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Port Charlotte in Charlotte County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Southland Trail Cemetery

 
 
Southland Trail Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, June 21, 2016
1. Southland Trail Cemetery Marker
Inscription.  The Southland Trail Cemetery, believed to be a non-white cemetery, serves as the final resting place for an undisclosed number of leased convict laborers, blacks and possibly 18th century Spanish-Indian fishermen. The age of the cemetery is unknown; however locals refer to it as the “Convict Cemetery.”

From around 1910, Florida’s leased convict labor system allowed the railroad and naval stores industries to lease inexpensive convict labor crews from area jails. These laborers worked on rail lines and in turpentine camps. Conditions at the camps were often cruel and inhumane. Convict laborers endured malnutrition, malaria, exposure, wildfires and beatings, often dying at the hands of “whipping bosses” employed to keep the workers in line. The majority of leased convict laborers were blacks imprisoned under harsh Jim Crow laws. The leasing of convicts continued until 1923 when Florida legislators banned the practice.

The Southland Trail Cemetery lies near the site of the Weeks-Gurganious turpentine camp. It served as the camp’s burial ground and as a cemetery for blacks until its last interment in
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1966. It is unavailable for burials.
 
Erected 2015 by Charlotte County Board of County Commissioners.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCemeteries & Burial SitesLaw Enforcement. A significant historical year for this entry is 1910.
 
Location. 27° 0.085′ N, 82° 12.405′ W. Marker is in Port Charlotte, Florida, in Charlotte County. Marker is on McClellan Avenue, 0.1 miles north of Black Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 14516 McClellan Avenue, Port Charlotte FL 33953, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Myakka River Civil War Skirmish (approx. 2.3 miles away); Murdock (approx. 4.1 miles away); Town of McCall (approx. 5 miles away); Placida Bunk House (approx. 5 miles away); Prehistoric Man Lived Here/Spring Was Once a Cave (approx. 5.2 miles away); Little Salt Spring (approx. 5˝ miles away); Trinity United Methodist Church (approx. 8.8 miles away); Charlotte Harbor Cemetery (approx. 9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Port Charlotte.
 
Southland Trail Cemetery Marker looking south image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, June 21, 2016
2. Southland Trail Cemetery Marker looking south
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 8, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 7, 2020, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 743 times since then and 80 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 7, 2020, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 19, 2024