Buried Jewells  LbNA # 17186 (ARCHIVED)

Placed DateAug 7 2005
LocationColumbia, MO
Found By LadyEilonwy
Last Found Aug 28 2007
Hike Distance?


Moderate difficulty, child-friendly, pets must be on leash. Walking distance less than 100 yards. Bring your own ink. The Buried Jewells book filled in April 2006, but was expanded and the box repaired. The book filled again and was replaced in October 2006. Please log your find at Letterboxing.org and report any problems.

This box is respectfully hidden in the vicinity of Jewell Cemetery State Historic Site in Columbia, MO. The inscription on the gate to the cemetery explains both its name and unique status: “No person not related to George Jewell his wife or children may be buried here.”

One qualifying member of the Family Jewell was Missouri's 22nd governor (1875-1877) -- he of the famous grasshopper decree. State law says the Department of Natural Resources must care for gravesites of governors, so the often-overlooked burial ground is a gemlike half-acre of history almost close enough to the University of Missouri to hear the Tiger fight song.

Despite its gubernatorial resident, the crown in the Jewell Cemetery is Dr. William Jewell. Well-known statewide, William helped establish a college in Liberty, Mo. that bears his name and was respected for both his wisdom and deeds.

To get to the cemetery from Interstate 70, take the Providence Road exit and drive south through downtown Columbia and past the University of Missouri campus. Pay close attention when you get to the intersection with Stadium Boulevard (hint: look for the big football stadium). Continue on Providence across Stadium, watching for the MU Research Reactor on your right as you go down the dip and back up the hill. Look for a brown sign directing you to Jewell Cemetery – the entrance to which is a side road on the right just after the crest of the hill.

A word on civility: This is a cemetery, not a park. Treat it with honor. The box is not hidden among the graves and you should take care not to desecrate the site in any way. Please remain quiet and respectful as you conduct your search.


Open the iron gate and walk into the cemetery. To your left are two plaques describing the cemetery and the Jewell family members who rest there. Make sure you stop and read these words carefully as, to locate the box, you will need to travel through history with these early Missourians.

Begin at the grave of the first occupant of the cemetery. You will find her gravestone near the center of the cemetery. Her horizontal grave marker is two of our steps long.

Just next door, you will find the monument for the man some called “the Jefferson of Boone County.” Sum the digits of this pioneer’s age (example: 22+4). Take the resulting number of steps toward the gate to find the hard-to-read monument to a family member who became governor.

Your journey now takes you to the headstone of a soldier in the War of 1812 (hint: He shares last names with the governor and first names with the cemetery’s founder). Facing this veteran’s stone, take a sighting at 30 degrees and mark the far tree. Stroll a good 44 steps to this tree, walking among the smaller stones that mark the graves of family slaves.

When you get to the tree, turn back toward the gate. If you are on a line that passes through the tall, white, lighthouse-like monument to Angelina and then onward to the gate, you are in the right place.

Remember well this tree!

Now, circumnavigate the cemetery until you are back at the tree but outside the wall. Carefully examine the stone wall near the tree carefully. Is that a crypt for a buried Jewell, or a niche for the Jewell box?

Please remember that small creatures also like dark hiding places, so don’t reach in blindly. Always use a glove or a stick if you have reservations. And please return the box to its niche with both care and stealth.

And above all, let the Jewells rest in peace.