The History of Evergreen Cemetery and the Evergreen Cemetery Association
ollowing the death of James Tilatha Thomas’ baby daughter but before that of his wife, Gainesville founder James Bailey’s seven year old daughter died. Though the burial ground was private, Thomas invited Bailey to bury young Martha Bailey just south of his own baby. Martha, who had undertaken the arduous journey from Montgomery Alabama to Alachua County, had died only four short years later.
In 1866, Thomas sold his entire parcel to two former Union soldiers, Watson Porter and William K. Cessna, reserving one acre around the existing interments for a graveyard. Sometime prior to 1888, the original Evergreen Cemetery Association was formed and in that year Jesse and Rebecca Goss, having previously acquired the land from Porter and Cessna, deeded to the Association their acreage which was also in use for burials plus an additional 30 unused acres. In 1890 the heirs of James Thomas deeded the original acre to Evergreen.
Until 1944 Evergreen was privately operated by devoted members of old Gainesville families. Of note was Mary Kincaid Warner, who was known as “Miss Mamie.” Miss Mamie and caretaker Ed Pons made an excellent team. When Miss Mamie could no longer run the Cemetery she prevailed upon State Senator James Dell and lawyer Thomas Fielding to negotiate its sale to the City of Gainesville. In 1944 the Association sold the Cemetery for $1 to the City.
In the 1990s, Gainesville considered selling Evergreen. After a spirited public hearing the City decided to maintain ownership. The Evergreen Cemetery Association, a non-profit organization, uses all donations directly for cemetery enhancement. Membership in the Association is open to all interested persons.