Mass Graves

Mass Graves

There are two mass graves at Oaklawn Cemetery. Both are in the Northeast Section.

Ft. Brooke, Mass Grave

The first is adjacent to the Sexton Cottage, contains the remains of 102 settlers and soldiers that were originally interred at Fort Brooke, the U.S Army fort near the mouth of the Hillsborough River that was the first European settlement in the area. Founded in 1824, Fort Brooke was abandoned as a military post in 1832, by which time the settlement of Tampa had taken root.

Yellow Fever, Mass Grave

The second mass grave contains an undetermined number of yellow fever victims. Tampa, like many Southern coastal towns and cities, was seasonally assailed by this often-fatal form of tropical hemorrhagic fever, known throughout the South as "yellow jack," or "bilious fever." Tampa had five outbreaks between 1850 and 1905. The worst was 1887-1888 and - not knowing the cause of the illness - locals hastily buried victims en masse, hoping to stem contagion. Ironically a local doctor, John P. Wall (also buried at Oaklawn), was correct in suggesting that yellow fever was spread by the bite of the aedes aegypti mosquito, but he was widely disbelieved.

St. Louis Catholic Cemetery

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