Category Archives: Graveyards

Micanopy Historic Cemetery

A visit to Micanopy is a step back in time. Located away from any of Florida’s major tourist destinations, it’s a delightful escape from the crowds. Actually, you may already be familiar with this little town. A Micanopy home played a central role in the movie, Doc Hollywood. Located between Gainesville and Ocala, Micanopy is the first truly American town settled in territorial Florida’s interior. It was also home to one of my Henry ancestors in those pioneer days before the Civil War.

Photo of graves at Micanopy's Historic Cemeter.

Live oaks shade the graves at Micanopy’s Historic Cemetery. Photo from the author’s collection at Flickr.

The earliest known graves date back to 1826. The Micanopy Cemetery Association has managed it since 1905. Although there are still vacant plots available in the cemetery, new burials are limited to Micanopy residents.

Oldest Living Confederate Veteran

Today, over at The Dirt on Public Archaeology blog, they are spotlighting the Gravelly Hill cemetery in Duval County as part of their cemetery-a-day series throughout the month of May. One of the interesting things about this cemetery is that it is the final resting place of the longest-living Confederate veteran. At his death in 1949, James E. Monroe was 133 years, 11 months, 24 days old. The next closest veteran was Sylvester M. Magee from Mississippi who was 130 years, four months and 17 days at his death in 1971. Want the details? Stop by The Dirt and visit this and all the other historic cemeteries being spotlighted there.

The Cemetery at Atsena Otie

Cedar Key is located just south of the mouth of the Suwanee River in the Big Bend area of Florida’s Gulf Coast. It’s a delightful get-away destination for those who want to enjoy Florida’s natural beauty and an active artists colony. We’ve spent the last couple of days lounging on the back porch at the Cedar Key Bed & Breakfast when we weren’t browsing the shops or exploring the state parks and other sights along the lower Suwanee River.

Yesterday we enjoyed a cruise in the waters surrounding the town including the rookery at Seahorse Key and a stop at Atsena Otie. This island was the original Cedar Key and was a bustling center for milling lumber products to be shipped off to parts north. That began to decline in the late 19th century as more railroads moved further and further down the Florida peninsula. The last straw was a devestating hurricane in 1896 that destroyed almost everything on the island. From then on, the town of Cedar Key has been located at its current location closer to the mainland.

Today, when you visit Atsena Otie, you will be greeted by swarms of mosquitos as you walk the sandy paths across the island. Ruined foundations of once-busy sawmills are crumbling on the beach. But, back in the hammock is the surprisingly-well preserved remains of the old cemetery.

Looking west across the cemetery

There are a few burials dating after 1896 – for relatives of those already buried here – but most are from the boom days before the hurricane. These pictures tell the story better than I can.

Mrs. Matilda Parr

A fenced lot

Broken Schmidt monument

Justine Bozeman

British Cemetery at Fort King George

British Cemetery

British cemetery at Fort King George. Photo from the author’s collection at Flickr.

On higher ground just west of Fort King George in Darien, Georgia, you’ll find 15 gravestones and one large monument. This marks the spot of one of the oldest British cemeteries in the southeastern United States. There are 65 graves here. Each of the gravestones has the same inscription:

SOLDIER OF
FORT
KING GEORGE

Cemetery monument

Monument to the unknown dead at Fort King George. Photo from the author’s collection at Flickr.

This large monument and the 15 gravestones were erected by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Division of State Parks, Historic Sites and Monuments. The monument bears the following inscription:

TO THE SOLDIERS OF
FORT KING GEORGE
To the soldiers of Fort King George
who gave their lives in the defense of
the southern English frontier in
America during the occupation of
this little outpost from 1721 to 1727
and were buried on this bluff. Fort
King George, built on the low
ground 200 yards east of here, was
the first English settlement in the
land which is now Georgia. More than
140 British soldiers lost their lives
in this first planned effort to hold
the old southeast for English
speaking people.

Visit the Georgia State Parks site for Fort King George to learn more about this fascinating place.

San Lorenzo Cemetery

San Lorenzo Cemetery taken by the author and archived at Flickr.

San Lorenzo Cemetery taken by the author and archived at Flickr.

When the Diocese of St. Augustine was established in 1870, Tolomato Cemetery was serving the local Catholic community. The City of St. Augustine ordered Tolomato and the public burying ground (Huguenot) closed in 1884.  Catholic burials were then held at the Mission of Nombre de Dios. Because its location on the water was not ideal for a permanent cemetery, the diocese continued to look for a more appropriate cemetery location.

Also at this time St. Augustine was enjoying a boom in tourism thanks to Henry Flagler’s railroad and elegant hotels. City fathers wanted the new cemeteries away from the primary tourist areas. Evergreen Cemetery, the new public graveyard, was located across the San Sebastian River in what was then called New Augustine (now West Augustine). The diocese also chose a spot west of town, but further to the south. San Lorenzo Cemetery opened in 1892 and is the oldest cemetery still operated by the Diocese. It continues to accept burials today.

Bishops  House at San Lorenzo by the author archived at Flickr

Bishop's House at San Lorenzo by the author archived at Flickr

A mortuary chapel was built in 1924. It is often called the Bishops House because Archbishop Josephy Hurley and Bishops John Moore, William Kenny and Patrick Barry are interred there. Surrounding the chapel are the graves of nuns from the Sisters of St. Joseph and priests who have served the diocese.

The cemetery is operated by the diocesan Office of Catholic Cemeteries and is located between U.S. 1 and Old Moultrie Road just north of the K-Mart shopping plaza (see cemetery map).

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