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Scattered cemeteries tell tales of the once-living

Published Sep. 16, 2005

(ran PAS edition)

In 1911, C. E. Thomas, founder of Lutz, donated land for a cemetery in town, just north of "downtown" Lutz along U.S. 41.

Back then, those who entered used a sandy road at the end of Second Street NE. Some years later, residents erected a metal arch with the words "Lutz Cemetery" over the west side. The arch eventually deteriorated and was torn down.

Clearing land for the cemetery was a community effort. Everybody pitched in, it seemed. It was not a particularly easy job because there were plenty of big pine trees on the land. One proved quite formidable, and its stump remained on the property for years. Worth Johnson, a Lutz resident, said the stump was big enough for six men to stand on.

The original cemetery is the westernmost section of today's Lutz Cemetery.

The first person buried in the cemetery was a Mr. Nims. Ira Goheen and his father, Alfred, made the man's casket.

Today, three generations of Goheens are buried there _ Alfred, Ira and Sydney. Sydney, by the way, was in charge of the cemetery for many years.

Former postmasters E. Harvey Drake and William Vosburgh and mail carrier Fred Polen are buried there.

Cemetery maintenance was the community's responsibility. Residents gathered for a cleanup once or twice a year. Men arrived with hoes, shovels and scythes. Women brought sandwiches and cold lemonade.

Many early graves lacked the elaborate granite or marble markers we see today. Survivors simply didn't have the money for them. Instead, they decorated graves with prized shells.

Thirteen-Mile Run Cemetery is on Roy and Jane Knapp's property, northwest of the Interstate 275 overpass and Livingston Avenue.

A cyclone fence with a locked gate surrounds the cemetery. However, several graves are outside the fence, marked with seashells or deteriorated metal markers.

Allen Scott Denison, who lived near 40th Street when he died, is buried in this cemetery in an unmarked grave.

The Flynn Cemetery is at 19th Street and Sinclair Hills Road. Most people buried there are Flynns or their relatives.

Many old-timers consider County Line Cemetery to be a Pasco County burial spot. It actually is in Hillsborough County, just south of the line, east of Livingston.

Robert Grantham donated 2 acres there for a cemetery, Missionary Baptist Church and County Line School.

The earliest marked grave dates back to the 1800s, near where the old church and school stood.

One of the area's most interesting tombstones is in this cemetery _ that of Tom Ellis. It curses the man who shot him.

The Ehren Cemetery is on Cemetery Road, off Ehren Cutoff in Land O'Lakes. Some markers there go back to the 1800s. It is a relatively small cemetery, probably because most of the population was rather young at the height of Ehren's boom in the early 1900s. The few buried during that time were primarily shooting victims.

One of the most notable people buried here is Lydia Pinkham, who patented a medicine called Lydia Pinkham's Compound.

African-Americans in Ehren were buried in the Mount Carmel Cemetery, just west of Cemetery Road on the north side of Ehren Cutoff.

Many of these graves date from the late 1800s when the sawmills and turpentine stills were booming.

Over the years, the cemetery was neglected. Brush and rattlesnakes gradually consumed it. However, in the past year, volunteers and Pasco County workers have cleared the site.

The First Baptist Church of Land O'Lakes on School Road has its own cemetery, behind the church. Many buried there are pioneers and their offspring.

Greenfield Cemetery, near Gowers Corner on Coonhide Road, north of State Road 52, is where many Asbells and their relatives are buried.

Gillett Cemetery, dating from the early 1800s, is west of Gowers Corner. Take Bowman Road two miles west from U.S. 41. Drive south on Fairview for a half-mile to Rogerland Drive, then travel west a half mile to a graded road. On the graded road, drive a quarter of a mile south until you reach the cemetery.

Few old-timers recall much about this place or who is buried there.

Old adage of the week: "Let the dead bury the dead."

_ Elizabeth MacManus is a lifelong central Pasco resident. She can be reached at 949-4352. Send letters c/o North of Tampa, P.O. Box 1439, Land O'Lakes, FL 34639.