Mannfield Ghost Town

Another hiking/exploring report….
     Today we hiked back out to the ghost town of Mannfield with my sister-in-law and nephew to find the cemetery. The websites that I get the information from to locate these places have horrible descriptions for locations. I have to wonder if that is on purpose.
     Anyhow, off we went looking for the Mannfield cemetery. We managed to walk past it the first time. There was an old trail that had grown over that we missed. After realizing that we went way too far we turned back and paid more attention coming back. We followed the old trail to a hillside covered by pine trees and underbrush. We arrived just before the sun began to set, casting a golden hue across the woods.
     The cemetery itself is surrounded by an ancient and rusted wire fence. There is a narrow opening in one corner. The inside is overgrown with weeds and grass. My 9 year old nephew was yelling with excitement at finding it. So much for peaceful!
     There is one large marble memorial with beautiful engravings belonging to a Lucinda Wilson. Born February 1824, died June 1897. Below her name is an inscription worn down from time that is not entirely legible. The best we could figure is that it says, “Thy memory shall be a guiding star”. Opposite that is a plain rectangular concrete stone with the initials “JHW” scratched into the concrete with a stick when it was wet. None of the other headstones have any inscriptions. Other than Lucinda Wilson’s memorial all are made from plain concrete. We counted a total of 25 head stones. Most of them very small and close together. I would imagine that indicates there are children and babies buried there.  We easily forget with our modern medicine how many children died at birth or shortly thereafter.  It was also common practice not to name a child until it was two years old.  That is why so many grave stones simply state son or daughter of …  Mannfield cemetery is a very remote and peaceful place in the heart of the Withlacoochee Citrus Tract.
     We have also discovered that my 9 year old nephew has two great, great grandfathers who were involved in stealing… er… rightfully restoring the court house to its proper location in Inverness from Mannfield. Christa’s great grandfather, Dominic Ghiotto, was an Italian immigrant with an engineering degree who came to this area to be a mine supervisor. According to family history, it was his ingenuity that helped to disassemble and relocate the court house in the middle of the night.
   Go to this link http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/fl/mansfield.html for a little more information on Mannfield.  What that author called inconclusive votes was actually fraudulent voting by both sides.  Also, the picture he states is a bank vault is in actuality a cattle dipping structure for controlling Texas tick fever in Florida cattle.  It would have been filled with an arsenic solution, hence the need for a water well nearby.
 Another wonderful day enjoying the company of my wife and family discovering local history and appreciating nature and a beautiful sunset.

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