The History of Kellybrook Elementary
The land on which Kellybrook Elementary is built is full of rich history. The area at 108th and Eastern Avenue was donated to the Liberty Public School District by a local developer. When the 16.5 acres was surveyed, two headstones were found on the property hidden under a large tree. They belonged to Mercer and Perlina Bush, Clay County pioneers. Dating back to 1835, the Bush family lived and worked on the property. With the help of historic records and news articles, the district was able to locate many descendants of the Bush Family in the Liberty area and across the country. Gary Bush, a Liberty resident, is the great-great-great-great grandson of Mercer Bush. With his help, the district discovered that Mercer and Perlina were not the only people buried on the property. A total of 12 graves were discovered on the land. According to records, the cemetery is about 140 years old. Before the district could begin construction on Kellybrook Elementary, the graves would have to be relocated to another part of the property.
In September 2008, a Clay County judge gave the district permission to move the graves, and archaeologists were hired to move each one by hand. Based on the size of the graves, archaeologists believe that four graves belonged to adults, one to an infant, and seven others were likely children. During the painstaking relocation process, the archaeologist found small buttons and coffin nails.
The graves have been permanently moved to the corner of 108th and Eastern. The area will be fenced off and will be maintained as part of the school grounds. Mercer Bush fought in the War of 1812, and a marker reflecting his service has been donated by the family and will be placed on the site along with several other appropriate historical markers.
The treatment of every burial site requires respect, not only for the sake of the families involved, but it is an important connection between the past and the present. It is the district’s goal to honor the Bush Family and teach the Kellybrook students about life in the 1800s and the contributions of Clay County pioneers.