1850 Manatee Burying Ground

Tombstone Tours promo photo MBG with col

Manatee Village Historical Park works in partnership with the City of Bradenton to offer free self-guided walking tours of the 1850 Manatee Burying Ground. The Burying Ground is located East of Manatee Village Historical Park (across 15th St East). This is the oldest established cemetery in Manatee County.  

 

Pick up a key to the cemetery and an information packet in our Wiggins Store. Visitors will stroll past the entrance of our 1887 Church and use the gates that lead to the Burying Ground. The 1850 Manatee Burying Ground must be locked and the key returned before it is time for visitors to leave museum grounds.

 
 

History 

The Old Manatee Burying Ground is one of the oldest organized cemeteries on the gulf coast of Florida. The land was deeded on May 30, 1850, by Josiah and Mary M. Gates. It was the first public graveyard in the area and took new burials until 1892. At that time it was closed to all but immediate family members of persons already buried there. The property is now owned and maintained by the City of Bradenton.

 

The cemetery was only two months old when it received its first resident. Henry S. Clark, an early settler and merchant trader who died on July 27, 1850, during a trip to his home town of Canton, New York. His headstone can be seen here today. Over time, a cedar tree grew up encasing the stone. It has since been removed and the stone set into the ground for preservation purposes.

During the burying grounds active period, veterans from conflicts effecting local and national history were buried here. There are eleven Confederate, three Union and one Seminole war veterans. Three members of the Florida Secession convention, including the convention’s first president, also rest here.

There are ninety-eight known graves in the Manatee Burying Ground. The graves span from 1849 to 1967. Although time and weather have destroyed many of the markers and inscriptions, the memory of these determined and resourceful settlers live on. Many endured wars, hostile natives, and epidemics to secure a home for their families and future generations.