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Photo of Rose Cemetery
Rose Hill Cemetery can be found in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
The coordinates are 28.14835, -82.73399.

Rose Cemetery is considered to be Pinellas county's oldest African-American graveyard and is the final resting place for many of Florida's unsung African-American historical figures such as: Confederate Soldier Richard Quarls aka Christopher Columbus and civil rights activist and community leader Edward Dorsett just to name a few.

Rose is rich with the culture and traditions handed down throughout the years by family members. This can be seen as you walk through the cemetery in the older section. Some of the inhabitants are of Bahamian descent, their graves have been marked with conch shells to signify who they were..
The cemetery began sometime before the earliest marked grave of 1904 on a small plot of land known as Rose Hill. At that time the land was owned by the Lake Butler Villa Company. The piece of property had been used by people in the black community to bury their loved ones since the settlers first came to the area during the 1870's. It was the only place they had even though not even a hundred yards away lay Cycadia, the city's cemetery. During that time it was social policy to segregate black burials from white burials.

On November 22, 1916 Rose Hill became an incorporated cemetery. The community citizens board was granted a ninety-nine years lease on the piece of property becoming the Rose Hill Cemetery Association. One year later the association was deeded the land. The original board members consisted of five women Florence White, who is buried at the cemetery, Mahala B. Jones, Susie Holman, Matilda D. Castro and Mahala Perry.

Throughout the years the cemeteries population had grown. In the late 1940's the Rose Hill Association petitioned the State of Florida and the City of Tarpon Springs for the land surrounding the graveyard. On January 18, 1949 the trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund of the State of Florida Grantor, deeded to Rose Hill Cemetery sections of the surrounding property owned by the state. The deed was signed and dated March 2, 1949, by Governor, Fuller Warren. Then, on February 12, 1953 the city of Tarpon Springs deeded to the Rose Hill Cemetery Association the rest of the surrounding land which completed the five acres that the cemetery rests on today. The deed was signed by then mayor, Fred Howard.

In 1978 a young attorney by the name of Hilbert Elliot, offered his assistance in setting up Rose Hill Cemetery as a non profit organization. On September 5, 1979 at Mount Moriah church the second board of directors was formed. The members were Edward Dorsett, Samuel Davis, Iola Brown, Joesph Copeland, Malachi Fields, Essie Mae Williams, Mamie Singleton, Kate Tallie and Doris Dabbs.

On September 11, 1979 Rose Hill Cemetery became the Rose Cemetery Association Inc., and Articles of Incorporation were filed with the state. Soon after bi-laws were formed and a trustees deed was filed in 1982.

In 2003 Rose Cemetery became a state recognized Historical Heritage Landmark and a Florida historical marker was placed on-site.

Under the guidance of the current board led by president, Alfred Quarterman, with the assistance of city correctional personnel, and local/private organizations such as Channel 10 news, the Tampa Bay Times, PBS, the Suncoast News, the Tarpon Springs Historical Society, and the Tarpon Paranormal Research Society some restoration has taken place and is continuing.

Just in the past year the cemetery association has filed with the state and the U.S. Government to recognize the historical content and contribution of the cemetery. The association's ultimate goal is to be placed onto the National Historic Register in order to preserve and protect a vital part of Tarpon Springs history. ---Denise Roane

Added by: SixDogTeam

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