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.
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.
“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..
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.
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)