Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cemetery Log Date: May 19, 2013

We're saddened to learn today about the passing of James Townsend, steward of St. Joseph Cemetery in Palatka.  A long time volunteer of Keep Putnam Beautiful, it was Jim who first introduced us after our Palatka CRPT to St. Joseph's.  This predominantly African-American cemetery is abandoned and needed every bit of love the volunteers could give it.  In a strange twist of CaDiM fate, he is buried in the cemetery we highlighted yesterday: St. Monica.  
In honor of Jim, we're posting a slew of photos.  Would be very appropriate to organize a clean up day in his honor- who's with us?

St. Joseph's (aka Mt. Pleasant) is located directly across the street from the city-owned Oakhill cemetery.   Previous blog post: Not much is written about the cemetery, but headstones indicate the first internments were made in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.  The cemetery is not claimed by the city, or the county, or any private entity; by definition it is an abandoned cemetery.  Looking around St. Joseph's that title is at times hard to believe.  Jim and others from the community spent a lot of time clearing and caring for St. Joseph's.  While not every effort has paid off, I was really impressed by Jim's patience with the process of keeping up a cemetery for the long haul, and by his dedication.  St. Joseph's is known as a predominately African American cemetery within the community.  Jim has no kin buried there, which to me makes his dedication to the cemetery that much more impressive.

Who:  Abandoned
What: Above ground vault with remains of mortar plastered over coquina blocks
Where:  Corner of Crill (Hwy 20) and Palm Avenue in Palatka
When:  Dusk to dawn, but please be respectful of neighbors and visit only in small groups
  • Endless ground to discover headstones lost to overgrowth
  • Incised cement markers
  • inset tile and glass in vernacular headstones

Frighteningly close to the road with little protection from vandals.

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    Text and images: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff.

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