William Owens’ Tombstone

Paul Annable, left, Franklin County Cemetery Society, and Marc Houseman, director of the Washington Historical Society museum, stand next to pieces of a tombstone that belong to William G. Owens, husband of Lucinda Owens, founder of Washington. The monument was unearthed in mid-May of 2011 at Krog Park by members of the historical and cemetery societies. Plans call for the monument to be re-erected in Krog Park.

A ceremony to rededicate the tombstone of William G. Owens, the husband of Washington’s founder Lucinda Owens, will be held at Krog Memorial Park Sunday, May 27, at 2 p.m.

Owens’ original grave marker, which has been erected, will be unveiled at the ceremony. Krog Memorial Park is located at the intersection of Highway 47 and East Fifth Street.

The tombstone was unearthed last year through the joint efforts of the Washington Historical Society and Franklin County Cemetery Society.

The city of Washington and the parks department granted permission for the groups to explore the park and unearth headstones for purposes of making a more accurate record of burials in the park.

The park was the public cemetery for the former town of Bassora from 1836 until it was closed as a cemetery by the city of Washington in 1882.

Among more than 75 known burials are Washington’s founder Lucinda Owens, whose grave was never marked, and her husband William G. Owens who was murdered in 1834, five years before Washington officially became a city.

Washington’s founding date is May 29, 1839. All markers found were reburied after being photographed, except for the 8-foot-tall obelisk which had marked William Owens’ grave.

The team removed the headstone for safekeeping and since that time received the city’s permission to install the monument.

Plans are being finalized at the historical society to properly mark Lucinda Owens’ grave, some 152 years after her death, and also install a walkway and signage to help interpret the significance of the gravesites.

On the day of the tombstone’s recovery, about 10 people spent six hours unearthing the stone.

For more details or to make a financial contribution toward this ongoing project, people may contact the Washington Historical Society, 636-239-0280, or email museum@washmohistorical.org.