Sarasota in Sarasota County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
The Florida Mortgage and Investment Company deeded five acres in 1905 to Trustees John Mays, Willis G.P. Washington, Lewis Colson, Campbell Mitchell and J.P. Carter for a "colored" cemetery. The land was platted in 1910 as Oaklands Cemetery. For a few years in the late 1920s the cemetery was known as Peppermill. By 1929 it was called Woodlawn.
The earliest death date on a marked grave is 1905. Other gravestones and funeral home records indicate that at least eleven of the people buried in the cemetery were born before the end of the Civil War. One of these was cemetery trustee Willis G.P. Washington, who was born in 1851. Carrie Belle Warren's headstone shows a birth date of 1808.
Oaklands/Woodlawn Cemetery was the first cemetery formally established for the burial of Sarasota County's black residents. Thus, funeral records show that people from Tallevast to Myakka to Venice were brought to Sarasota for burial. Residents of the Johnson Camp for farm workers in Fruitville, the Bee Ridge Turpentine Camp, Laurel and Woodmere (a sawmill town south of Venice) joined those of Sarasota's Overtown and Newtown commutes in the cemetery.
The first known African American doctor to practice in Sarasota is associated with the cemetery. Dr. Frank E.A. Simpson was the attending physician for at least two people buried there in the late 1920s.
Traditional African American burial patterns are evident in Oaklands/Woodlawn Cemetery. The strength of family blood ties often results in adult children being buried next to their parents rather than next to their spouses. The families of Sarasota pioneers Leonard and Eddie Reid and Joseph and Annie Weldon illustrate this custom.
According to funeral home records and tombstones, there were at least 1200 burials in the cemetery by 1980. There may have been additional early ones for which wooden markers have disappeared over time. Burials have also occurred since then.
Erected by Sarasota County Historical Commission.
Location. 27° 20.771′ N, 82° 31.953′ W. Marker is in Sarasota, Florida, in Sarasota County. Marker is on Gillespe Avenue 0.2 miles south of 12th Street, on the Touch for map. Marker is located at the end of Gillespie Avenue just inside the cemetery gate. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1050 Gillespe Avenue, Sarasota FL 34236, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. St. Martha Mission Church (approx. 0.6 miles away); Seaboard Railway Depot (approx. 0.8 miles away); Bidwell-Wood House (approx. 0.8 miles away); Mary Wyatt Whitaker (approx. 0.9 miles away); Yellow Bluffs (approx. 0.9 miles away); John D. MacDonald 1916-1986/John D. and the Friday Liars (approx. 0.9 miles away); City of Sarasota (approx. 0.9 miles away); Methodist Church (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sarasota.
Categories. • African Americans • Cemeteries & Burial Sites •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 21, 2018. This page originally submitted on March 4, 2016, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 236 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on March 4, 2016, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.