rainy day in early Jan 2007, we located the cemetery, discovering it was the Watters Family Cemetery.   Three markers and one field stone were standing, one marker was propped up.  The markers were chalked but the ground was not probed for buried markers and bases.  Below, is a view from the west end of the southern portion.  Markers in order, Susan A. 1833-1870, Joann 1862-1862, James M. 1856-1856, William M. 1825-1872.  A base is underground between Susan and Joann, and no marker was located for this base.   There is a base between Joann and James M., and since James' marker is propped up with field stone, the base may be his.  Just on the other side of James' marker, and found underground was Charles B., but his marker was broken with no dates showing. 

Jan 6, 2007:  Below, a  second photo survey was taken, GPS readings checked, markers re-chalked, the ground probed with two markers found underground, George A. (in the right corner of the pic)  and John H., (in the middle of the pic), plus W.W. footstone, a broken headstone piece and a flat field stone were found near W.W.’s broken headstone.  Pics were taken of the old Watters farmstead area west of the tracks and north of the path up into the DuPont plant area.

Jan 8, 2007:  Below,  a third visit to do another ground probe for buried makers, plus walk/photo the area from the south DuPont Valley/Watters Farm, northward to the north DuPont valley, the Woodall Farm and Busch/Bush Station area.  The entire area to the north of the southern or standing row of markers was gridded off with flags and carefully probed.  The marker of William Sr. Watters, 1787-1864 was discovered between the buried markers of George A. and John H., which were found two days earlier.  This is the third and most intensive probing of the northern portion of the burial grounds, but another more complete grid probing of the northern portion will be undertaken in an attempt to locate Wm. Sr.'s wife Margaret's marker.

William Watters Sr, born Apr 12, 1877, died Feb 7, 1864.

Jan 9, 2007:  A fourth visits primary objective was to systematically probe the  the northern 2/3 of the burial area with grid flags, with the intent to locate a marker for William Watters' (b. 1787) wife Margaret.    Since William Sr.’s marker was found underground, there is a possibility his wife,  Margaret (b. 1792),  is buried next to him, with her marker also being underground.  That is, assuming his marker was underground at or near the location of his actual burial.  As of Jan 2007, since I do not have a known family tree for this Watters family, I do not know William1787’s middle initial.  The W.W. footstone found underground at the east end of row 1, near the broken marker of what I assume is William M. Watters burial, may be William1787’s footstone.   No further underground markers were found in this grid search of the north 2/3 of the cemetery.   Heavy ice, snow accompanied by cold weather immediately followed this trip.  The fourth and final survey visit will be done after snow melt and the frost leaves the ground in early spring, with the objective to be a final grid search of the south end of the cemetery.  At this time, all underground markers, bases, field stones and opened areas will be recovered as the underground markers are holding up much better than those exposed to acid rain and other atmospheric conditions.


Trail Back to the Lamotte Station (gate) area.

Back on the trail after coming down the hill from the north/left.

Gate and railroad track area.  Ashburn is a mile to the right/south.  The old Watters farmstead on the north/left.


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Watters Family Farm

The Watters farm would become the Dupont Powder Plant by the 1890's.

William Watters Family
Ashburn area, Salt River Twp, Pike Co, Missouri

William Watters, b. Sept 12, 1787, d. Feb 7, 1864; VA, wife Margaret, b. 1792, Canada.  William’s marker was found buried; Margaret’s marker has not found, even after probing the entire cemetery three times in Jan 2007.

Possible Children (Using 1860 & 1870 census data and found cemetery markers.   No descendent  trees were found on World Connect or Ancestry.

James H. Watters, 1821, OH.

William M. Watters, Jan or Mar or Apr 31, 1825, d. Nov 18, 1872, b. OH, bottom of marker standing, top half not found; wife Susan A. b. Mar 19, 1833, d. July 15, 1870, standing maker; dau Joann, b. Jan 13, 1862, d. Sept 10, 1962, standing marker; son James M., b. Mar 31, 1856, d. Sept 21, 1856, standing marker; son John H., b. Dec 7, 1868, d. Apr 5, 1869, marker found buried.

John Watters, b. 1829, KY?
J.P. Watters, b. 1833, OH.

George Watters, b. 1836 (census), OH,  d. Aug 20, 1865, aged 30y9m3d, marker found buried.

Thomas Watters, b. 1837, OH.

F.M. Watters, 1837, OH

Joseph N. Watters, b. 1840, OH.

Julia A. Watters, b. 1842, OH.

The Watters Farmstead


Above, standing  in the Watters farmstead area, which is just north along the trail into the southern Dupont/Watters valley, the Watters Family Cemetery location can be seen as the red pine grove in the middle of the picture.  Even in full summer foliage one could step into the farmstead field and can see the tops of these pines which allows a general visual of the cemetery location.  During the summer the plant growth is very intense over all of this area.

Below, one has a view of the the high hill which overlooked the Watters farmstead with the buildings and farmyards in the bottom fields.  The cemetery location is on the 'bench' just off the left side of the picture.  The old shortline railroad bed can be seen as the rise just above the two larger trees in the middle of the picture.  The rails ran between the southern valley off the left side of the picture up to the northern valley a couple of miles away.  The old building foundations can still be seen in both valley areas, and the old railroad bed is still evident.  Pictures from both valleys and the rail bed will be found in the Pike Co folder at 
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Data Storage: 
marriages, census info, plats

Marriages in Pike Co, MO

William Watters x Darcus Angeline Guilford, Dec 8, 1850

Wm. Watters x Jane Draheart, Feb 6, 1852.


Census Information:

1860 Census, Pike Co, MO, Salt River Twp, N of Ashburn.

Watters, Wm, , 73bVA, farmer; wife Margaret, 68bCanada; George, 23bOH, day laborer.  Dwelling 1699

Watters. Thomas, , 23bOH, farming; Julia A., 18OH, domestic; Joseph N., 20bOH, day laborer; Francis A., 6bILL; Nancy J., 4bMO; I.N., 2bMO. Dwelling 1700

Watters, Wm. M. (or W.)., 35bOH, farmer $1000/600; wife Susan A., 35bMO?; Charles B., 2bMO; William M., 6mbMO; William M. Spears, 19bOH, farm laborer.  Dwelling 1701

Watters, James H.,  39bOH, farmer, $3000/1000; Harriet, 32bOH; William J., 9bMO; George W., 5bMO. Dwelling 1701

Watters, F.M., 23bOH; Margaret A., 21bIN; William C., 4bKS; Laura, 8bMO; Paralie,  1mbMO.  Dwelling 1729

Watters, J.P., 27bOH, farming $4000/2000; wife Barba, 26bMO; William B., 7bMO; Mary E., 5bMO; Sarah E., 1bMO,  James W., 3bMO.  Dwelling 1737


1870 Census, Salt River Twp, Pike Co, Missouri

Waters, Wm., 45bOH; Martha, 16bMO, keeping house; C.C. male, 13bMO; Wm. C., 9bMO; Harvey, 5bMO; Susan, 2bMO. Dwelling 21

Waddell, John, 41bKY, farmer $3000/545; Mary 24bMO, keeping house; Alex, 9bMO; Victoria, 2bMO; Samuel M. Waters, 6bMO.  Dwelling 23.  This farm is abt 2mil north of the Watters farm and located up against the hill/cliff wall of the east facing bluff and overlooking the Mississippi River abt a half mile across a bottom land field.  Evidence of the old farmstead foundations and building locations can still be seen (in 2006/bz), with collapsed structures of a later farm home and a couple of outbuildings.  Pics are in the Pike Co. folder at Iowaz Photo Hosting Site


1880 Census, Salt River Twp, Pike Co, Missouri

Wadall, John, 51bKY, farming; Mary C., 33bMO; Victory, 12bMO; John, 9bMO; John 9bMO; Louisa, 8bMO; James, 4bMO; Janey, 1bMO; Samuel Watters, 15bMO.  Dwelling 44. 


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Barry Zbornik
Hannibal, MO 

Last uploaded:  Jan 2007

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