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Citrus County Cities Towns and Communities

Stage Pond

by Laverne Tornow

The community of Stage Pond was settled in the 1860's and 1870's near a pond located in the piney woods of the southern central area of present day Citrus County. At the time of its origin it was located in Hernando County from which Citrus County was carved from in 1887. This pond would become a stagecoach stop and way station where fresh teams of horses would be hitched up or the team watered depending on the needs of that particular coach. Largely a farming and turpentine still community it was on the main stage route from Palatka to Tampa.

The earliest settlers included the Allen, Campbell, Clark, Dingus, Landrum, Rogers, Sparkman and Young families. By 1900 the community was in its "boom" period with at least two turpentine stills, a grocer, butcher and boarding house. Some of the families living in the general vicinity in 1900 were: Allen, Barrett, Bussy, Campbell, Cason, Clark, Dick, Dingus, Higgenbotham, Jackson, Kelly, Landrum, Letchworth, Lisk, Mason, Mathis, Mayo, Merritt, Morris, Nobbs, Powell, Priest, Revelle, Robinson, Rogers, Rooks, Russell, Sparkman, Young and others.

Like most small communities a cemetery sprang up which most likely began as a family burial ground that was opened up to the general community as the need presented itself. Stage Pond Cemetery is still active, though small. It is about 1 and 1/2 acres in size with the oldest headstone belonging to Ann Elizabeth Clark who was born in 1811 and died in 1887. While Mrs. Clark is the oldest known grave, it is believed that some of the unmarked graves are ten to 15 years older. Three of the unmarked graves belong to Lewis William Sparkman, his wife Hester and their infant James. Lewis and William have several children and grandchildren interred in this cemetery.

My grandmother, Verda Sparkman Garrett, the granddaughter of Lewis and Hester Sparkman, often told me of riding the stagecoach from Stage Pond to High Springs or Palatka with her mother to visit her great Aunt Mary Gardner Jackson and her great Aunt Hannah. To a young girl born in the mid 1950's, it seemed quite an adventure.

Today, Stage Pond is just a memory and consists only of the cemetery and a few remaining members of the original families still live in the immediate area. Most of the original community is now a part of the Withlacoochee State Forest, and none of the original homes are still in existence.