Tolomato Cemetery

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Material Information

Title:
Tolomato Cemetery
Series Title:
Tolomato Cemetery
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Creator:
Coomes, Charles S
Publisher:
Saint Augustine Historical Society
Physical Location:
Box: 1SW6
Divider: Cemeteries + Burials
Folder: Cemeteries + Burials

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Saint Augustine (Fla.)
14 Cordova Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Tolomato Cemetery, (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID:
USACH00002:00008

Full Text

Saint Augustine Historical Society
TOLOMATO CEMETERY --

Early in the eighteenth century Tolomato Cemetery was the site of
a small Indian village. A 1737 map drawn by Spanish engineer Don Anto-
nio Arredondo describes the Indian "Church and Village of Tolomato,
14 men and 33 women and children." Church records.for the years prior
to the year 1763 include the names of Indians buried in the Village of
Tol'omato. Father Miguel O'Reilly wrote, on June 8, 1799, that "from
time immemorial" it was used as a place to bury the dead. When Spain
transferred Florida to England in 1763, the Indians left with the
Spaniards.
During the British period (1763-84) Tolomato was neglected. The
Naturalist John Bartram, who travelled through Florida in 1765-66,
wrote that the wooden church of Tolomato had been torn down by the
British soldiers for firewood, but that the four-story coquina-stone
bell tower was still standing. (This stone was later used in the
construction of the present Catholic cathedral in 1793-97).

In 1777 some 600 survivors of the ill-fated Minorcan settlement
at New Smyrna came to St. Augustine with their pastor, Pedro Camps.
Father Camps obtained permission from the British Governor, Patrick
Tonyn, to use the site of the former .Indian village and cemetery as
a public cemetery for the Catholic Minorcans.
The earliest available church records of burials in Tolomato
during the second .Spanish period (1784-1821) begin with that of
Gertrudis Pons Paceti, wife of Andres Paceti, who died October 6,
1784 and was buried the next day. Burials continued without.
interruption until July 1, 1884, when all burials in the City were
prohibited. There were, however, two later burials, those of Catalina
Usina Llambias, who died February 22, 1886, and Robert P. Sabate, who
died January 11, 1892. In each case the City levied a fine of $25.00
and costs.

The mortuary chapel was built by Cuban admirers of Father Felix
Francisco Varela y Morales, (1788-1853), a Cuban member of the Spanish
Cortes. Because of his strong advocacy of Cuban rights he was banished
from Spain and its possessions. He left Cuba and removed to New York,
where he became a parish priest and vicar-general of the Diocese. As
a boy he had spent eight years in St. Augustine, and he frequently
visited the city during his thirty years in New York. He retired in
poor health to St. Augustine in 1850, and died there in 1853.

Augustine Verot, the first Bishop of St. Augustine, died June 10,
1876. Father P. Dufau wrote that "It was expected that his remains
could be kept...but the ceremony of his burial could be delayed no
longer than...June 12th." Following a hastily improvised service at
Tolomato Cemetery he was buried in the mortuary chapel vault. The
bones of Father Varela were gathered up and put in a pillow case at
one end of the casket. Years later, in 1911, Father Varela's remains
were removed by Cuban patriots to a shrine in Havana.
For some time many..had wondered if the bones taken to Cuba might
have been those of Bishop Verot. Accordingly, in June 1975, the
vault and casket were opened in the presence of Bishop Paul F. Tanner
and other official witnesses. There, for all to see, were the re-
markably preserved remains of Bishop Verot, garbed in his episcopal
vestments -- ninety-nine years after his death!


Charles S. Coomes


July 22, 1984




Full Text

Saint Augustine Historical Society
TOLOMATO CEMETERY -Early in the eighteenth century Tolomato Cemetery was the site of a small Indian village. A 1737 map drawn by Spanish engineer Don Antonio Arredondo describes the Indian "Church and Village of Tolomato, 14 men and 33 women and children." Church records .for the years prior to the year 1763 include the names of Indians buried in the Village of Toliomato. Father Miguel O'Reilly wrote, on June 8, 1799, that "from time immemorial" it was used as a place to bury the dead. When Spain transferred Florida to England in 1763, the Indians left with the Spaniards.

During the British period (1763-84) Tolomato was neglected. The Naturalist John Bartram, who travelled through Florida in 1765-66, wrote that the wooden church of Tolomato had been torn down by the British soldiers for firewood, but that the four-story coquina-stone bell tower was still standing. (This stone was later used in the construction of the present Catholic cathedral in 1793-97).

In 1777 some 600 survivors of the ill-fated Minorcan settlement at New Smyrna came to St. Augustine with their pastor, Pedro Camps. Father Camps obtained permission from the British Governor, Patrick Tonyn, to use the site of the former .Indian village and cemetery as a public cemetery for the Catholic Minorcans.
The earliest available church records of burials in Tolomato during the second.Spanish period (1784-1821) begin with that of Gertrudis Pons Paceti, wife of Andres Paceti, who died October 6, 1784 and was buried the next day. Burials continued without. interruption until July 1, 1884, when all burials in the City were prohibited. There were, however, two later burials, those of Catalina Usina Llambias, who died February 22, 1886, and Robert P. Sabate, who died January 11, 1892. In each case the City levied a fine of $25.00 and costs.

The mortuary chapel was built by Cuban admirers of Father Felix
Francisco Varela y Morales, (1788-1853), a Cuban member of the'Spanish Cortes. Because of his strong advocacy of Cuban rights he was banished from Spain and 'its possessions. He left Cuba and removed to New York, where he became a parish priest and vicar-general of the Diocese. As a boy he had spent eight years in St. Augustine, and he frequently visited the city during his thirty years in New York. He retired in poor health to St. Augustine in 1850, and died there in 1853.

Augustine Verot, the first Bishop of St. Augustine, died June 10, 1876. Father P. Dufau wrote that "It was expected that his remains could be kept...but the ceremony of his burial could be delayed no longer than...June 12th." Following a hastily improvised service at Tolomato Cemetery he was buried in the mortuary chapel vault. The bones of Father Varela were gathered up and put in a pillow case at one end of the casket. Years later, in 1911, Father.Varela's remains were removed by Cuban patriots to a shrine in Havana.

For some time many. had wondered if the bones taken to Cuba might have been those of Bishop Verot. Accordingly, in June 1975, the vault and casket were opened in the presence of Bishop Paul F. Tanner and other official withesses-. There, for all to see, were the remarkably preserved remains of Bishop Verot, garbed in his episcopal. vestments -- ninety-nine years after his death!
July 22, 1984 Charles S. Coomes