The Key West Cemetery is one of Key West’s most famous tourist spots. Now located in Old Town. Not always the location.

I came across 2 interesting  bits about early Key West burials.

The first involves location.

In the early 1800’s, the first cemetery was located on the “western beach between the town and Whitehead’s Point.” Most of the graves were located in the space between Emma Street and the Marine Hospital Building.

The cemetery was not like today’s or anything even similar to what we have come to know as a cemetery. A body was buried and a few stones randomly placed on top of the grave. No grave stone as such.

An 1830 visitor described the stones. Few had any names etched on them. Most were “a few plain stones to tell that the possessions of the little tenant below once lived and died.”

Some stones marked the length of the body below.

The question generally asked was: “Who sleeps below?”

The use of stones was probably copied from the Indians who frequented the lower Keys. They sprinkled/set a few small stones above a grave.

For several years when my children were young, we vacationed on Block Island. An island off the coast of Rhode Island.

There was a “painted rock.” A stone about 4 x 4 feet. Kids used to go and paint the stone. My children did it several times. Everyone always painted over the previous person’s paint job.

A tradition.

I was standing watching my children one day when a Block Island local began talking to me. He asked if I had seen the Indian cemetery. I had not. It was across the street from painted rock and a way in the woods.

A small open area. Weedy. Small tones in an irregular grouping here and there. The Indians of Block Island were buried similarly as the early residents and the Indians of Key West.

Respect for the dead was common place. As it is today. Except the respect evidenced in a different manner.

From the mid 1800’s to the early 1900’s, the Key West custom re burials involved the closing of the doors of all stores while a funeral procession was passing by. All business along the line of march was suspended.

The late 1960’s and into the 1970’s, public demonstrations were frequent. By those opposed to the Vietnam War. College students and adults alike.

An anti-war demonstration had bean going on for several days on the Kent State University campus. The National Guard had been called in.

On the third day of the National Guard presence, the National Guard shot at the students. I recall the TV showing of the shootings. The students were running down a slightly slopping hill to get away from the Guardsmen. Shots were being fired. Four students were killed. One paralyzed.

Similar shootings will take place at some point in the U.S. At State capitols. The difference with Kent State is the demonstrators will be shooting at government officials.

Armed protesters make such an occurrence inevitable.

J. Crew filed for bankruptcy protection last week. A Chapter 11. Means the company will continue in business while working out a debt repayment plan that the company can handle. The Bankruptcy Court says who gets paid and when. Gives a company such as J. Crew breathing room to get going again.

It was announced that 5  northeast States have joined together to purchase ventilators and protective gear such as masks and gloves. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

The Governors of the 5 States decided they could get better prices and avoid getting into a bidding war with each other.

I am confused. Trump keeps saying we have so many ventilators now. He has them stored in a federal facility. So many, that he keeps telling us how he is providing them to other countries. Whether free or for money, I am not sure.

If Trump has so many, why do the 5 States need to go elsewhere for ventilators?

Does not make sense to me. I suspect somewhere along the line Trump is bullshitting us or perhaps charging too much.

Trump was interviewed last night by FOX in the Lincoln Memorial. Sitting directly in front of Lincoln.

I consider it an insult that Trump featured himself in such place. An Abraham Lincoln he is not.

A top Italian medical authority revealed that 75 percent of the people who died in Italy from coronavirus had high blood pressure.

I’m doing good. I’m 84 and have a bad heart. Also have high blood pressure. Since I was 30 years old.

Involves the heart, I know. However I view it as another malady. Mine is controlled by pills each day. Keeps my blood pressure low. Exceptionally low.

God bless the pills!

An observation. Coronavirus is nowhere under control. I believe the reopenings are foolish and too soon. People who are on the side of what I consider early reopenings are gambling with their lives.

Why don’t they understand?

The U.S. Senate is returning to Washington today. Washington is infested with coronavirus. Trump insists there are enough tests for the law makers.

He tweeted, “There is tremendous caronavirus testing capacity in Washington.” Despite multiple reports of the Senate’s shortage of tests.

At 10 this morning, the stock market was down 300 points.

Enjoy your day!



14 comments on “EARLY KEY WEST BURIALS

  1. The governors in the northeast states, have banded together because they can’t get stuff from DHS or FEMA. Trump alone decides who gets what. Even the Veterans Hospitals can’t get what it needs.

    All the while we hear that Trump is however, sending stuff to North Korea, China and now Russia.

  2. Lou, if you haven’t been to Block Island in a while, it’s changed. Cleaner and brighter. Electrical now comes from offshore wind generators, no more diesel and all that was bad about that. We haven’t been there yet this year, but can’t wait to go. Quite the place nowadays.

    • 20 years or more since I visited. I did not find it dirty, etc. Not in any fashion. Used to rent a house for 1 month in the summer. Before that, sailed into Block Island and slept on the boat. Loved the place! Quiet. peaceful. Don’t know if it has changed in that regard.

      • The harbor area is quite active nowadays, even after the ferry’s have gone, can’t speak for the outlying areas. We’ve always stayed in that part. Ballards is all new and crazy busy.

        However, Block Island is tryly a treasure

        • I remember distinctly air conditioning was a problem Many commercial places were without. Also, restaurants. The houses I rented I made sure were centrally air conditioned. One thing sticks in my mind. My then wife and I were walking the street and a lady was selling cookies from a cart. Small ones. $.50 a piece. Many my wife would make. She was always baking cookies and giving them to friends. I told her we were going to move to Block Island for summers. She would bake the cookies and I would sell them. We would make a fortune!

          • Still that kind of place, VERY New Englandly.

            One thing different – Jet Skis all over the place (like Key West) although they’re on the waters between RI and BI, shadowing the ferry boats on all trips. That’d be like Jet Skis going between KW & Cuba.

  3. Key West is not quite active anymore. Too bad it took a plague to get things back to the way it was in the old days.

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