Bagdad Historic Cemetery
BAGDAD VILLAGE HISTORIC DISTRICT
NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES - SANTA ROSA COUNTY, FL
Bagdad Historic Cemetery
Located at the end of Pooley Street, Bagdad's Historic Cemetery is filled with the graves of those who helped Bagdad become a major industrial site. From the 1840s through the early 1900s, these people ushered in many types of major industry, such as lumber and shipbuilding, along with various smaller factories and support businesses. The most notable of these people was Joseph Forsyth, the founder of Bagdad.
Forsyth was an active promoter of business for the region, resulting in industrial development and internal improvements. He married Cordelia M. Creary in 1849 and fathered four girls. He went on to serve in the Florida Senate from 1852 to 1854.
(Above) Joseph Forsyth's grave is marked by an impressive nine foot obelisk in the Bagdad Historic Cemetery.
Joseph Forsyth died the following year on March 10, 1855. He is buried atop the hill in the Bagdad Historic Cemetery that overlooks the village.
Forsyth's grave is marked by an impressive nine foot obelisk. Alongside the tall granite monument is a small headstone marking the grave of his daughter Elizabeth, who died of yellow fever in 1852. Many other tombstones bear this same date, marking the year a severe yellow fever epidemic struck the Bagdad area.
(Left) Joseph Forsyth's daughter, Elizabeth, died of yellow fever in 1852. Her headstone is alongside the tall granite monument marking his grave.
The historic headstones and iron fencing are the work of highly skilled craftsmen. Over the years, weather and nature have added their signature leaving a rich patina. A small number of graves are marked with wooden slabs, while other grave sites are almost indistinguishable.
(Right) This marble headstone features stylized acanthus leaves atop the column. The stone has weathered into a monochromatic pallet of soft grays.
(Above) The headstone to the right marks a time in early America when many of those buried here migrated from other countries. William Lawghton was born abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland; his wife, Mary, was born in Columbus, Georgia.
(Above) Over the years, weather and nature have added their signature, leaving a rich patina on this iron fencing in the cemetery.
The Bagdad Historic Cemetery also marks a time in early America when many of those buried here migrated from other countries seeking a new beginning. Countries represented include Norway, Canada, France, Scotland, Germany, Mexico, England, and Spain.
(Above) There are several wooden grave markers in the Bagdad Historic Cemetery. One of the common woods used is Cyprus, which is insect and rot resistant.
The Bagdad Historic Cemetery Association was formed in 2006 to preserve and manage the Bagdad Historic Cemetery. The Association holds several fundraisers including the popular Cemetery Walk Legends and Lore Tour at Bagdad Cemetery. These funds and other support help BHCA continue regular maintenance, restoration, and other special projects within the cemetery.
The segregated area for the African-American community is another reflection of the pains this country suffered in the struggle to unite. Although their burial area was separate, African-Americans worked alongside other ethnic groups at the Bagdad Lumber Mill as well as in the forest harvesting lumber.
Each grave in the Bagdad Historic Cemetery represents a part of the history and success of Bagdad, from a once-thriving mill town to today as a historic village listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery is embraced and cared for by the Bagdad Historic Cemetery Association as one of the many treasures found here in the Historic Village of Bagdad.