- Grant Recipient
Legends & Lore®
- 12 N 5th St, Ste. Genevieve, MO 63670, USA
- 37.9794, -90.0492
Ste. Genevieve Tourism Department
When Missouri’s most revered senator, Lewis Linn, was moved from the dilapidated Memorial Cemetery in 1905, the wild cherry tree that had stood guard over his tomb wept tears of sorrow.
Born in Kentucky, Senator Linn studied medicine and served as an army surgeon in the War of 1812 while still a teenager. After the war, he relocated to Sainte Genevieve, where he established a medical practice and was renowned for his vigorous and courageous battles with cholera outbreaks. He later became involved in politics and would go on to represent his adopted state of Missouri in the United States Senate for the remainder of his life.
In addition to his sobriquet “The Father of Oregon,” which he earned as a proponent of American expansionism and the sponsor of the bill that established the Oregon territory, his constituents also bequeathed the statesman the honorifics “The Model Senator” and “Missouri’s Best Beloved” for his devotion and selfless service to the citizens and the state.
When it was decided that a figure of Senator Linn’s stature deserved a statelier cemetery, the cherry tree that had shaded his overgrown gravesite for the past sixty years shed tears of grief. From the moment the disinterment began, the cherry tree dripped large beads of grief, first on the workmen digging up Senator Linn’s coffin, and then day and night upon the sacred ground where Senator Linn had formerly been laid to rest. Local residents had no explanation except the tree’s affection for the beloved Senator Linn. The loyal companion had been but a sapling when Senator Linn was first buried and had grown into a majestic cherry tree while standing vigil over Senator Linn’s tomb the past sixty years.
Decades later, in 1938, Memorial Cemetery was restored, and Senator Linn’s body was reinterred in his original gravesite under the cherry tree.