Prior to the construction of Greenwood Cemetery, there was no set burial grounds in Orlando. This unfortunately led to missing burial records for individuals buried before land at Greenwood was set aside for use as a cemetery. Greenwood Cemetery is Orlando’s oldest cemetery and is also the final resting place for many important Orlando residents including Braxton Beacham, Carey Hand, Joe Tinker and William Beardall.
Founding Orlando’s First Cemetery
Up until the 1880s, there was no set cemetery in Orlando. Those who died in Orlando were buried in other locations; either in family plots or other small cemeteries.
Greenwood Cemetery was established in the 1880s, after a group of Orlando residents (Cassius A. Boone, I. P. Wescott, James K. Duke, J. H. Livingston, Nathaniel Poyntz, William R. Anno, James Delaney and Samuel A. Robinson), known as the Orlando Cemetery Company, purchased twenty-six acres of land from John W. Anderson. The land was purchased for $1800, and its original name was the Orlando Cemetery.
City of Orlando Takes Responsibility for Orlando Cemetery
In 1891, the Orlando Cemetery suffered a fire, which resulted in the loss of many grave sites with wooden headstones. The following year, control of the cemetery was taken over by the City of Orlando. By 1915, it was renamed Greenwood Cemetery.
When the City of Orlando took over the responsibilities for Greenwood Cemetery, many of those who died before and buried in other locations were exhumed and re-interred at Greenwood. These older graves were re-interred in the H section.
Though the cemetery was originally only twenty-six acres, the City of Orlando has expanded the cemetery multiple times to suit the growing Orlando population. Currently the cemetery is ninety-two acres, an amount which does not include the eighteen and a half acres that is the Greenwood Wetlands Park.
Famous Orlando Residents at Greenwood
Due to internment restrictions at Greenwood limiting resting places only to Orlando residents or those who are related by blood or marriage to someone buried at Greenwood (unless requirements are met for burial in the American Legion or veterans section); the cemetery is the final resting place of many important Orlando residents.
Some of the notable Orlando residents include:
Cassius A. Boone, Orlando Mayor (1882 – 1883)
Mahlon Gore, Orlando Mayor (1893 – 1896)
Capt. James B. Parramore, Orlando Mayor (1896 – 1902)
Braxton Beacham, Orlando Mayor (1906 – 1907), founder of the Beacham Theatre
T. G. Lee, founder of T. G. Lee Dairy
Dr. William Beardall, lawyer and Orlando Mayor (1941 – 1953)
Joseph Bumby, patriarch of one of the first Orlando families, founder of Bumby Hardware
Edgar Richards, Orlando’s first undertaker
Carey Hand, founder of Carey Hand Funeral Home
Joe Tinker, National Baseball Hall of Famer who played for the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs
Greenwood Cemetery also is the final resting place for many veterans, including those of the Civil War and Spanish American War.
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