“It’s on this road somewhere,” said Shawn, driving slowly down a road that was becoming increasingly bumpy and derelict. There were big potholes here and there and people had clearly been dumping trash for years, as well as actually camping in the woods on either side of the road and using the trees as clotheslines.
This land was supposedly owned by a corporation, so if we walked into the woods we would be trespassing, but I also knew there was no way I was walking into the woods unless we knew for certain that the cemetery was still there. If it was there, I was going in. And I couldn’t see a thing except for trees and palmettos.
Shawn pointed past me, his arm nearly touching my face as he reached out and slammed on the brakes. “I bet that’s it!”
Sure enough, in the heavy woods there was a white object rising up out of the scrub. We could just make out the top of an obelisk. I hopped out of the car and told Shawn I’d be right back. I walked into the woods down a leaf covered path someone had made, and that we had completely missed when we were driving past. The path was filled with litter, but sure enough, just a few feet in there was a black fence, an obelisk, and two veteran’s gravestones. I ran back to get Shawn.
The scrub had grown so close to this fence (supposedly erected by the Eagle Scouts a few years ago) that I had to walk sideways to get to the gate (which they placed at the end of the site and not right off the path, which would actually make sense) and go inside. All the research that I did said that there were only a few burials here, and the families had come back for two of the headstones and moved them, then left these last two alone in the woods. Some of the burials were unmarked so it’s not certain exactly how many people were buried here.
It was a sad resting place, but I’m sure that back in the 30’s when Vineland, Florida was all about oranges and industry it must have been nice. For us it was a special find, and it’s good to know that someone cared enough to erect the fence and the monument to keep the woods from taking over the space, even though I feel like this cemetery will be lost anyway in a few years.
Cemetery information can be found here if you would like to visit. Please note that some of the dirt roads around there have no trespassing signs near homesteads lived in by people who look like they mean what they say. Don’t get lost. Don’t drive around more.
And sorry about the photos, my phone was dead and Shawn’s photos don’t always translate well in WordPress.
Goal for the year=Fancy New DSLR Camera.