Zion’s Public Section
Zion Cemetery has an area designated as the Public Section, which is located to the south of the office building and continues to St. Charles Rock Rd. It was described in records as a section for paupers (those of limited financial means). The section was started in 1884 when the cemetery opened and was used heavily until about 1920.
The burial book pages from the 1880s are crowded with information, written over when removals occurred, and are generally difficult to read. The Public Section was subdivided into smaller areas, which appear to have been used chronologically. So Public Section 1 is usually people buried 1884-1896, Public Section 2 is marked 1888-1899, Public Section 3 is 1890-1900, etc. Within the section, there are rows and grave numbers; however, no map exists. Many of those interred in the Public Section were children and infants. Notes on these burials are found on the lot cards and in the old Burial Book 1.
Some of those in the section, perhaps around 10%, were removed and reinterred in another section of Zion, and some were moved to other cemeteries. In 1927 and 1928, small round chronological concrete markers were placed on these graves and the numbers go up to 1000, meaning at least 1000 people were buried in the public section, although there are only about 50 headstones. Most of these concrete markers now appear to be covered by dirt or sod.
The burial book indicates that the price of a burial in 1884 for a child was $1.75 and $3.25 for an adult. Minutes indicate in 1916 the price of a stillborn burial in the Public Section was reduced from $10 to $5.