A very scenic place to explore in Marion County is Indian Lake State Forest. I began hiking there a few years ago and have also enjoyed learning about the history of the area as well. I visited an old cemetery out there known as Indian Lake Cemetery. It is a peaceful place in the middle of the forest and a reminder of the past. Near the gate is kiosk with a map and some history behind the cemetery. I really liked seeing that, this way others that visit this place will have a better sense of the history here.
“Before Ocala and Silver Springs were developed, there were Indians that lived in this area. The Indians loved the lake and the area around it. They held their Pow-wows near the lake and their children loved to swim in the warm waters of Indian Lake. The Indians held sacred rites for their dead and buried them in sacred areas throughout the forest. Later American settlers moved into the area and forced out the Indians. The settlers, who like the Indians, loved Indian lake and the surrounding area. Around 1845 the settlers built a small whitewashed church near the lake and around 1851 they established this small cemetery. This cemetery includes some veterans from the war of 1812 and Civil War as well as some of the first settlers in the area.”
I explored around the cemetery looking at all the tombstones some were harder to read than others. It was nice to see the place maintained though despite some of the tombstones not being in the best of condition. Most of the dates are in the 1800’s and it makes you wonder what this place was like back then. The area may have looked completely different. The church that once existed by Indian Lake burnt down but at least we still have this cemetery as a reminder of history.
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