colcem2.htm September 5, 2007 Return to the Trilby Colored Cemetery home page.
This page is copied, without photographs, from http://pascocemeteries.org/ with the permission of the owner. Please go to Jeff Cannon's page to see more information about his work and other cemeteries in Pasco County.
Note: There are several names for the the cemetery mentioned here. I have heard it referred to as the Black, Colored, and County Cemetery. Jeff is more contemporary with his use of "African American Cemetery," but the fact of life is that it was the local cemetery that the members of the Negro Race were buried before segregation in businesses and public places was outlawed. The other cemetery in Trilby is referred to as "The Trilby Cemetery." Whatever the term used to describe it in these pages, there is no intent to embarrass, insult, or defame any person or group of people. -- R Riley
http://pascocemeteries.org/This page is under construction as information is constantly becoming available. In the future this site will have a listing of burials and histories for each cemetery and community that formed around them.. Some of the cemeteries listed have since been destroyed and in some cases have homes and businesses built on them while others remain in unfit conditions; very little remains of them. Some of these cemeteries may be known by several names and we have tried to list all known names. This page will be updated on a regular basis so please check back for pictures, maps and any updated information. Any site marked as a ghost cemetery refers to a cemetery that has not been relocated but upon inspection of the site there is no cemetery, these cemeteries have been documented through historical accounts. In some cases these sites may have been developed. Any information contained on this page may not be reproduced without written consent of the author. Copyright ©2006
Anyone with questions, comments, or additional information can contact the page designer Jeff Cannon
The following is one entry from the home page of Pasco County Cemeteries.
The Trilby Depot as it appeared ca. 1911. This was the second depot built in Trilby, the first was built at the same location in 1887 along the Orange Belt Railroad. (Photo courtesy of the Florida State Archives)
Once again upon visiting another of Pasco County's historic cemeteries I am introduced with another unfortunate examples of the many neglected cemeteries throughout Pasco County. The Country Cemetery or Trilby African American Cemetery, as it is known, dates back to Pasco County's sawmill days and before. During these times it was typical for the African Americans and whites to live on separate sides of the community and this segregation applied to Trilby, which is evident through the two separate cemeteries. These two sides were usually separated by the railroad tracks that ran through the community. Many of Pasco's African American cemeteries are so badly damaged and neglected that in many cases there is very little remaining. Some cemeteries have had homes built atop of them and some of the remaining African American cemeteries are being led to the same destruction. Please check this web site for other African American cemeteries and information on which cemeteries have been destroyed or are near destruction. In most cases Pasco County issues the building permits for the homes built on these cemeteries.
Just at that time the railroad magnate was much absorbed in a second reading of Du Maurier's book, and when the question was asked, he responded: “Let us call the little town site Trilby.” And so it was. Strange to say, the little village at once began to grow. It was put down Trilby on the maps of Florida, and it became conspicuous by reason of the Trilby craze, which was in full frenzy just at that time. Real estate agents took hold and helped to build it up, while the traveling newspaper men passing over the railroad wrote columns about the town that was growing there to perpetuate the name of Du Maurier's book. The town Trilby is to-day a pretentious little place, with a dozen or more stores, shops and dwellings. The streets are named appropriately. The principal square is called Svengali square, and the three leading streets which run parallel and lose themselves in this square are called “Little Billee street,” “Taffy street” and “The Laird.” There are several avenues named after the women folks of the book. —N. Y. Sun."
It seems that it was Henry B. Plant who named the small Pasco County town, Trilby, after the book with the same name published by George Du Maurier in 1894. It is believed or rumored that Plant decided to change the town name of Macon to Trilby, due to the towns mail being sent to Macon, Georgia on a regular basis. According to local Trilby Historian Richard Riley, "George Du Maurier(1834-1896) was the grandfather of the novelist Daphne du Maurier and of the Llewelyn-Davies boys who inspired Peter Pan. George was a Frenchman who lived in London and worked for Punch, he created a sensation with his second novel, Trilby, the story of Trilby O'Ferrall, an artist's model, who is transformed into a successful singer under the spell of the evil musical genius, Svengali. Soap, songs, dances, toothpaste, and a town in America were all named for the heroine. A soft felt hat with an indented crown (worn in the London stage production of a dramatization of the novel) is still called a trilby.
(Photo 2, 3)
(Left) Cover of the 1894 George Du Maurier novel Trilby. (Right) Illustration from 1894 novel Trilby for which Trilby, Florida was named by H.B. Plant. (Images courtesy of Richard Riley)
Henry B. Plant was so moved that he not only had the town named Trilby but there were also several streets named after characters in the novel. Among some of the early street names for the town were: Lou Lou Ave., Little Billee St., Dodd St., Taffy St., The Laird Ave., and Sweet Ave. to name a few. When the Town site of Trilby was officially surveyed and platted in December of 1896 these names appeared on the plat map. (click here to see 1896 plat map of Trilby) As you can see from the plat map, Trilby was centered around the location of where two major railroad systems met, both owned by Plant.
As the Town of Trilby grew the name of Macon slowly became a name of the past as everything was changed to the new name of Trilby. As the railroad became the staple industry of Trilby the population of the small town grew and so did the area surrounding. As the town grew, more people made Trilby their home, including an African American population who found work through the railroad, local sawmills, and unique to the area was phosphate. As people began to make Trilby home the need for churches and schools became prevalent. As early as 1892 school board minutes reflect and show that there was a school established in Macon or Trilby, for the African American children of the community. According to Pasco County School Board minutes dated July 7, 1892, "A petition was read from the colored patrons at Macon asking for the establishment of a school at that place." This school was granted and the African American children of Trilby now had a place to receive an education since they were not allowed to attend school with the white children. According to Pasco County School Board minutes dated October 9, 1893, "On motion a special school for colored children was granted to be taught at Macon. Salary of teacher to be $20 per month and George Burney to be supervisor.” Many times these special schools held their classes in the local church before the establishment of a permanent structure.
In 1895 an African Methodist Episcopal Church was established to serve the spiritual and likely early educational needs of the African Americans of Trilby. It was in January of 1895 that the trustees of St. Johns A.M.E. Church in Macon/Trilby began looking for property to build their church. By January 24th they had located a small lot situated along the railroad tracks at the north end of town. The lot was being sold by Dade City resident and merchant Nathan H. Garner and his wife Maggie. According to the 1900 Federal Census, Nathan was born in North Carolina and had been married to Maggie for twelve years. Nathan and Maggie had two children, Nathan Jr. and Johnell both boys. According to Pasco County land records, on January 24th 1895 Nathan H. Garner and wife, Maggie W., deeded Lot 3 of Block 1 to the trustees of St. Johns A.M.E. Church in the Town of Macon (Trilby). It was next to this church that the African American people of Trilby established their own cemetery as burials were not allowed in the local white cemetery. (Please see more history, about Trilby African American Cemetery, below)Shortly after in 1897 the Trilby Methodist Church was established. According to the historic marker on the building, the Trilby Methodist Church was "organized by the Rev. T. H. Sistrunk in 1897 and built by the 12 charter members one year later, the original frame church and steeple of pioneer design has long been a center of community activities. Moved from near the railroad coal chute to the present site about 1920, it was remodeled in 1978. The pulpit, handmade by John Spinks, is still in use."
Trilby Methodist Church as it looks today. This church was established in 1897 by Rev. Sistruck and moved to it present location on C.R. 575 ca. 1920
By 1900 Trilby was becoming a significant town in Pasco County. The town square became more defined and established as businesses found their roots in Trilby. According to the 1900 and 1910 Federal Censuses many of those living in Trilby were working for the railroad, there are also many listed as farmers. However, these censuses also list numerous other occupations of those who lived in Trilby. In 1900 Alexander Golok was listed as the town druggist or pharmacist. Alexander was born in Scotland in 1862 and came to the United States in 1880, he received citizenship in 1884. Joseph M. Abbott is listed as town physician. Joseph was born in Kentucky in 1844. Joseph later moved on to south east Pasco where the town of Abbott was established, which is known as Zephyrhills today. The town Justice of the Peace was E. Stafford who was born in Georgia in 1841. Hugh Britla who was born in North Carolina in 1874 is listed as being the U.S. Mail Carrier. Hugh may have in fact been the postmaster for Trilby since there is no postmaster listed in the 1900 census. One of the more unique occupations was held by African American resident Daniel Green. Daniel Green was born in Florida in 1845 and held the position of telegraph repairer.
By 1910 Dr. Abbott had moved to Zephyrhills and H.O. Bird replaced him as the town physician. The 1910 Federal Census list H.O Bird as having a general practice in Trilby. However, W.C. Abbott, Dr. Abbott's son, remained in Trilby and by 1910 was the proprietor and owner of the Trilby Drugstore. The 1910 census also reveals that William Groter (sic?) had assumed the responsibilities of Trilby's post master. Among the other businesses established in Trilby were hotels, general stores, meat shops, jewelery stores, restaurants and tailor shops. These business offered a wide variety of occupations for those who lived in Trilby. According to the 1910 census, Herrshal Johnson worked as Trilby's jeweler who is also listed as specializing in watches. Among those listed as being General Store Merchants in the 1910 censuses are W.H. Edwards, Forrest Bankston, Homer Stephanson, Charles Jensen, and A.H. Bankston. According to East Pasco's Heritage, "Mr. Edward's [W.H. Edwards] Redfront General Merchandise not only had the town's only gas pump but also stocked coffins long before the days of embalming." It is likely that Redfront's also stocked headstones or grave markers as did most town general stores of the time period. These general stores also offered other occupations for the people of Trilby. Basil Keith and L.M. McLeod are listed as general store salesman and Vernon Brown as general store laborer. T.J. or Thomas Blitch is listed in the 1910 census as proprietor of soda fountain/ confections. Thomas Blitch was the owner of The Drug Sundries Store, which had Trilby's only soda fountain. The Drug Sundries Store also severed fresh homemade ice cream and was a popular meeting place for the Town of Trilby, see advertisement below.
This photo shows downtown Trilby, the photo was taken from the train depot in ca. 1910. Pictured from left to right is the Trilby Post Office, John Stephens Feed Store, Trilby Drug Store and Ed's Redfront General Merchandise. The alley between the Drug Store and Redfront's lead to Railroad Pond were the horses were hitched under the trees according to East Pasco Heritage. (Photo courtesy of Scott Black)
Many of the African Americans residents of Trilby were either employed by the local railroad or they worked on the local farms. However there were some African American residents who owned and operated their own businesses. Nathan and John Porter, brothers, operated their own tailoring business and likely sold clothes to the residents of Trilby. Nathan was the owner of the shop while his brother John is listed as helper. Others were employed at other local businesses such as the hotels and restaurants. For example John Rick is listed as a hotel cook and Donna Dixon as a restaurant cook. The 1910 census also list Dawson McLain who worked as a barber likely at Vernon Hilliard's Barbershop.
According to East Pasco Heritage, other businesses names in Trilby included "Dick Pitt's Meat Market, Edgar Wade's Drugstore (nonprescription), a cafe and Vernon Hillard's Barbershop. Mr. Hilliard also worked for the railroad. There was also Matt Lake's colored rooming house, since Trilby was segregated as most towns of the time period were. There was Joe Roller's Hotel owned by Harvey Worthington's foster family, Hux's Rooming House and Blue Goose Rooming House." The 1910 census list Margaret Christopher as a hotel proprietor, however it is not known which hotel she owned. Lott Allen Jr. is listed as a meat cutter at the town meat shop, likely Dick Pitt's Meat Market. These businesses along with several other businesses prospered and served the people of Trilby for many years.
On May 23, 1901 Trilby became incorporated for the first time under the Laws
of the Florida. According to documents obtained from the Florida State
Archives, "Chapter 5094- No. 210 is An Act to Incorporated the Town of
Trilby, in Pasco County, Florida, and Provide for Elections of its Municipal
Officers. Be it Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
Section 1. That the Town of Trilby, in Pasco County, Florida, is hereby incorporated and declared to be a municipal corporation under the name of the Town of Trilby, with the territorial corporate limits as follows, to-wit: Commencing at the southeast corner of the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section twenty-six (26), township twenty-three (23) south, range twenty-one (21), and extending north two thousand and two hundred yards to the northeast corner of the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section twenty-three (23); thence west two thousand two hundred yards to the northwest corner of the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section twenty-two (22), township twenty-three (23) south, range twenty-one (21); thence south two thousand two hundred yard to the southwest corner of section twenty-seven (27), township twenty-three (23) south, range twenty one (21), thence east to the point of beginning."
From this point the Town of Trilby was supposed to hold a regular election every year to determine a mayor, town council, clerk, tax collector and assessor, marshal, and treasurer; these position were open to all males 21 years or older. It is not known who held these first positions or the date of the first election if any. This incorporation was approved by the Legislature of Florida at its eighth regular session April 2 to May 31, 1901. This first incorporation of Trilby did not last long.
On May 11, 1909 the Act to Incorporate Trilby was repealed. According
to documents obtained from the Florida State Archives, "Chapter 6106- No.
237 is An Act to Repeal Chapter 5094 of the Laws of Florida, Entitled 'An Act to
Incorporate the Town of Trilby, in Pasco County, Florida, and Provide for the
Election of Its Municipal Officers.' Be it enacted by the Legislature of
the State of Florida:
Section 1. The Chapter 5094 of the Laws of Florida, entitled 'An Act to incorporate the Town of Trilby, in Pasco County, Florida, and provide for the elections of its municipal officers,' be and the same is hereby repealed."
This repeal was approved by the Legislature of the State of Florida at its twelfth regular session April 6 to June 4 1909. While there is record of Trilby's incorporation in state records, there is no record of this incorporation in local records. In most cases there would be records filled with Pasco County. As previously noted this was the first incorporation, please read about the second incorporation of Trilby below.
According to Historic Places of Pasco County, it was ca. 1902 when the Twin Lakes Masonic Lodge #141 was moved by horse and rollers to Trilby. The name was then changed to the Trilby Masonic Lodge #141. The two story building built in January of 1894 served the community of Trilby for many years. The upstairs was used for Masonic meeting, while the downstairs was used as a dry goods store and living area. Today the old building is no longer used and sits in disrepair. The upstairs of the building once used for Masonic meetings still has the raised platform.
Notice is here by given to all the registered voters residing in the following described limits to wit:
Commencing at the Northeast corner of NW 1/4 of Southeast 1/4 sec. 22 Township 23 S of Range 21 East, thence west 3/4 of one mile to NW corner of the NW 1/4 of the SW 1/4 sec. 22 Township 23 South of Range 21 East, thence south one and 1/4 miles to the SW corner of the NW 1/4 of the Southwest 1/4 sec 27 Township 23 South of Range 21 east thence east 3/4 mile to the SE-corner of the NW 1/4 of the Southeast 1/4 sec. 27 township 23 south Range 21 east. thence north one and 1/4 miles to point of beginning Embraceing the Town of Trilby Florida. Are required to assemble at the office of T. S. McCorkle in the town of Trilby Fla. on Thursday the first day of May A. D. 1913, at 8 o'clock A. M. To organize a municipal Government, To select a corporate seal and to select by vote a mayor, Clerk, Marshall and five aldermen which shall be known as the City Council.
Names: H. O. Byrd M. D., T. S. McCorkle, J. E. Beach, R. H. Pitts, G. R. Pitts, D. Foster, W. A. J. Prescott, J. W. Brown, S. A. Lewis, W. G. Devane, M. D., L. M. McLeod, W. M. Watkins, W. H. Edwards, Dal Hilliard, H. Cunningham, Forrest Bankston, A. P. Hix, Geo T. Butler, Pierce Kerrell, L. Allen Jr., B. T. Butts, J. A. Bradshaw, J. J. Roller, B. F. Knott, C. F. Croft, R. B. Tyer, W. C. Mock, J. L. Keller, C. H. Tedder, E. G. Worthington, J. D. Turner, W. A. Croft.
May 1st 1913.
At a call meeting of the voters of the City of Trilby in the County of Pasco in the state of Florida, having assembled themselves together in the office of T. S. McCorkle in the aforesaid town for the purpose of electing City Officers for the town of Trilby, F. Bankston presiding as chairman, Lott Allen, Jr acting Secretary, and citizens proceeded to vote as follows:
Moved and seconded that the incorporate name shall be the Town of Trilby, motion carried,
Moved and seconded that we adopt the Seal of "The Town of Trilby," same was carried -
Citizens proceeded to vote as follows:
For Mayor, Dr. W. G. DeVane, receiving a majority of the votes cast, was declared elected.
For Alderman, F. Bankston, J. J. Roller, R. H. Pitts, W. H. Edwards and Dr. H. O. Byrd, receiving the largest number of votes were declared elected.
For City Clerk, L. Allen, Jr. receiving the largest number of votes for that office was declared elected.
For City Marshal, W. M. Watkins, receiving the largest number of votes was declared elected to that office.
All of said officers taking the following oath, administered by W. P. Edwards, viz:
"That I and each of us, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida against all enemies, domestic and foreign, and that I will bear true faith, loyalty and allegiance to the same, and that I am entitled to hold office under the Constitution; that I will faithfully perform all the duties of the office which I am elected to on which I am about to enter. So help me God."
Under Article #100 General Statutes, count was made of number of qualified voters present, same being thirteen (13) Meeting adjourned.
W. P. Edwards, N. P. My commission expires 10/8/1913.
Filed for record May 6th 1913.
A. J. Burnside Clerk
(illegible) D. C.