Welcome to the Macon, MO Sesquicentennial Celebration!
Welcome to the Macon, MO Sesquicentennial Celebration!
The City of Maples Celebrates Its 150th Anniversary!

Time Capsule at Oakwood Cemetery

Taken from an article in a 1976 Edition of the Macon Chronicle-Herald

EDITOR'S NOTE: Did you know that Macon County has a buried time capsule? Neither did anyone else until Jack Lee ran across the following information, found in an article in the October 17, 1906 issue of the Macon Republican!

This week John Cook deposited - in the heart of a concrete burial vault erected by Thomas E. Wardell at Oakwood Cemetery - a jar containing articles that illustrate the development of the world up to our present time.

Mr. Cook has prepared this jar so that it will keep the records inside it intact for 10,000 years to come. The vault it was placed in is strongly reinforced with iron and after all four members of the Wardell family have been placed within, it will then be sealed for all time.

The jar contains an almanac describing our system of reckoning so that archaeologists of the far distant future will be able to locate this period with accuracy by determining the position of the heavenly bodies. There are also engravings of: the latest types of battleships; the largest locomotive in the world; the most powerful electric dynamo; the Wright airships; wireless telegraph stations, with an explanation of the system; and the tallest buildings in the world today.

The President of the United States is included, together with his cabinet and the present officers of Missouri. There is also a concise description of the present campaign between Taft and Bryan.

The jar was closed with a glass stopper and was made air tight with parafin. A piece of oil cloth was tied tightly over that to ward off moisture while the concrete is drying. The precautions taken ought to preserve the illustrations, the printing and the writing for all time, according to Mr. Cook.

"The saddest misfortune that could happen to men and nations," said Mr. Cook, "is to be forgotten. The strongest of human impulses is to leave something behind us by which we will be remembered. This vault may not be disturbed for thousands of years. I cannot conceive of any necessity demanding its demolishing short of a thousand years at least. Those who follow us 200 or 300 years hence will have a pretty fair knowledge of our generation, but this record we are burying is intended for those who come thousands of years hence. It may not be discovered by them but the chances are that it will be. Think how interesting it would be to the people of our day to run across something buried in a jar or vase containing specimens of the handicrafts of the time of Noah and the generation following. The Egyptians have to some extent preserved the appearance of their kings and their customs by carving on their granite tombs and pyramids, but these give one only a vague idea of their life. But still they illustrate the immortal yearning in the human breast to be remembered by our posterity. Those who come after us may regard what we are doing now as crude and almost childish, just as we regard the ox wagons and the plows of the ancients. But to know what we are doing and what we have done will certainly be of the most intense interest. When the bottle is opened by the learned men of the far future it will illustrate their mighty leap in progress. It will not be like comparing the inventions of this century with the last but instead over the vast chasm of a thousand years or more. No matter how smart the people who come after us are, we are not ashamed to submit to them our development and our progress, because they will know that we have traveled far."

The scheme of Mr. Cook differs from the ordinary records made at the placing of a corner stone in a building. In the ordinary course of events a building is torn down within 50 or 100 years and a new structure erected. Then the box containing the files of old newspapers and such things is found and removed. This record of Mr. Cook is not expected to be disturbed until a time when this country shall be more densely populated than China is now. The vault is practically indestructible, and after the four bodies are laid therein it will be sealed - never to be disturbed until such a time as the land becomes too valuable for use as a cemetery. At the ordinary rate of development that is not likely to happen short of a thousand years at least.

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Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Macon, Missouri at the Macon, MO Sesquicentennial Celebration!