Oliver (Medart)

Oliver Cemetery

Cemetery = Oliver Cemetery (or a Cemetery Two-and-One-Half-Miles East of Medart in the Center of Lot 83, Hartsfield Survey)

Vicinity = Medart NE

Status = abandoned

Community = white, both?

GPS Location

30°6’51.49” X84°20’47.52”

S-T-R Location

near ctr HS Lot 83


200 yd W of Edgar Poole Rd.

A small wooded plot discernible on aerial photos and lying very nearly in the center of Lot 83, Hartsfield Survey, holds one or more inscribed gravestones. This site lying a little W of the graded Edgar Poole Rd. may correspond to an "Oliver Cemetery" listed, with locating directions, in the 1940-41 veterans' grave registration for Wakulla County. The soil survey aerial of 1984 shows the plot lying in the extreme NE corner of the SW1/4 of Lot 83 - perhaps touching within 50 yards of the center of the Lot.

A broken gravestone, or possibly a small heap of pieces from different stones, has two pieces, at least, with worded inscriptions and another with artistic floral designs. One inscribed piece is the top part of a smartly pointed stone with the inscription Wm - H Walker just legible. The other worded piece is illegible on casual inspection. The single GPS fix tabulated elsewhere herein for the site is the position of this stone or stones. The owner of the property (and some 180 acres of pine plantings surrounding), Dr. Katherine B. Hoffman, who has held it for some 30 years, says that there was also another legibly inscribed gravestone in the plot as recently as several years back - one that seems to have disappeared somehow. By the inscription that one memorialized someone of the surname Byrd.

The preserved wooded plot, whose size could be indicative of the area possibly occupied by other graves, is about 60 yards long in the N-S dimension and as much as 40 yards in the transverse (E-W) dimension. Its NE corner, very near the center of Lot 83, is marked presently by two post oaks that stand N-S of each other and some seven yards apart, the southerly of them 24 inches or a little more in trunk diameter and the other a little less. The gravestones just described are about 20 yards SSW of the southerly of these two trees. The partial canopy highest over the plot contains some more post oaks but is mainly laurel oaks, with one or two medium mockernut hickories. Post oaks of medium size stand along the south edge. A thick undergrowth of yaupon covers the plot. The four corners of the plot are approximately at coordinates:

30°6.877' by 84°20.775'        30°6.845' by 84°20.799' 30°6.854' by 84°20.781'    30°6.878' by 84°20.814'

- and a concavity of the east edge comes in to 30°6.881' by 84°20.787'.

If there are surface indications of any other graves about in the plot, such as depressions, they are not conspicuous. One or more stray bricks lie in the leaf mold. The landowner says previous owner Jack Crum had livestock ranging over the graveyard plot; the animals could have obliterated some of the evidence of graves. Gary Crum, a nearby landholder and son of that previous owner now deceased, well recalls seeing some five or six gravestones in the plot. He says one was the stone of Robert Byrd, also mentioned above, and that it stood a foot or two in height.

Although the history of the site and surrounding community is beyond the scope here, a little information possibly pertinent is in hand. In the 1850 census the household of William H. and Eliza Walker (b. ca. 1800 and 1807, respectively) was neighbor to that of Robert and Sarah L. Byrd in the Shell Point district. Whether one or both of those men owned this land in which their graves were made has not been researched (Magnolia Monthly in November 1966 reported that William H. Walker was by the time of the 1840 census already in the territory that would become Wakulla County, with a family of five and 14 slaves. That household and farm could have been then where it would remain at the time of the 1850 census). But Gary Crum says that the homestead of Robert Byrd, where a water well remained long after Byrd, was near the plot holding the graves. He reports, though, that all this passed to his father after other owners had had their places also in a chain of title. An owner ahead of Jack Crum (and Dr. Hoffman) was a Mr. Oliver; Gary's present home in a part of the tract sits on what is known as Oliver Hill.

Dr. Hoffman was told by Jack Crum that some 16 persons struck down in a short time by some virulent disease were interred at this site. They were, Mr. Crum told her, from some group that had come from Alabama and that soon moved back northward. While Gary Crum doesn't recall hearing anything of those particulars, he recalls hearing that fevers killed a good many children buried in this graveyard.

Gary Crum says it is his understanding that there was an Oliver graveyard, separate from the subject graveyard, someplace on the Oliver property but now lost. Apparently, no published map shows a cemetery anyplace in this vicinity (perhaps only a minority of the County's cemeteries show on maps). However, the Oliver Cemetery designated Plat No. 69 in the 1940-41 veterans' grave registration - one of two Oliver Cemeteries listed for the County in the registration (the other at Wakulla) - is there listed as lying in the "west side of Lot # 83, Hartsfield Survey" and "600 feet west of road". Both data fit the location of the subject cemetery, and thus it is very inviting to suppose that it is none other than the Oliver Cemetery recorded in 1940-41, but the information from Gary Crum about a lost Oliver graveyard in the area may conflict. Three possibilities are:

(1) The subject cemetery is the one recorded correctly in the 1940-41 veterans survey as the Oliver Cemetery, and Gary Crum is mistaken about a lost Oliver Cemetery elsewhere in the old Oliver tract; (2) the subject cemetery is the one recorded in the veterans survey but there given the name Oliver by mistake, the true Oliver Cemetery - the one reported by Gary Crum - being elsewhere in the vicinity (and now lost); and (3) the subject cemetery is not the one recorded in the veterans survey, the latter being a graveyard of the Olivers - now lost - at another location also coincidentally about 600 feet west of the road in Lot 83.

There could be other possible resolutions. But since the veterans survey shows no veterans interred in the cemetery it recorded (the project evidently sought to locate and check all cemeteries in the County), it is not possible to resolve anything here by a gravestone inscription.

For further locating reference, the plot lies perhaps 150-175 yards due W of a point on Edgar Poole Rd. 50 yards N of the curve just SE of the center of Lot 83. The plot also lies about 130 yards due S of a small excavated pond near the center of Lot 83. A mowed drive leaving Edgar Poole Rd. at a gate about 1/8 mile N of the curve mentioned goes nearly due W and after 250 yards reaches, near that pond, a fireline and fenceline that's nearly N-S. A little more than 100 yards S this fence line reaches and starts to skirt the W edge of the old graveyard plot.

Date of site report narrative - October 2001

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