Do you have an interest in history as well as a bit of craftiness? Consider creating a collection of gravestone rubbings from our historic cemeteries.
Whether for personal genealogy purposes or to respectfully capture markers of historical significance or visual interest, it’s a popular and rewarding pastime. Florida’s Adventure Coast boasts a rich history with many who passionately preserve its accuracy and legacy.
A sampling of resources for more information on this subject can be found at the end of this article. Special thanks to Hernando County Historian, Jan Knowles and Shannon Werner for research.
Assemble the following recommended supplies:
• Spray bottle containing distilled water and a soft rag and/or brush to gently free the gravestone surface of loose dirt and debris.
• Sheets of large, medium weight paper, wrapping paper or non-fusible interfacing
• Masking tape
• Large, dark-colored crayons or rubbing wax
• Poster tube, wrapping paper tube or similar for storing/protecting your rubbings
Begin with the Brooksville Cemetery at 1275 Olmes Road. A Florida Heritage Site, its earliest tombstone is from 1845; and it contains twenty-six Confederate and five Union veterans, thirteen Spanish-American War veterans as well as many veterans of WWI, WWII, Vietnam, and Korea. Headstones contain the names of such community founders as Varn, McKethan, Saxon and more.
After working up your appetite, visit the Florida Cracker Kitchen for a hearty lunch. Come hungry and dig into some of their house specialties, featuring such fare as shrimp and grits cakes with tomato gravy or corned beef hash. Don’t forget fluffy biscuits with kumquat jam. Just remember to hit the ATM machine beforehand; the establishment is cash only.
Next, head over to Spring Hill Cemetery at 8580 Fort Dade Avenue. This historic African American cemetery in Brooksville dates back several generations and is located on 3.8 acres off of Fort Dade Avenue in Brooksville. Since 1993, the cemetery has been managed by Ms. Alice Walker in association with the African American Spring Hill Cemetery Association, Inc. Both her mother and grandmother are buried there.
A memorial to a former small Polish Catholic community, the St. Stanislaus Church and Cemetery can be found near 14211 Citrus Way. This church was originally built in 1917 and named after the patron Saint of Poland. The little wooden chapel was dedicated in 1919 but destroyed by fire in 1929. A new chapel was built in its place and dedicated in 1931 by Abbot Francis Sadlier of Saint Lew Abbey. Pretty and picturesque, the church and cemetery are well maintained by descendent families.
Travel next to the Lake Lindsey Baptist Church and Cemetery, located near the current Eden Baptist Church at 22308 Lake Lindsey Road.
“History lies underfoot and soars overhead in the shady and sun-dappled Lake Lindsey Cemetery. On the edge of the cemetery sits an Indian burial mound whose origin archeologists trace back to some 600 years ago, before the arrival of explorer Ponce de Leon to this region,” journalist Beth N. Gray.
Grab a Cuban sandwich at nearby Lake Lindsey Mall and Deli for lunch. A simple reminder of yesteryear, this local landmark is known for its friendly staff, great sandwiches, boiled peanuts and ice cold drinks. Sit on the front porch or at shaded picnic tables out back.
Finally, explore the Old Tucker Hill Cemetery near 26416 Croom Road. Park in the Tucker Hill Day Use area parking lot. While facing the board with the trail maps, turn to the right and walk around the wooden rails. Follow a wide, unmarked trail and reach the cemetery after a one-minute walk. This cemetery in the Croom Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest is thought to date back to the late 1800s when a town named Croom existed there.
There are a number of other cemeteries throughout Hernando County of historical significance. For more information, read the book by Linda Welker and Jan Kalnbach, published in 2014, entitled “Hernando Epitaphs: Cemeteries and Memorials of Hernando County, Florida”.
To learn more about how and where the fascinating lives of those who came before us are marked, please visit the following online resources.
For more on gravestone rubbing techniques, check here. Remember, respect the sites, their condition, and age.