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Amelia Islander

Bosque Bello Cemetery

Nov 16, 2012 02:00AM

I’m fascinated by old cemeteries, and to me, the Bosque Bello Cemetery located in Old Town is a wonderful place to visit to learn about our island's history. But it’s also a peaceful place for quiet reflection, with numerous photo opportunities. Abounding with enormous live oak trees draped with Spanish moss, visitors and Amelia Islanders alike will find themselves in awe of this beautifully preserved place.

The Bosque Bello Cemetery,  or "Beautiful Woods",  is located one mile north of Atlantic Avenue on North 14th Street, within the city of Fernandina Beach in the area we refer to Old Town. The original section of the cemetery is thought to have been established in 1798, but the oldest identifiable grave, of French Soldier Peter Bouissou de Nicar, dates from 1813. The old and new sections of Bosque Bello Cemetery are together on one site. The newer section of the cemetery was added by the City of Fernandina on land donated by J.G. and Sadie Cooper in 1945.

Some of the most interesting grave sites include the Sisters of St. Joseph—a group of Catholic nuns who tended the sick during the yellow fever epidemic of 1877—the Traeye family—a pre-Civil War African American family whose descendants still live in Fernandina—and also Sollecito Salvador, the Sicilian immigrant considered the father of the modern shrimping industry.

If you’ve never walked the cemetery before, give it a try. It’s a remarkable place to visit.