Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It means "little bear"

If ye rabbits hop south along State Road 15 behind the Orlando International Airport, you will eventually cross the line into Osceola County and come across the little town of Narcoossee.

Funny name, isn't it? Well, it's supposedly derived from the Seminole word for the little bears that still inhabit this neck o' the woods.

Anyway, I headed down here for two reasons. The first was to find the old Pine Castle Union Church, which was moved to Narcoossee decades ago to make room for all the "progress" we see on Orange Avenue.

The second was to locate the final resting place of a fellow named Owen Simmons (16 Feb 1822 - 5 June 1894) who is buried in the little cemetery just east of SR15 in Narcoossee. (There is a sign on the highway that clearly points out the turn-off.) You will find it nestled amongst a fairly thick woodland. And, it is full of that white sugary sand that we are so famous for in this little corner of heaven.

Established back in 1887, town records show the cemetery wasn't officially platted until 1911. Sadly, as was so typical back then, it was designed as a segregated burial ground. There are 227 souls laid to rest here--64 white and 163 black.

My interest in Simmons stemmed from his name appearing alongside those of my ancestors on a local muster roll from the Third Seminole War. When I finally found his stone, I noticed someone had placed a small Confederate flag next to it. And, when I got back home and ran his name thru the previously mentioned Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database at the NPS, I found a William Owen Simmons who served in Company F of the 7th Florida Infantry Regiment. Perhaps, he was the same guy, but I'll have to do more digging to be sure . . .

No comments: