Located in the old community of Ehren in Pasco County is a historical site known as the Mount Carmel Church and Cemetery. The Mount Carmel African methodist Episcopal Church was a wooden structure and the cemetery was nearby. One of the early pastors was Reverend Christopher C. Marshall, followed in later years by Reverend Byrel Dawkins. Sometime after the Great Depression the congregation folded and members joined other local churches.
The cemetery may have up to forty unmarked graves, the date of the first burial is unknown. This cemetery could possibly date back to the mid-1800’s, the first marked grave is 1903 and the latest marked grave is 1954. A few of the tombstones still remain but aren’t in good condition however the site does seem to be maintained. In 2006, the Pasco County Black Caucus, in corporation with the Pasco County Board of County Commissioners and other concerned individuals, initiated efforts to provide recognition and perpetual care of this site.
The Ehren Pine Company sawmill employed a large number of local African Americans. Many of them lived in company housing, others worked in agriculture and for the railroad. After the sawmill burned in 1920, many residents moved away. Some residents remained and worked in Drexel and Odessa and other nearby communities.
While exploring in Twin Rivers State Forest located in Madison County, I found this old cemetery that dates back to the late 1800’s. The cemetery is known as The Stroud Cemetery and there are seventeen listed burials here.
So far the information I have learned is that the Strouds were early settlers in Madison County. The cemetery though contains several family names and it is possible that these families also lived in the area. One name in particular is Sullivan and I found a family relative that told me the Sullivans married into the Stroud family. There was a Stroud-Sullivan homestead as well.
Like other older cemeteries around Florida this one has several infant graves which is always sad to see. You have to understand that life back in those times was harder and many children didn’t survive. I learned that in many cases children wouldn’t even be given a name until they made it past of the age of two. Which is why at some of these gravesites you may see unmarked graves that just read “Infant”. I am not sure of the exact reasons but most likely may have been from disease or sickness.
Today the cemetery seems maintained to a certain degree, sadly many of the tombstones are eroding away or have been damaged. There is a fence and nice sign at the entrance and is a nice reminder of history to see in this forest.