In Sumter County is an old cemetery from the 1800’s known as Rutland Cemetery. I have driven by it many times on my way in to hike at Half Moon Wildlife Management Area but never took the time to see it. This time I decided to finally go inside and check it out.
Rutland Cemetery was founded by Robert Wilson Rutland and was the founder of the Rutland Community. He was born in New Hanover County, N.C. IN 1815. Following the Second Seminole Indian War (1850) he explored this area of Florida and returned to North Carolina to collect his family and move them South in 1857. They came by steamboat to Silver Springs and then overland to the Withlacoochee River area, later to be known as Rutland.
There is a concrete wall towards the back where I could see most of the tombstones were inside of. I also noticed that there were a few tombstones placed outside of the wall as well. It is my understanding that people buried outside the walls were typically suicides. They wanted them close by, but they couldn’t be buried on “sacred ground”. Whether or not this is true or not I am not sure of though. But something I have heard from other people.
I really enjoyed learning about the history and exploring around this area just some of the interesting history in Sumter County you can experience.