For a good time this Halloween, I’d suggest a visit to an old Platte County cemetery. Ghosts and goblins get boring. But stories cemeteries tell are a different matter. Dig deeper, in books that is, and even more stories arise. A daytime visit is best. On Monday at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Weston, trees changing colors to gold and red reminded visitors that mortal life is temporal. But the cedars stay green all year and tombstones on the steep ridge tell lingering stories from long ago. For instance, when wandering through Laurel Hill, it’s hard not to notice Minerva Boone Warner’s grave marker. The marker says she was born in 1799 and died in 1850. Can you imagine the stories that Daniel Boone’s granddaughter told family and visitors on winter nights near the fireplace? Steamboats tied up at the foot of Weston’s Main Street for her were modern marvels. Nearby is a marker for her son, Theodore F. Warner. “Great-grandson of Daniel Boone,” says the engraving in the stone, born in 1818 and died in 1891. Ah, but there is more if you go to the Ben Ferrel Museum at 220 Ferrel St. in Platte City and purchase W.M. Paxton’s “Annals of Platte County, Missouri.” Born in Kentucky, Warner came with family to Independence, clerked in a store there and then came to Weston in 1842. He engaged buying and selling wool, hemp and tobacco. His wife’s father ran a store at Rialto, a noted watering hole for soldiers across the River from Fort Leavenworth. “During the Mexican War, he operated largely in furnishing supplies for the army,” Paxton wrote. “For 20 years he traded upon the plains in merchandise and livestock. He never lost his commercial integrity, but lost his fortune by bad habits.” Well, not all the story is openly told in a cemetery or a history book. The bad habits may be the most interesting part. Still, after the Civil War, Warner served in the state legislature and later served two terms as County clerk. Memorial Day is when we think of cemeteries. But that holiday is primarily for families remembering loved ones and for communities to honor military service. Maybe Halloween needs a new tradition of uncovering real stories about those who repose in the County’s cemeteries where weathered limestone, marble or sandstone markers note passages. Or if we don’t know the whole story, we can imagine what they saw. Eliza Bell’s marker at Laurel Hill says she was born in 1854 and died in 1946. She grew up during the Civil War and you wonder how it marked her childhood and life? News later would come from the West, especially with Fort Leavenworth across the river, of the wars being waged with Native Americans. The Spanish-American War would seem modern, until World War I made it seem antique. Then she lived through World War II. The tombstones tell of births in places like Virginia or Kentucky before Missouri was even a state in the Union and long before the Platte Purchase was opened for settlement in 1837. Some at rest traveled further. Nicholas Thorn’s stone says he was born in Bavaria, Germany in 1818 and he died in Weston in 1895. He traveled from the Old World to the new. Travails came after travels. His wife, Catherine, died at age 35 on Christmas Eve, 1863, with his new country divided by war. The immigrants took pride in birthplaces. Nicholas Birch’s marker is inscribed “A native of Ireland, aged 50 years.” His birth and death dates are not given, but the stone is quite old. Life was ever precious such that our ancestors counted the days. Diseases were mysteries and medical help mostly unknown. One marker says “Elizabeth, wife of F.N. Bell, died July 3, 1851, aged 20 years, 1 month, 13 days, infant.” Like so many of her time, she likely died during childbirth. Old cemeteries are found in Parkville, Weston, Platte City, Ridgley, Camden Point, Iatan and other scattered locations across the county. Go to rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mopchgs/index.html for more guidance. They’re well worth a walk on an autumn day. The stories they hold make you feel more alive. Bill Graham, who lives in the Platte City area with his family, may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.