Barton Stone is credited with being one of the founders of the Restoration movement to which “Christian” churches and many non-denominational churches trace their roots. One of those churches, The Crossing of Hannibal, has done something in honor of Stone.
Stone’s wife, Celia, is among those whose body is interred in Hannibal’s Old Baptist Cemetery. Like many headstones at the historic site, Celia’s has worn with age. The Crossing recently replaced Celia’s headstone.
“It feels like the honorable thing to do,” said Randy Drish, campus pastor for The Crossing’s Hannibal congregation.
According to Drish, members of The Crossing’s staff learned that Celia was buried in Hannibal through www.restorationmovement.com, a historical website about the Christian church.
Finding Celia’s grave site was a challenge because of the headstone’s condition.
“It was broken and laying on the ground,” said Drish. “It was unreadable without chalking it.”
While the new headstone is already in place, the old one will eventually be relocated in the Hannibal History Museum, according to Jerry Harris, The Crossing’s senior pastor, whose article regarding the church’s headstone donation appeared earlier this year in The Christian Standard magazine.
Beginning in 1843, a church pastored by Barton Stone met in a log schoolhouse in what is now Central Park. The park is now across from the Orpheum Theatre, which serves as the home of The Crossing’s Hannibal congregational.
According to www.restorationmovement.com, Barton Stone’s first wife, Elizabeth, died in 1810 after a little less than nine years of marriage at the age of 26. On Oct. 31, 1811, Barton Stone married Elizabeth’s first cousin, 18-year-old Celia Wilson Bowen of Mansker’s Creek, near Gallatin, Tenn.
The couple had six children - four sons and two daughters.
Barton Stone passed away at the Hannibal home of his daughter, Amanda Bowen, on Nov. 9, 1844. He was initially buried at his farm in Jacksonville, Ill. His body was later moved to another cemetery in Jacksonville and then moved again to Cane Ridge, Ky., where the Restoration movement began.
Celia lived out the remainder of her life in Hannibal.
“She could no longer manage the farm and so moved to Hannibal to be near her daughter,” said Drish.
Celia passed away on April 23, 1857. She was buried in the Baptist Cemetery, which at the time was still relatively new.
Reportedly, Celia’s grandchildren were friends with Samuel Clemens.