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Thomasville’s Historic Cemeteries

A Brief Introduction

Te Old Magnolia Cemetery, also known as the Flipper Cemetery, and the Old Cemetery are the oldest public burial grounds in Tomas County. Prior to their opening, burials were held at private family plots. Te two cemeteries are the final resting place of several of Tomasville’s founders, as well as 38 Confederate veterans. Tese cemeteries served as Tomas County’s only public burial grounds until interments began at Laurel Hill Cemetery in 1873.

Both the Old Magnolia Cemetery and the Old Cemetery were segregated by race, which at the time was a legal obligation. Personal and religious preferences played a significant role in these burial choices as well. Burial practices throughout the nation during this time utilized similar racial and religious separation.

Initially the two cemeteries were connected, comprising one large cemetery, but as time has progressed the landscape of the grounds has been altered. During the 19th century, Jerger Street was graded through the center of the cemetery, separating it into the Old Magnolia Cemetery and Old Cemetery. Te black, cast- iron fence that now lines the perimeter of the Old Cemetery was moved from its original location at the Tomas County Courthouse. In the 1920s, a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall was constructed on the northern-most section of the Old Cemetery.

Te maintenance and preservation of these two historic cemeteries provides a constant challenge. Delicate headstones, brick walls and monuments have suffered damage during strong winds and violent storms. Restoration efforts began in 2007 to repair decades of deterioration caused by nature and age.

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