TOLOMATO CEMETERY


A Brief History: Tolomato Cemetery is located at 14 Cordova Street, St Augustine, Florida. Tolomato Cemetery is the oldest planned cemetery in Florida dating back to 1565. Tolomato Cemetery was known as being a strict Catholic Cemetery. During the first Spanish period between 1565-1763, the site was home to a Franciscan Indian Mission sent to convert the native Guale Indians to Christianity. The name Tolomato comes from the original name of the home village of the Guale Indians. In 1777, during the British period, the Minorcans turned the site into a burial ground. It lasted for 107 years until it was closed in 1884 due to concerns of yellow fever. There are over 1000 people buried at this location however there are only 105 grave markers. Many famous St. Augustine’s are buried here including Bishop Agustin Verot, the first Bishop of St. Augustine, Governor Enrique White, who served during the Second Spanish Period, and General George Biassou of Haiti. Also buried here are many Civil War soldiers from both sides of the conflict.


Haunted History: There are many tales of apparitions that appear on the grounds of Tolomato Cemetery. The most famous one is that of James P. Morgan. On the grounds of the Cemetery there is a centuries old oak tree. James had loved to climb the tree but one day after his 5thbirthday, he lost his grip while climbing the tree and fell to his death in 1877. The Morgan family had already purchased several plots for their family to be buried together forever prior to this however they could not bear with James’ death after they buried him and left never to return. There are dozens of stories of people, especially other children, seeing or hearing the young boy. The next story is that of Bishop Verot who was the first Roman Catholic Bishop in St Augustine. He was a very well loved person so when he died they paid no expense in getting him a beautiful iron casket with a glass window on top to bury him in however, this was not well thought out and his body had been laying in the casket for 3 days in the middle of June in the Florida heat. The window and body exploded and the remains of the bishop were picked up and buried as quick as possible.