Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday: Chestnut Cemetery, Apalachicola, Florida

I stumbled across this cemetery on vacation in nearby St. George Island.  Apalachicola is a small town on the Gulf of Mexico in the Florida panhandle, known for it's oysters.

Chestnut Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in town, with burials dating back to the early 19th century.  It has a Southern Gothic quality; Spanish moss drips from the trees, the fences surrounding the cemetery and some of the plots are rusted and falling, and many of the stones are broken and falling down.

There were a number of stones of people born in Greece, Ireland and Germany who must have immigrated to the area in the early 1800s.

Catherina Spano, wife of Italian immigrant Salvador Spano.  The 1900 census indicates she was born in the United States, the daughter of Irish immigrants.  Salvador is a fish and oyster dealer.  Catherina died later that year age age 46.  

Frederick Hoffman, born in Prussia in 1834, a seaman who died in Apalachicola in 1883 at age 49.
A small corner of the cemetery contains a number of unmarked graves and unreadable stones.  This may have been the burial place of slaves.  The below stone is Aunt Bella, "faithful servant of H. F. Simmons for over 40 years."  She was born in 1789 and died in 1852, having spent her entire life in slavery.  Henry F. Simmons (1784 - 1852), a farmer from Georgia and her owner,  is also buried in the cemetery.

Aunt Bella's grave

Henry F. Simmons grave

There are many children's graves in the cemetery and many of them were probably victims of malaria and yellow fever that periodically swept through the area.