Memorial Day at Elmwood Cemetery

Layne Stracener
Editorial Assistant
Northeast News

The Elmwood cemetery, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, will have at least two volunteers available to assist visitors and answer questions Memorial Day weekend. The cemetery has more than 3,000 veterans interred there from the War of 1812 to Vietnam.

There are more than 800 Civil War veterans, more than 300 World War I veterans and more than 700 veterans from Kansas City – more Kansas City veterans than any other cemetery, according to Elmwood Cemetery Volunteer Roger Douthit.

Along with these veterans, many other notable people are interred at Elmwood Cemetery, including Kansas City’s first black police officer, Betty Peck who was presented a National Air Race trophy by Amelia Earhart, old-time baseball players from Philadelphia and Cincinnati, classical musicians, 12 former Kansas City mayors, Jacob Loose who founded Loose Park and Kirkland Armour who founded Armour hot dogs, and many others.

Douthit said Memorial Day weekend is one of the most popular times for visitors.

A few influential veterans interred at the Elmwood Cemetery are Harold Oppenheimer, Clay Crenshaw and Joseph Alquest.

Oppenheimer served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He died from cancer in 1985, according to his obituary in the New York Times. He was a brigadier general in the Marine Corps Reserve and chairman of Oppenheimer Industries Inc., a cattle and land management and investment company based in Kansas City, MO. He wrote about his combat experiences in the book ”March to the Sound of the Drums.” He also wrote five books on agriculture and was one of the nation’s leading authorities on cattle investments.

Alquest served in the Spanish American War. He was Corporal and Sergeant of Company “M” of the 30th Regiment of Infantry United States Volunteers serving from 1899 to 1901, according to Alquest received a letter presenting him as a war hero from Spanish American War military leaders Colonel Cornelius Gardener and General Theodore Schwann.

Martin Hynes, born in Ireland, was the first Kansas City police officer to be killed in the line of duty, according to the then Kansas City Evening Star article from 1881, when he died. H. Clay Crenshaw, who served in the Army of the Confederacy, shot and killed Hynes after physically abusing his wife. After the war, Crenshaw received a lucrative government contract providing horses and mules to the army. Crenshaw died in 1915.

The Elmwood Cemetery is at 4900 Truman Rd. Volunteers will be available to assist visitors from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 25-27.


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