CAPTAIN EDWIN SMITH’S GRAVE
Courtesy of Charlotte Brubaker Johns and John Brown
Is located at Federal Point on Parcel #37-09-27-0000-0340-0000,
owned by Virginia Atkinson in what is commonly known as the “Captain’s Field”
on the south side of Commercial Avenue, across from the home of Donald Sweat
under some trees. See Ben or Sharon
The older residents of the area say that Captain Smith did not want to be buried below ground, but above ground in a hollow log. They say this is how he was buried. N 29o 45.152 W 81o 32.333. Appears to be on the RIVERDALE QUAD, close to the adjoining HASTINGS QUAD. (Neglected).
From Memories of Florida, an unpublished manuscript, by E. Stuart Hubbard, comes the following reminiscence:
“One of the earliest settlers at Federal Point after the Civil War was Captain Edwin Smith.
“We knew him, when little children, as a
tall, slender bachelor with a long, slim, white Pharaoh beard. He lived in a large building, which he built
near the wharf on
“The title, ‘Captain’, was earned when he
was a captain of sailing ships. He
also, formerly ran a ship chandler’s shop in
“When I grew big enough, my mother would send me down, occasionally, with a covered dish of hot dinner. I would knock on the door and hear a chair pushed back and his footsteps come towards me along the hall, echoing on the bare, plaster walls. Then the key would turn in the lock, the door would open, and Captain Smith would give me a cordial, courteous greeting and take the proffered covered dish, place it on the table of his front room office, open his iron safe, take out a cigar box and give me a nickel, a dime or, on Christmas, a quarter all the while humming a themeless tune. My mother objected to his “paying” from his scanty funds as the ‘95 freeze had frozen his precious orange trees to the ground and his strawberries and garden truck were his only source of income.
“Captain Smith practiced organic gardening as fully as possible. Besides the rank growth of weeds and grass he worked into the ground and used as mulch, he secured all the cow and horse manure he could get. His main source of manure was the droppings, which littered the street where the local milk cows and the woods cows pastured, and where the saddle horses, buggy horses and the horse and mule teams traveled or were tied near the store.
“Each morning and Captain Smith pushed his wheelbarrow gathering, with his shovel, the manna-like fertility scorned by the faddists of the new fertilizer era. His land was fertile. His crops flourished...”
“During church service, Captain Smith provided interest for us, children, during long sermons, by using a leafy switch, which he gathered along the way, to shoo away the flies which alighted on his bald head during the service. The hungry gallinipper mosquito would call for a louder, more vicious swish, to our great pleasure...”
“When Captain Smith died, he left the hotel to my father and his grove to the church. He stipulated in his will that he should be buried in a certain spot in his grove and provided money for a modest monument. A mound of soil, four feet high, eight feet wide and ten feet long, crowned with the stone is always to remain as his resting place, whoever may own the land…”
“And, so passes the memory of an interesting character, a sturdy individual, a pioneer who wove some of his independence, his adventurous initiative, his quiet, religious faith into the pattern of our family. May he rest in peace.”
[Captain Smith was the author’s paternal
great-uncle. Mary E. Murphy-Hoffmann,
Unfortunately, the hotel referred to in the article burned on May 7, 2002. Thanks. MEM-H
Many thanks to
for this map. He loves cemeteries and their history also.
Last updated 6/27/2005