Near Bushnell in Sumter County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Wild Cow Prairie Cemetery
The earliest local history of Wild Cow Prairie Cemetery describes the wetland just south of the cemetery as a lush feeding ground for the wild cows and ponies left by the Spanish. At sun-up and sunset, it was said to be covered with pink flamingos, white egrets, and thousands of other beautiful birds. Wild Cow Prairie Cemetery sat at the corner of Stagecoach Road and Wire Road. Britton Branch Jr. deeded the property for the cemetery and, in 1849, Branch's son-in-law, William D. Boulden Sr., was the first to be buried here. For the next 75 years, the town of Pemberton, located just one mile southwest, used Wild Cow Prairie Cemetery as a segregated burial ground for whites. Interred here are two Sumter County commissioners, Charles L. Branch and James Weeks; one Hernando County commissioner, Frank L. Smith; and a member of the Board of Public Instruction for Hernando County, Stephen Weeks. James Hunter Pemberton, the last person laid to rest here, was interred in 1924. By the Great Depression, Pemberton was in ruins, and the federal government bought the property. In 1958, the federal government leased the property to the State of Florida,
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James T. Pemberton founded the town of Pemberton in 1876. The town developed around a ferry that helped early settlers and stagecoaches cross the Withlacoochee River, from Sumter to Hernando County. The town was an important early transportation hub for Sumter County. As a critical cog in Henry B. Plant's transportation empire, it served as a junction of two busy railroads, and as a landing for steamboats traveling the Withlacoochee River. In his 56 years, Pemberton fought in the Civil War, and served as the first postmaster for Pemberton, the proprietor of the Pemberton Hotel, and as an Inspector of Marks and Brands. In his political career, he served as one of five delegates from Sumter County for Florida's Democratic Party convention during the presidential election of 1896. Pemberton was the first county resident to be recommended by the Sumter County Board of Commissioners in 1902 for the position of Fish and Game Warden, but he died before the State of Florida could finalize his appointment. Pemberton was laid to rest in Wild Cow Prairie Cemetery on May 15, 1905.
Erected 2020 by Sumter County Historical Society, Sumter County Preservation Society, Explore Sumter County, Young Performing
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Railroads & Streetcars • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1849.
Location. 28° 36.12′ N, 82° 12.16′ W. Marker is near Bushnell, Florida, in Sumter County. Marker is at the intersection of County Route 673 and Interstate 75, on the right when traveling east on County Route 673. Marker is located on the southeast corner of the exit with I-75 via a dirt drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Webster FL 33597, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Florida National Cemetery (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Ultimate Sacrifice (approx. 0.7 miles away); Address by President Lincoln (approx. 0.7 miles away); 82nd Airborne Division Association (approx. 0.7 miles away); Retired Enlisted Association (approx. 0.7 miles away); Pride and Honor (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Carillon (approx. 0.7 miles away); American Ex-Prisoners of War (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bushnell.
More about this marker. Marker is located less than a mile from the Florida National Cemetery.
Also see . . . National Register Entry for Wild Cow Prairie Cemetery. (Submitted on January 19, 2022, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 19, 2022. It was originally submitted on January 19, 2022, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 142 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on January 19, 2022, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.