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Saint Augustine, Northeast Florida
Going public with archaeology for outreach, assistance to local governments, and service to the citizens and state of Florida. Visit our website at: http://flpublicarchaeology.org/nerc/
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Archive for May 2013

Cemetery a Day in May: Oaklynn (Volusia)



Cemetery Log Date: May 31, 2013

A distressing finishing to CaDiM, but the best reminder that historic cemeteries are fragile and endangered.  



Oaklynn Cemetery in Edgewater is a place that comes in and out of the news every decade or so.  It is the resting place of many early to mid 20th century African-Americans in this southern Volusia County city.  The records for the cemetery are lost, so the exact number of those interred is impossible to know.  The cemetery measures about 6 acres, but only one acre is accessible thanks to the clean up efforts of the descendants and volunteers who have come forward. 

One such volunteer is David Cooper.  I had the chance to sit down with David, his cohort Shauntay, and descendant Gwendolyn Tobler this week.  I was struck by the commitment of all three, and many of those mentioned but who I have not met yet, and their future vision for the cemetery.  While covered in dense brush and scrub, I could imagine a place where descendants (and adoptees like David and Shauntay) could walk the grounds, tell stories of those not too long gone, and meet several times a year to share sweat as the continue to maintain the grounds.

For David and the families, this day seems far off.  As was recommended with San Sebastian yesterday, a Friends of Oaklynn Cemetery 501c3 needs to be established for sustained, coordinated efforts.  They will need to work with the landowner to establish regular clean up days so the families can visit and tend to the graves.  They will also need to set up a trust, or some way to carry donations into the projected future so there are funds for maintenance.  Oaklynn is an excellent candidate for grants in aid and for future preservation student projects.  Many of the crypts are so badly damaged, they are beyond re-pointing.  They will need to be restored so they may enclose the ground intended to preserve the memory of a loved one lost.

Over the past month I've heard a lot of praise and blame surrounding cemeteries.  One of the most hurtful moments was last week.  While talking about a vandalized cemetery a man approached me to listen in and ask questions.  His ears were open, his mind concerned, until he could confirm the cemetery I spoke of was not "his" family cemetery.   Then he walked away.  Cemeteries like many of those featured this month rely on upkeep and maintenance by a party willing to assume the responsibility.  It makes sense when the party are descendants, and it gives me great hope when they are not. Historic cemeteries are everyone's responsibility.  Kudos to David and others like him for stepping up, becoming part of the community, and including anyone interested in helping protect our past.


Who: On private property, name intentionally withheld
What: Early 20th C African-American burial grounds with significant vandalism
Where: Runs along Air Park Road in Edgewater near the airport, Map
When: Only descendants have rights to be on property, contact David Cooper to volunteer
Why:
  • Without care, and soon, this cemetery could disappear from the landscape
  • Demonstrates importance of frequent monitoring and reporting of cemetery condition
  • Interesting test case for preservation laws, including Chapter 704 which grants access and rights to upkeep to descendents when on private property
    Most of the cemetery is covered in brush, as seen in photo.



    Text: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff.  Images March 2010, submitted to FMSF. 

    For previous posts search: Cemetery a Day in May or #CaDiM

    Intro, May 1: National, May 2: Oakdale, May 3: Murphy's Creek, May 4: Mt. Olive, May 5: Bosque Bello, May 6: Old City, May 7: Espanola, May 8: Tolomato, May 9: Pacetti, May 10: West View, May 11: Magnolia SpringsMay 12: St. Peter's, May 13: Gravely Hill, May 14: Pilgrim's Rest, May 15: God's Little Acre, May 16: Dummet's Grave, May 17: No Name, May 18: St. Monica, May 19: St. Joseph's, May 20:  Old St. Joseph's (Duval), May 21: Sampson, May 22: Fernandez Reserve, May 23: St. Ambrose, May 24: Sons of Israel, May 25: Sanksville, May 26: Huguenot, May 27: Nombre de Dios, May 28: Beresford, May 29: Jones, May 30: San Sebastian/Pinehurst, May 31: Oaklynn


    Let's Dig Into Summer Reading!




    This summer Florida Public Archaeology Network is visiting your local public library to make ARCHAEOLOGY front and center for your summer reading list! Join us for youth and adult programming.

     

    The Collaborative Summer Library Program has selected "Dig into Reading" as the theme for the 2013 early literacy program and "Groundbreaking Reads" for the adult program.

     

    The Northeast Regional Center has over 25 library programs scheduled for summer 2013. To see the full schedule please check the calendar on our website.

     

    Dates are subject to change and you should check the website first for times, programs, and updates as they are available. Here is a sample calendar for the when and where:


    June 8              Bostwick Library                                Palatka

    June 11            Bostwick Library                                Palatka

    June 12            Flagler County Public Library

    June 22            Fleming Island Library                       Orange Park

    June 25            University Park Branch                       Jacksonville

    June 26            Hastings Library                                 Hastings

    June 27            Charles Webb Wesconnett                  Jacksonville

    June 29            Crescent City Public Library              Crescent City

    July 3               Mandarin Branch                                Jacksonville

    July 9               Murray Hill Branch                             Jacksonville

    July 11             Main Library                                       Palatka

    July 11             DeBary Public Library                        DeBary

    July 16             Bostwick Library                                Palatka

    July 17             Southeast Library                                St. Augustine

    July 18             Main Library                                       St. Augustine

    July 23             Dallas Graham Branch                        Jacksonville

    July 24             Flagler County Public Library

    July 26             Bostwick library                                  Palatka

    August 7         Flagler County Public Library

    August 8         Melrose Library                                   Melrose


                                                    We hope to see you there!


    Here's a list of recommended archaeology reads for your young readers:


     

     

     

    1.       Archaeologists Dig for Clues by Kate Duke, HarperCollins, 1997.

     

    2.       America’s REAL First Thanksgiving by Robyn Gioia, Pineapple Press , 2007.

     

    3.       Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill, Little, Brown,  2010.

     

    4.       The Timucua Indians : A Native American Detective Story by Kelley G. Weitzel, University Press of Florida,  2000.

     

    5.       Fort Mose: Colonial America’s Black Fortress of Freedom by Kathleen Deagan and Darcie MacMahon, University Press of Florida, 1995.

     

    6.       Journeys with Florida’s Indians by Kelley G. Weitzel, University Press of Florida, 2002.

     

    7.       Motel of the Mysteries by David Macaulay, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1979.

     

    8.       Shipwreck by Claire Aston and Peter Dennis, Fast Forward series by Barron's, 2001.

     

    9.       Archaeology for Kids: Uncovering the Mysteries of Our Past by Richard Panchyk, Chicago Review Press, 2001.

     

    10.   The Magic School Bus Shows and Tells: A Book about Archaeology by Jack Posner, Scholastic Inc., 1997.



    Cemetery a Day in May: San Sebastian/Pinehurst (St. Johns County)



    Cemetery Log Date: May 30, 2013


    The iconic cement crosses of today's CaDiM post graced the cover of the "Written in Stone: Cemeteries of St. Johns County" poster back in 2009. San Sebastian Cemetery was established for members of the African-American community of St. Augustine.  The oldest known grave dates back to 1879.  San Sebastian adjoins another African-American cemetery, Pinehurst.  While located across the fence from the privately owned commercial Evergreen cemetery, it only takes a second to comprehend these two cemeteries are worlds apart.  The ownership of San Sebastian is uncertain, hence the maintenance has fallen on voluntary stewards of the cemetery.  The West Augustine Improvement Association, including stewards Willie Cooper and Linda Murray, have long advocated for cleaning up the grounds.  The cemetery was recently cleaned by a 4H club (with young Isaac Turner, age 11, leading the charge after applying for grant in aid) and over Memorial Day by a new organization, Raise the Dead, sent out an answered call for volunteers and continued clearing dense vegetation (see articles below).

    The clean up efforts are to be commended, but they don't solve the long term problem of ownership and sustained stewardship.  A Friends of the San Sebastian/Pinehurst Cemetery 501c3 needs to be formed; a board of descendants, residents, preservationists, historians, archaeologists, and volunteers need to work together to develop a long term management plan; and the issue of ownership needs to be resolved, most likely by St. Johns County. 


    Who: Unresolved, officially abandoned
    What: Early African-American burial grounds with significant markers and monuments
    Where: On Pearl Street in West Augustine
    When:  Dusk till dawn 365 days a year
    Why:
    • Early African-American traditions observed in headstone and crypt design
    • Vernacular hand carved cement headstones
    • Coontie ferns, conch shells, and other markers unique to Florida burial customs
    • The more people are aware and visit the cemetery, the safer it will be from vandals




    Text and 2009 Images: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff.

    For previous posts search: Cemetery a Day in May or #CaDiM

    Intro, May 1: National, May 2: Oakdale, May 3: Murphy's Creek, May 4: Mt. Olive, May 5: Bosque Bello, May 6: Old City, May 7: Espanola, May 8: Tolomato, May 9: Pacetti, May 10: West View, May 11: Magnolia SpringsMay 12: St. Peter's, May 13: Gravely Hill, May 14: Pilgrim's Rest, May 15: God's Little Acre, May 16: Dummet's Grave, May 17: No Name, May 18: St. Monica, May 19: St. Joseph's, May 20:  Old St. Joseph's (Duval), May 21: Sampson, May 22: Fernandez Reserve, May 23: St. Ambrose, May 24: Sons of Israel, May 25: Sanksville, May 26: Huguenot, May 27: Nombre de Dios, May 28: Beresford, May 29: Jones, May 30: San Sebastian/Pinehurst


    Cemetery a Day in May: Jones (Nassau)

    Cemetery Log Date: May 29, 2013


    Jones Cemetery is nestled just outside of downtown Callahan. It’s served as an active cemetery for the town starting in the late 1800s. Many of the family names can be traced through numerous generations, from the earliest headstones to more recent internment's. Because the cemetery still plays an important role in the community, it is well-maintained. Flowers are still left at even the oldest of the gravestones.

    Who: Jones Cemetery Association
    What: Fenced historic cemetery, still active in community
    Where: At the end of Jones Cemetery Rd, just off of County Rd 108 (River Rd), 2 miles west of Callahan
    When:  Dusk till dawn 365 days a year
    Why:
    •  Resting place of almost 2,000 people
    •  Wonderful blend of old and new headstones and grave decorations
    •  Twelve confederate soldiers are buried there
    •  Oldest headstone dates to 1873













    For more information, visit the Amelia Island Genealogical Society’s website about the cemetery: http://www.aigensoc.org/cemetery_Jones_Callahan.asp.



    Text and Images: Emily Jane Murry, FPAN staff.

    For previous posts search: Cemetery a Day in May or #CaDiM


    Intro, May 1: National, May 2: Oakdale, May 3: Murphy's Creek, May 4: Mt. Olive, May 5: Bosque Bello, May 6: Old City, May 7: Espanola, May 8: Tolomato, May 9: Pacetti, May 10: West View, May 11: Magnolia SpringsMay 12: St. Peter's, May 13: Gravely Hill, May 14: Pilgrim's Rest, May 15: God's Little Acre, May 16: Dummet's Grave, May 17: No Name, May 18: St. Monica, May 19: St. Joseph's, May 20:  Old St. Joseph's (Duval), May 21: Sampson, May 22: Fernandez Reserve, May 23: St. Ambrose, May 24: Sons of Israel, May 25: Sanksville, May 26: Huguenot, May 27: Nombre de Dios, May 28: Beresford, May 29: Jones

    Cemetery a Day in May: Beresford (Volusia County)

    Cemetery Log Date: May 28, 2013



    I just came from Volusia County where the Historic Preservation Board voted unanimously to recommend Beresford Cemetery for Historic Site designation according to their Historic Preservation Ordinance.  Beresford is one of the oldest rural family cemeteries beginning with wee Maggie internment in 1869.  The cemetery is located on the highest point of land in the community, as was the custom in Volusia in the 19th century.  Distinctive markers include Woodsman of the World, obelisks, and Union and Confederate military markers. 
    Applicant Harriet Thomas, descendant of the Alexander family, gives testimony.
    Who:  Alexander Cemetery Land Trust
    What: Rural cemetery, near Alexander homestead that was destroyed by tornado in 2006
    Where: West Beresford Ave, outside of DeLand Mao
    When:  Open dusk to dawn 365 days a year
     Why:
    • First historic cemetery to be designated to the Volusia County register of historic places
    • Part of the Gatio Grant purchased by John W. Starke in 1851
    • Earliest marker for Maggie Alexander, infant daughter of Andrew Alexander, 1869
    • Previous location of Betersford Presbyterian Church built in 1872, no longer standing
    • Listed to local register for historic significance ((genealogy, continuously used site, commerce, and historical events reflected above the ground) as well as archaeological significance.


      Woodsman of the World


      Fallen obelisk

      This stone was inside fenced area seen at top of the page.


      Earliest markers belong to infants, Maggie Alexander 1869 on the right.


      Kirk, in need of some D2!









      Text: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff using application of certificate of designation by applicant Harriet Thomas and staff report notes by Julie Adams Scofield.  Photos: fresh from the field today by Sarah Miller with Julie as a willing guide.


      For previous posts search: Cemetery a Day in May or #CaDiM


      Intro, May 1: National, May 2: Oakdale, May 3: Murphy's Creek, May 4: Mt. Olive, May 5: Bosque Bello, May 6: Old City, May 7: Espanola, May 8: Tolomato, May 9: Pacetti, May 10: West View, May 11: Magnolia SpringsMay 12: St. Peter's, May 13: Gravely Hill, May 14: Pilgrim's Rest, May 15: God's Little Acre, May 16: Dummet's Grave, May 17: No Name, May 18: St. Monica, May 19: St. Joseph's, May 20:  Old St. Joseph's (Duval), May 21: Sampson, May 22: Fernandez Reserve, May 23: St. Ambrose, May 24: Sons of Israel, May 25: Sanksville, May 26: Huguenot, May 27: Nombre de Dios, May 28: Beresford

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