Sunday, May 18, 2014

Cemetery Log Date: May 18, 2014

There are not many places where you can visit "American Royalty" entombed in a marble mausoleum - but you can in St. Augustine, FL.

Flagler's Tomb

The Flagler Family Tombs are located inside of Memorial Presbyterian Church in the heart of downtown St. Augustine.

Memorial Presbyterian Church exterior

Memorial Presbyterian Church interior

Henry Morrison Flagler (1830-1913) was born the son of an impoverished Presbyterian minister and became one of the wealthiest men in the world.  As John D. Rockefeller's partner in forming the Standard Oil Company, Flagler used a part of his tremendous wealth to build luxurious hotels in what was then the swamplands of Florida.   He built his first hotels in St. Augustine and continued South to Palm Beach, and then ultimately to Key West. (Simultaneously building the Florida East Coast Railway in order to transport his affluent guests to these exotic locals!)

Image of Flagler's railroad to The Florida Keys

Flagler commissioned the building of Memorial Presbyterian Church in 1889 in memoriam to  his beloved daughter, Jennie Louise Benedict (1855 -1889), who died from complications in childbirth.   Flagler was determined that the church be built by the first anniversary of Jennie's death.  With Flagler's army of men from his hotel construction project, the church was built in just over a year's time.  

Henry Flalger entombed on the right

Jennie Louise is currently entombed inside of the church with her infant daughter, Majorie, in her arms.  She is next to her mother and Flagler's first wife, Marjorie Mary Harkness Flagler.   Flagler gave them the honored center positions in the mausoleum.  He himself is located to the side of them. 
Early Years - Flagler with his first wife

When one enters this great church, you can't help but reflect on the powerlessness of a man, despite all of his earthly riches,  to save the life of his only daughter.   Through the beautiful marble, detailed stained glass and intricate mosaic tiles,  you can feel the love of a grief stricken father wanting his daughter to be always remembered.

Who: Owned by Memorial Presbyterian Church

What: The tombs of Henry Flagler, his first wife, daughter and infant grand daughter

When: Open to the public Mon-Sat, 9 a.m to 4 p.m

Where: Memorial Presbyterian Church, 36 Sevilla Street, St. Augustine, FL

  • See an exquisite church that is the only example of Venetian Renaissance Architecture in the USA
  • See a marble mausoleum entombing Henry Flagler and his family
  • Experience the quiet, solemn beauty of a memorial built in honor of a beloved daughter

Text by: Robbie Boggs 

Images: Lucas Stanley, Find A Grave, PCUSA,,,,,

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

2014 #CaDiM posts

2013 #CaDiM posts
IntroMay 1: NationalMay 2: OakdaleMay 3: Murphy's CreekMay 4: Mt. OliveMay 5: Bosque BelloMay 6: Old CityMay 7: EspanolaMay 8: TolomatoMay 9: PacettiMay 10: West ViewMay 11: Magnolia Springs,  May 12: St. Peter'sMay 13: Gravely HillMay 14: Pilgrim's RestMay 15: God's Little AcreMay 16: Dummet's GraveMay 17: No NameMay 18: St. MonicaMay 19: St. Joseph'sMay 20:  Old St. Joseph's (Duval)May 21: SampsonMay 22: Fernandez ReserveMay 23: St. AmbroseMay 24: Sons of IsraelMay 25: SanksvilleMay 26: HuguenotMay 27: Nombre de DiosMay 28: BeresfordMay 29: JonesMay 30: San Sebastian/PinehurstMay 31: Oaklynn

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