St. Johns Panel Compiles List of Historic Cemeteries

Article excerpt

Byline: Drew Dixon, Shorelines staff writer

The St. Johns County Historic Resources Review Board has identified a list of dozens of historically significant cemeteries, four of which are in the Ponte Vedra Beach area.

Marsha Chance, a senior archaeologist for the county, provided the list of 46 cemeteries to the County Commission Wednesday. The surveys of the different cemeteries were started in 2001 and the final compilation was made public this week.

The Review Board suggests the county "identify the historical significance of cemetery properties throughout the county," according to the report delivered by Chance. The report also recommended historical markers at many of the sites.

The historical cemeteries are scattered throughout the county, including in St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city.

In the Ponte Vedra Beach area, the Ponte Vedra Valley Cemetery and DeGrove Family Cemetery are both just west of Palm Valley Road near Canal Road and are considered historically significant, Chance said. The Booth Cemetery in South Ponte Vedra Beach and the Sanchez American Indian burial mound just north of Vilano Beach and west of Florida A1A are also on the list.

Chance said family and community cemeteries are important to the heritage of the area because they show how the founders lived and treated people who died in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Sanchez mound is considered "pre-historic" because it involves American Indians, yet deserves just as much historical attention, Chance said. …