Side trails and roads lead to old cemeteries
ASHS Column for 11 16 06
Margaret Collier

    Excitement abounds as November 25 draws
nearer. Yes, of course, Thanksgiving
comes first with our Boxcar Barbeque
only two days later, but, you see,
those are two events for which we may
be doubly thankful.
    Very often, in the midst of the trials
of everyday living, we forget to
appreciate the beauty of the fall colors
in nature, the warm gatherings of family
and friends around the Thanksgiving
table, and the time of relaxation and
recreation in The James Houston Jones
Historical Park.
    It's an event that offers fun for the
whole family! Beginning at 9 a.m.,
musicians and dancers from Santa Rosa
County and both Escambia Counties in
Alabama and Florida will get your toes
tapping; and Civil War reenactors with
living history and naval and artillery
demonstrations will thrill your kids
and grandkids. Joe Ross will be there with
his display of old time tools and farm equipment.
    There's a Treasure Sale with attic and garage goodies you won't want to miss; hot barbeque sandwiches, boiled peanuts, hot dogs and soft drinks will be available all through the day. There are free tours of our three historical museums for you to take at your leisure.
    We encourage vendors to set up at no charge and display or sell your wares, antiques, crafts, or collections!
    You chili cookers come show us your best efforts with a chili cook-off to be held; be sure to join this contest! There will be door prizes given away that afternoon, too.
    If you have an antique or classic car, bring it on down and show it off – There’ll be Model As and other antique cars. Dress in 19th Century clothing and strut your stuff. Bring your lawn chairs and plan to spend the day!
    For information, call 850-256-2029, 256-2661, or 256-3980.
    Some of the performers scheduled are:
Curly Brooks and friends - Curly played at the Grand Ol' Opry and was backup for Minnie Pearl's tour
Roy and Marina Chancery
From Santa Rosa County, The Southern Pride Dancers and The Southern Pride Band, with Donald George (a former Century resident)
Jeff and Cathy Crawley
The Heather Leonard Dancers
Danny and Henry Leonard and Bobby Holland
Marquez Savage and Antranette Shoemo singing gospel
Country music with Wendy McCall and Curtis Johnson
Dan Sheppard and Model RR Collection
Local authors Tony Simmons (Century native) and Bill Cummins
* * *
    Since we’ve recently observed All-Saints Day, it seems appropriate to bring to your attention the information regarding cemeteries from "The Winding River Road."
* * *
    Two large cemeteries are located only short distances from this historic road. They are known as the Coon Hill Cemetery, located not far from the Diamond Mill Creek, and the Carnley Cemetery located near the McCaskill Mill Creek. Side roads led from the River Road to these burying grounds during the early pioneer days. Side trails and roads still lead to these places but, like the old Winding River Road they have been permitted to grow over with bushes, briers and vines.
    There is no authentic information relative to the exact dates these cemeteries were established. The deeds conveying the land upon which they are located were made many years after they were first used as burying grounds. However, reasonable traditional information and markings on many grave stones indicate they were in use shortly after Florida was transferred to the United States.
    These cemeteries mutely, but plainly, reveal much history of the early days of the communities in which they are located. Silently they disclose the manners, customs and character of the first settlers in the land. To obtain this valuable and inspiring information one has but to visit these places, read the inscription on grave markers, gaze upon the many little mounds and depressions scattered here and there over a large area, consider them well and receive instruction.
    One small cemetery is located a short distance northeast from the old crossing on the McDavid Mill Creek on a little rise near the old road. It has no name and contains but few visible graves. However, a close examination of the soil near the few visible graves indicates many more bodies were buried there many years ago, probably during the Spanish Occupation and shortly thereafter.
    Rather definite traditional information indicates that the Spaniards buried a few Negroes here, probably runaway slaves from Alabama or stolen and harbored here by the early Spaniards. Only a few slaves were ever owned in this area; hence, this cemetery contains but few graves of Negroes known to have been slaves. Substantial traditional information indicates that no white people were ever buried here except a number of early Spaniards.
    A small cemetery is located approximately half a mile west of the historic Winding River Road and the same distance north from the McCaskill Mill Creek. It is located at a beautiful spot on a high bluff overlooking the flood plain of the Escambia River. L The area is partially covered with beautiful hardwood trees interspersed with tall pines.
    In the early spring the entire area is like a beautiful flower garden in full bloom. All during the autumn the place is gorgeous and enchanting with gay colored leaves carrying all the colors of the rainbow and thousands of combinations of colors such as none but the Supreme Artist Himself can produce. For more than an hundred years this cemetery has been known in its immediate community as the "Old Indian Graveyard."
    There is no authentic information to indicate the place contains the graves of Indians; however, the natural beauty and seclusiveness of the place indicate it was selected by the red children of the great forest rather than by any pioneers or the palefaces.
* * *
    There is still more to come about the cemeteries but we'll save that for another column, so keep on buying those Ledgers.

This page last modified on Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Reenactor in the shade at the Boxcar BBQ November 2006

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