On March 26, 1839, parish records note the St. John’s Vestry voted to build a parsonage and purchase “a burying ground.” That five-acre cemetery is located at the corner of Call Street and Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., four blocks west from the church. Once this acreage was considered rural but is now surrounded by a downtown urban setting. The earliest recorded parish record for a burial in this cemetery is May 22, 1840, placing St. John’s Cemetery among several of the very earliest burial sites in Florida. Within the three sections of the cemetery are 769 marked graves and 121 others that are unmarked. All of these are listed in our historic church documents. The St. John’s Cemetery reveals a variety of vibrant stories over several eras that include narratives of religious commitment, trailblazing souls, wars, a yellow fever epidemic, and ship wrecks.

Appreciating and learning from those who came before us is a part of understanding how things got to be the way they are today. Our forefathers created a lasting influence in this north Florida region as St. John’s Episcopal Church has flourished and evolved for nearly 200 years.