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Merritt Island in Brevard County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Merritt Island & Community Cemetery

"White Lilly Cemetery"

— 1892 —

 
 
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Merritt Island & Community Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, December 31, 2013
1. Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Merritt Island & Community Cemetery Marker
Inscription.  Established in 1892, the Bethel A.M.E. Church of Merritt Island was the first African Methodist Episcopal church on North Tropical Trail, located on land James R. Ragan originally acquired through the Homestead Act in 1895. The wooden church sat on brick piers close to the road and was referred to as “The Little Church on Courtenay.” Church pews were made of rough-hewn cypress, worn smooth from years of wear, and lined with fans advertising an insurance company. In front of a small altar was the communion rail, a 4 ft. section of 2x4 wood. Rev. Lawrence Walton was one of the church's first pastors. Rev. L.R. Catlin, Jr. was the pastor when a cornerstone was added in 1959 and the congregation of 49 included many grove workers. After 76 years of use, the church burned down in 1968. The adjacent cemetery was originally known as the “White Lilly Cemetery.” Graves date back to the early 1900s with many unidentified. Among pioneer families buried here are the Gillins, McDonald, Williams and Anderson. Renamed the Bethel-Greater Mount Olive A.M.E. Church Community Cemetery, it is still in use and managed by the Greater Mount
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Olive A.M.E. Church, Merritt Island.
 
Erected 2011 by The Brevard County Historical Commission, The Brevard County Tourist Development Council and the Florida Department of State. (Marker Number F-713.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCemeteries & Burial SitesChurches & Religion. In addition, it is included in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1892.
 
Location. 28° 26.523′ N, 80° 43.038′ W. Marker is on Merritt Island, Florida, in Brevard County. Marker is at the intersection of North Tropical Trail and Northgrove Drive, on the left when traveling north on North Tropical Trail. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4725 North Tropical Trail, Merritt Island FL 32953, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. St. Luke's Episcopal Church (approx. 1.1 miles away); John H. Sams Homestead (approx. 2.1 miles away); Indianola Pioneer Cemetery (approx. 2˝ miles away); City Point Community Church (approx. 2.6 miles away); John R. Field Homestead (approx. 3.1 miles away); The Legacy of Dennis Sawyer (approx. 4.3 miles away); Dennis Sawyer Memorial Park and Cemetery
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Merritt Island & Community Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, December 31, 2013
2. Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Merritt Island & Community Cemetery Marker
(approx. 4.7 miles away); Ulumay (approx. 5.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Merritt Island.
 
White Lilly Cemetery image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, December 31, 2013
3. White Lilly Cemetery
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church Trustees image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, December 31, 2013
4. Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church Trustees
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 30, 2017. It was originally submitted on January 28, 2017, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 500 times since then and 59 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 28, 2017, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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May. 19, 2024