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Carl A. Bailey Cemetery


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Few records exist for the early Black burials in the area which is now Charlotte County, Florida and today, only two of the early burial sites or cemeteries for Blacks can be located from the data available in this county's records. Both have tax ID numbers and both ar now considered to be on county owned property.  Only one of these, the Carl Bailey or Cleveland Cemetery as it was originally called, is still active and the earliest identifiable grave there now is that of Joseph Swine who died in 1904. At that time this area was in Desoto County and grave markers or obituaries were found for eight other burials made in this cemetery before Charlotte County was officially formed on the 23rd day of April 1921. Undoubtedly there were other early burials there too - possibly some even before these eight known graves.

For several years a small area in the southeast corner of this cemetery has been neglected. Part of this is the south 1/2 of Lot 3 of Block 28 which was purchased the 14th of January 1892 by the following trustees of the African M. E. Church - namely, George Brown, Sam Williams and S. Thompson (Pastor). Was this land purchased for a cemetery? Whether or not it was cannot be confirmed but the fact remains that many members of this early church and perhaps other Blacks were buried, not on this lot but nearby in the present cemetery area which at that time was owned by W. I. Scott of Oneida County, New York. Mr. Scott died and in 1911 his widow sold most of the land he owned in South Cleveland to Mr. Herbert Scholes of Utica, New York. Two years later, Mr. Scholes sold the north 1/2 of lot 3 and lots 1, 2 and 4 to 'The Punta Gorda Colored Investment Company' but no mention was made of its use as a cemetery.

Actually six of the nine aforementioned graves in this cemetery existed before they purchased this land. As previously mentioned, several others were probably buried there too such as George Brown's 1st wife who died in November 1892, the Reverend G. W. Vaughn who died suddenly on November 9th, 1902 and was buried the very next day,...  Certainly there was a need for this cemetery and perhaps the number of graves which existed at that time prompted the June 1913 purchase of the other parts of block 28.  The deed did name the company's trustees - George Brown, C. B. Commarter, S. A. Giles, Jack Davis, H. Mobley, A. C. Dorsey and John Vandlitt. Later, after Charlotte County was formed, the state assumed ownership of all of block 28 and on May 16th, 1955 resold the south 1/2 of lot 3 to the W. P. Cooper Company, Inc. of Sarasota, Florida.  A few months later, ie January 1956, the Cooper Co. sold the property to Mr. J. C. Hagerman and today it is owned by the heirs of his and Charlie Hagerman's estates.  In reality most, if not all , of the visible graves in this cemetery are in an area which can be defined by lots 1, 2, and 4 and 1/2 of lot 3. However one has a problem deciding which half of lot 3 lies in the N - S direction - this makes a N or S half somewhat meaningless.

In 1957 the cemetery was renamed for Lt. Carl A. Bailey after he died in an auto accident in North Carolina. Carl, his parents, and most of the Bailey family are buried in this cemetery.  Later that year, the county purchased additional property but the plans for the new addition were not finalized and approved until March 1974.  The addition provided for 1696 new graves and a caretaker's area but as of now no one has been buried in it.  Charlotte County Public Works is the cemetery's current caretaker.

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