Kirkland or Mays

Kirkland or Mays Cemetery

Cemetery = Kirkland or Mays Cemetery

Vicinity = Wakulla NE

Status = abandoned

Community = Afr. Amer.

Synonymous name(s) = Mays Cemetery; Wakulla Cemetery

GPS Location

30°14’38.37” X84°13’14.35”

S-T-R Location

S line Sec 3, N line Sec 10, 3S, 1E


200 yd SE of residence 91 Culbreth Ln.

A densely wooded plot spared among pine plantings about one-and-one-half mile northeast of Wakulla Station represents the Mays Cemetery indicated on the county highway map and the USGS topographic map. The plot holds dozens of gravestones, some as much as two or two-and-one-half feet high, and yet more depressions that may represent graves. A plot of 1.458 acre was surveyed in 1976 and deeded to New Mt. Zion Baptist Church as the cemetery — or that part of the cemetery lying in Section 3 (the cemetery may extend south into Section 10 where no dedication has been made). The deeded rectangle runs nearly 380 feet north-and-south, and 167 feet east-and-west. Depressions are seen throughout an area that seems to be several hundred feet in the north-south dimension. There is one low rock cairn that may mark a grave.

A fence and gates for the deeded plot have been largely destroyed by vandalism. One gravestone inscription noticed in hasty observation shows a year-of-death as recent as 1965. However, the local resident serving as guide has seen funeral processions coming here, unmistakably, more than once in the 16 years he has now lived in the vicinity. And Rev. Flavous Green says that he has officiated at burials perhaps as recently as 15 years ago at a place for which he gives directions (southward off Savannah Rd via a dirt road) well fitting this location. A 1990's graves registry by Frances Council, covering this among several Wakulla County cemeteries, lists two graves made as recently as 1980 here, implying that there are tombstones for the two.

Access to the cemetery was formerly by the Danley Grade running north off S-267. However, the last one-third mile or more of this accessway has been altered by pine plantings and is no longer passable for automobiles (though it evidently has been passable in the last 16 years, as given above). Access is more convenient from Culbreth Lane on the north. There may be no dedicated access except what may be implicit in the deed mentioned above.

Ava Culbreth Wilson of Culbreth Lane has long known the graveyard. It lies 200 yards from her home and is encompassed in her landholdings; she is the party who deeded the plot to the church. Mrs. Wilson has always known the site as the Kirkland Cemetery; it lies in the old Kirkland landholding. She has never known it by another name. Locating directions for the Kirkland Cemetery given in the 1940-41 veterans' graves registration do very well fit this location; that no Mays (or May) Cemetery was listed in that registration further increases the likelihood that this is the cemetery listed there as Kirkland (instead of Mays, the name by which others know it and which the cartographers accepted). The 1965 Tallahassee Democrat obituary for a woman whose tombstone is here, and evidently represents one of the most recent burials, called the site Wakulla Cemetery.

Mrs. Wilson supposes that some of the Kirkland family's graves may be in the plot, although all burials there in many decades now may have been of African-American families and not of Kirkland descendants.

A cemetery list prepared more than ten years ago by a funeral home listed a Kirkman Cemetery, giving no location but listing Bob Manning as sexton for the site. Bob Manning has since died, but his son Jesse Manning of Crawfordville says that he helped his father look out for that African-American cemetery at Wakulla, preparing graves from time to time (Bob Manning's grave is now there). And he says it is called not Kirkman but Kirkland, and that the access, now cut off, was via the Danley Grade. This information from Jesse Manning well identifies that Kirkman listing as none other than the Kirkland Cemetery (or Mays Cemetery according to the maps) at Wakulla. And Mr. Manning, like Ms. Wilson, has not known of the name Mays (or May) being used for this cemetery.

Whether the name Mays refers to, and is a slight corruption of, the surname of the May family formerly at Wakulla is not known. Information presented in the report for the Stewart Cemetery may be relevant; a graveyard of the Mays is reported to be very near, if not identifiable with, the Stewart Cemetery 1/2 to 5/8 mile east of this site of the Kirkland Cemetery.

Site File 8Wa684 established in 2000 in the State of Florida Division of Historical Resources concerns this cemetery, in part, but evidently by mistake. The file is at present an unfortunate confusion of this site and another graveyard 2½ or 3 miles south-southwest that shows on the maps as Cates cemetery. The form submittal names the Mays Cemetery and some of the maps clearly are this site, but other maps and most data appear to concern the other site. The submittal was by Arimentha Harris, who seems to acknowledge that the matter may have gotten confused. See more information in the report for Chaires or Cates Cemetery.

Date of site report narrative - January 2002

Surveyed by members of the WCHS, September 2007

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