Historic Markers Across Florida

Old Memphis Cemetery

Marker ID: FLHM F-787
Location: on 25th St W at 2nd Ave W., Palmetto, FL
County: Manatee
Coordinates: N 27° 32.137    W 082° 33.882
  27.53561666    -82.5647
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMTRFB


Old Memphis Cemetery

Palmetto's historic Memphis neighborhood was originally plotted in 1904 by Robert F. Willis who sold lots to “a number of very desirable people" who built homes in what he named the “Town of Memphis" after his hometown in Tennessee. In 1911, Willis sold a section of the neighborhood between 2nd and 4th avenues to Isaac E. Barwick, who renamed his section New Memphis in 1912 and sold lots to residents. The earliest marked grave in the Old Memphis Cemetery dates to 1907. The earliest known official document related to the cemetery is a deed dated January 12, 1923, which shows that Fred Kermode and his wife Emma sold this parcel to the Trustees of the Memphis Cemetery Committee. It became the final resting place of many African Americans, many of whom cultivated tomato, celery, cabbage, and citrus crops in the area's truck farming fields, groves, and packing houses. By 1977, Old Memphis Cemetery was full, and in 1988 it came under the care of Manatee County as an abandoned cemetery. Following its closure, the New Memphis Cemetery was begun and is now used as a public cemetery for those who cannot afford a burial plot.

F-787 Manatee County Government
and the Florida Department of State