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Trilby Colored Cemetery Resource Page
Survey of the Cemetery: http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/fl/pasco/cemetery/trilby2.txt
August 2007 -- Jeff Cannon's article on the Trilby Colored Cemetery.
Sep 17, 2004
Cemetery Speaks To Historian
By CAROL JEFFARES
TRILBY - They lived separately in the days of segregation.
White people used
restrooms labeled ``white women'' and ``white men,'' and black people shared
facilities designated ``colored.''
fountains, restaurants, movie theaters - every aspect of life was separate
between blacks and whites in the days of segregation. Even in death, the two
were kept apart.
Today, nestled in a
wooded area off a narrow, grassy path in the east Pasco community of Trilby, is
a reminder of those days. There, in a small plot of land, many blacks of the
area found their final resting places.
The cemetery is known
only as Trilby Colored Cemetery, according to Scott Black, a Dade City
commissioner and businessman who grew up in Trilby.
Black has been
interested in the history of his hometown since middle school when he won a
countywide bicentennial essay contest by writing about the history of Trilby.
Since then, he has collected information about Trilby, including the cemetery.
Its name is found in
Coleman and Ferguson Funeral Home records and is commonly spoken, he said.
Black was called upon
to survey the cemetery after stumbling upon the Web site ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/fl.
The site is a volunteer effort to document cemeteries throughout the country.
Black, along with his
wife, Laura, and veteran cemetery surveyor Elaine Wyckoff examined the cemetery
The exact date the
cemetery was established is unknown, Black said. But by perusing Coleman and
Ferguson Funeral Home's records, Black determined it dates to before the 1920s.
Some burials appear to be in partnership with Jim Rowe Harper, a black
undertaker in Dade City at the time.
Unfortunately, none of
the early burials is marked today, Black said. Many graves only have temporary
metal markers, and quite a few are unreadable. Some markers are from Milton
Funeral Home, and several are from the former Evans Funeral Home. Few are
legible ``paper behind glass'' metal markers from Harper's Funeral Home.
There are 124 graves
that remain marked, including that of Alvergin A. Crowe, born Dec. 9, 1941. He
died Dec. 31, 2003.
The oldest grave that
remains marked dates to 1918 and is that of Willie Griffin, born in 1903. The
grave holds a headstone shared with his wife, Willie Mae Griffin, born in 1903
and died in 1925.
Some of the graves are
unmarked slabs and headstones that once held some type of identification. Some
that are marked have no dates for the deceased, including John Padrick's, which
reads ``Indian Chief, Buffalo Head.''
Another reads ``From
friends of Pasco Packing Co.'' and marks the grave of Gussie Robinson, born in
1902 and died in 1962.
Many graves of veterans
are marked with sentiments such as ``Our Darling,'' ``Gone to Rest'' and ``Our
Black also found in
Coleman and Ferguson Funeral Home records others buried in Trilby, including Joe
Adams, who died March 4, 1927, and was ``almost 100 years.'' Most of the funeral
home's records contain approximate ages because birth dates were not not always
``Sadly, the old Dade
City Banners only in the rarest of occasions would mention a passing in the
black community,'' Black said.
The Banner did report
on the death of Edgar Donaldson, an employee of the railroad, who drowned in the
Withlacoochee River in March 1923. Another article reports the death of ``Aunt
Lucy Green,'' a former slave who died in February 1924 at ``about'' 100 years
Also buried there,
according to a Banner article, is Howard Will, who was shot and killed by his
wife, Annie, on May 27, 1935. George Lark also was shot, but by a Pasco County
sheriff's deputy in December 1925.
Will Leak was lynched
at Trilby on Aug. 6, 1915, after being accused of attempted rape. And Lyman
Smith, who died April 5, 1935, was killed by a train near the Chipco crossing.
Black, concerned about
the deterioration of the cemetery, is trying to organize family members of those
buried there to help with upkeep.
He also has given a
tour of the cemetery to Toni Carrier, director of the University of South
Florida Africana Heritage Project, who offered to help.