The Governor’s Grave Along the Indian River Lagoon

Palms Cemetery lies along the beautiful Indian River Lagoon at 7201 South Indian River Drive, Ankona. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch 2014.)
“Palms Cemetery” lies along the beautiful Indian River Lagoon at 7201 South Indian River Drive, Ankona. (All photos by Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch 2014.)
Entrance to Palms Cemetery, Indian River Drive.
Entrance to Palms Cemetery, Indian River Drive.

I had driven by a thousand times, but recently, for some reason, I decided to park and go inside …the graveyard along Indian River Lagoon.

This was not too unusual for me, as my mother, historian Sandra Thurlow, taught me that graveyards are “windows to history.”

“Palms Cemetery” dates back to the early Indian River 1800s pioneers, as originally the river was the only mode of transportation and all things happened along its shores: birth; work; life; love; struggle; achievement and death.

Walking through the well maintained graveyard, there were lovely flowers and trees.

Huge, old red hibiscus bush in the cemetery.
Huge, old red hibiscus bush in the cemetery.

Walking through, I felt a sense of timelessness; the landscape still held the original beauty of the area. Respectfully, I had opened and carefully closed the gate and made my way back to higher ground. Surrounded by 250-year-old cabbage palms, I read each name and wondered who these people were, and what their lives were like along the river.

A few of the names I recognized, many I did not.

And then, about half way back, I saw it. The governor’s grave.

Daniel Thomas McCarty, Governor of Florida, 1912-1953.
Daniel Thomas McCarty II, Governor of Florida, 1912-1953.

“Wow,” I thought, “A Florida governor is buried right here? Who was he, and why don’t I know about him?”

Well obviously,  I didn’t put two and two together at Martin County High School when we played “Dan McCarty High” in football. Obviously, I wasn’t listening when my historian mother told me the story of the “governor from Ft Pierce.”  Obviously, even the greatest among us eventually fade into the background but our deeds do carry on..

Daniel McCarty, 31st governor of the state of Florida. 19112-1953.
Daniel McCarty, 31st governor of the state of Florida. 19112-1953.

Later that day when I got home, I read about Governor McCarty and this is what I learned:

*”Dan McCarty was born in Fort Pierce on January 18, 1912. A citrus grower and cattleman in Fort Pierce, he served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1937 until 1941 and was the speaker of the 1941 House. McCarty distinguished himself in World War II and returned as a colonel with the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and the French Croix de Guerre.

McCarty was runner-up for the Democratic nomination for governor in 1948 and was elected governor in 1952. He suffered a disabling heart attack on February 25, 1953, and died on September 28 in Tallahassee.

During his short-term of office, McCarty began major construction projects in the state, reformed purchasing and hiring practices, boosted teachers’ salaries and created scholarships for teacher training, opposed oil exploration in the Everglades, and instituted aid programs for the disabled.”

Governor Dan McCarty was only 41 when he died…

I appreciate all he is noted for, especially that he is recognized  for his “opposition to  oil exploration in the Everglades.” Upon reading more about that I saw that our present administration  and many others support it…

The beat goes on.

…What a beautiful resting place for the governor.

Thank you sir, for your service and your work and may your spirit help protect the Indian River Lagoon.

View looking towards the Indian River Lagoon.
View looking towards the Indian River Lagoon.
The walkway through the cemetery.
The walkway through the cemetery.
Family plot McCarty.
Family plot McCarty.
View of cemetery.
View of cemetery.
Gravestone.
Gravestone.
Gravestone.
Gravestone.
Gravestone.
Gravestone.
Gravestone.
Gravestone.
Gravestone.
Gravestone.
Gravestone.
Gravestone.
Grave made of coral shell.
Grave made of coral shell.
Going home along Indian River Drive...
Going home along Indian River Drive…

_____________________________________

Florida Memory Project, McCarty : (http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/128487) 

*Florida Facts, Governor McCarty : (http://www.flheritage.com/facts/history/governors/governor.cfm?id=38) 

Wikipedia, Daniel McCarty: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_T._McCarty)

12 thoughts on “The Governor’s Grave Along the Indian River Lagoon

  1. Thank you Jacqui for sharing this glimpse into history, and reminding us of the rich heritage and history around us, if we just take a moment to stop and look at all God has created around us and the treasures left for us to see.

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  2. Hi Jacqui. I love your photos. We drove by the cemetery a couple weeks ago, and it brought back memories of visiting the site when we were teenagers. We used to drive up there and wander around the graves, marveling at how old they were. Back then it was tucked in the trees, which gave it a darker appearance. It was so remote and hidden you would miss it if you weren’t looking carefully. I was shocked at how it looks now–the trees are cleared and the sun beats down on the headstones. But I’m glad to see it is so well cared-for. Thanks for the great post.

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  3. This was interesting. Ever since I was little cemetaries were fascinatingly full of history & wonder for me. And continue to be. Thanks for sharing this. Ankona, not sure where that is im native NY-er but I do know where the Indian River drive is & have visited the Indian buriel mound towards Fort Pierce. Very quiet place.

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  4. My father was one of his close friends and was a pallbearer that day at Ankona Cemetery. I got to know him pretty well as I was 21 when he died in 1953. Two of his grand children, Dan McCarty III and Melanie McCarty Francisco are my step children and I am proud to have had a part in raising them. Bruce Center

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