Today, we once again journey west of Orlando.
This time our hopping ground is the old Beulah Cemetery in Winter Garden. I say "old," because it is has the distinction of being continuously used as a graveyard longer than any other in Central Florida.
To get there, take State Road 50 to the big sign for West Orange High School, then head south on Beulah Road until it dead ends. The cemetery access road will be on your left. You may find the gate closed, as I did when I visited. In which case, you can still enter the grounds through the gap in the fence near the big oak tree pictured here.
Once inside you will see recent graves interspersed with much older ones.
The oldest one I could find on casual inspection belonged to one Andrew Jackson Dunaway (1818-1866). It caught my attention because of its poetic inscription beneath his vital dates:
Kind Father of Love
Thou art gone to thy rest
Forever to dwell
Mid the Joys of the blessed
Another thing that intrigued me was the possibility that Mr. Dunaway was a Civil War veteran, his death occurring just one year after the fighting ended. His stone certainly makes no mention of any such service, so I did a little digging.
No, not in the cemetery itself, but in the library.
In case you rabbits haven't discovered this awesome website yet, let me introduce you to the National Park Service's Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System:
There, I did a search for Mr. Dunaway, and found a listing that seemed to match for a soldier that served in Company C of the 2nd Florida Cavalry.
I then cross-checked this information with another great source: Fred L. Robertson's "Soldiers of Florida," compiled in Tallahasseee back in 1904.
It confirmed that our Mr. Dunaway at Beulah was indeed a Confederate soldier!
But, it also said that he was discharged from Confederate service DUE TO OLD AGE on 12 December 1862.
According to the birthdate on his stone, he was ONLY 44 YEARS OLD when he was deemed too old to serve?!?
Hmmmm . . .