James Vanderipe settled on the Braden River with his wife Nancy (née Hancock) and five children in the early 1840s. After a few years, James left for Kentucky and disappeared. Nancy moved to Key West after his disappearance where she met and married James Cunliffe, an English blacksmith and wheelwright. Around 1854 they returned to Manatee. Nancy ran a ferry service for travelers going to or from Pine Level (the county seat from 1866-1887) and kept a room available for those who needed to stay overnight. She also donated the brass bell to the Manatee Academy in the 1870s.
One of the Vanderipe sons, William H., became a jack of all trades. He was a leading merchant, a citrus grower, a store owner, a founder and president of the Bank of Manatee, as well as a county commissioner. During his time in office he was known for being economical. He married Eliza Burts and had six children, including James W. and Lewis H.
Another son, James C. Vanderipe, became an inspector of cattle marks and brands for the Myakka area. During the Civil War, he helped chorale livestock to feed the Confederate Army. During Christmas 1862 he married Flora Ellen McLeod at Gamble Plantation, the party that followed is detailed as having a variety of food and much dancing. They had four children including William A. Flora died in 1871 and was buried in the Vanderipe Cemetery along the Braden River (this cemetery has been destroyed and is now a subdivision).
He then married Sarah Lee, daughter of pioneer Reverend Edmund Lee, in 1872. They had three children together. Sarah died in August 1878, around the same time that their son, Frankie Vanderipe, was born. Sarah was buried in the Lee Family Cemetery. Rev. Edmund Lee disliked Vanderipe so much that a year later, when James C. died, Lee refused to let him be buried next to his wife. It is theorized that he and Rev. Lee argued frequently and Lee disliked James because he made “bad debts”, however the full extent of reasoning for their animosity is unknown. Instead of allowing James to be buried with his wife, he was buried across the street from the Lee Family Cemetery in what is known as the “Lonesome Grave” or “Lone Grave” (present day 17th Street East in Bradenton).
Left to Right (Top Row):
James W Vanderipe - Grave #19
William A Vanderipe - Grave #31
Lewis Vanderipe 2022 - Grave #32
Nancy Cunliffe 2022 - Grave #33
Left to Right (Bottom Row)
Frankie Vanderipe 2022 - Grave #34
All images taken by MVHP staff in 2022 unless otherwise noted.