Before it became a military installation in 1941, Fort Leonard Wood’s 61,000 acres were largely settled by subsistence farmers trying to eke out a living from the rocky soil. When the land was acquired by the military leading up to WWII, many of these families were understandably distraught about losing the land that had been in their families for generations. Others, however, faced with the consequences of deforestation, soil exhaustion and the impact of the Great Depression, saw it as a chance for a new start. While most of the homesteads themselves are gone or reduced to ruins, evidence of their existence is subtly present in the form of small cemeteries scattered throughout the installation. Some of the graves feature professionally manufactured headstones. Many, however, in a fitting testament to the perseverance and resilience of those who lived here, are marked by chunks of limestone carved from the soil and hillsides.
Made it in the Timber: A History of the Fort Leonard Wood Region, 1800-1940. https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a273705.pdf