Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Waldo's Laurel Grove Cemetery

An impulsive right-hand turn down a narrow and flooding side street in Waldo, Florida, led us to the Laurel Grove Cemetery. This country cemetery is modest, peaceful, and eclectic. Since it was Memorial Day weekend, the graves of veterans were decorated with flags. The cemetery is surprisingly large, covering gentle hills and encompasing a pond full of quite vocal frogs. The air was cedar scented.

The Laurel Grove Cemetery dates to 1883, with an expansion in 1897, on land owned by Idella and Samuel J. Kennard. A native of England, Kennard came to the United States in 1847. By 1860, he was a grocer in Waldo, and soon thereafter he served in the Confederate States of America Army during the Civil War. Kennard later was Waldo's postmaster, and his son was mayor. (For a more complete biography of Kennard and the original plat of the cemetery, visit the Laurel Grove Cemetery's webpage).

The cemetery is still in use today, and over the past 125 years, it has accumulated a great variety of grave markers, from elaborate marble statuary and ornate iron fence work, to handmade vernacular concrete memorials.

The Champion Iron Fence Company manufactured this fence.

Hands down, no questions asked, the most curious marker at Laurel Grove Cemetery is a homemade concrete elephant, complete with nails as tusks. This marker, unfortunately, did not include a name that I could see, so I have no way of knowing why an elephant (?!).

One of the most touching markers was also handmade, found on the grave of Caroline Kathleen Larson (October 12, 1949 - December 21, 2005), which reads simply "CAROL My Love."


  1. My GG Grandmother, Eliza Anna Parrish DeSha as well as my GGrandparents Joseph Finegan and Harriet Mariah Beasley DeSha and many other DeShas and related family members are at rest in Laurel Grove. It is a very beautiful cemetery with much history. Thank you for your photos and notes.

  2. Anonymous7:58 PM

    My husband's Great Grandfather Thomas S. McManus is buried at Laurel Grove. His wife,Sara's maiden name was Honeycutt or Hocuit and Thomas was supposedly buried in a family area there. He had a sister, Mrs. Abner Blakeney from Waldo. Have been unable to find any info for Sara; death, burial site, etc.

  3. Anonymous4:48 AM

    I remember as a kid growing up in Waldo during the late 1960s early 1970s exploring that cemetary. I remember that Elephant statue. I have not been there in years. Thank you verey much for bringing back some wonderful boyhood memories.
    Edward Sartorius. Grand son of Clarence and Nora Goltrap of Waldo Fl.

  4. Anonymous10:02 PM

    My great grandparents Nelson and Louisa Harris are buried here as well as my grandparents James and Eva Raulerson. I have attended a number of funerals there as s child and cemetery work days. Thanks to those who maintain this hallowed ground now.


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