Walk up and down the streets of St. Cloud, Florida and you will pass many homes dating to 1910. But if you venture to Lakeshore Blvd. a lovely two-story home dating to 1887 greets you.
As dusk fell over Kissimmee’s Historic Rose Hill Cemetery, guests of Osceola County Historical Society’s 9th annual Dine with the Departed sponsored by Gatorland fundraiser began to arrive. Music filled the air as guests perused over 40 silent auction items before taking their seats. Dinner, succulent barbequed chicken and pulled pork accompanied by baked beans and green beans, was catered by Big John’s Rockin’ BBQ. When dinner service came to a close, the live auction began and was facilitated by OCHS board member, Ricky Booth. After the live auction closed, the winners of the silent auctions were announced.
Mary Essie Petrie Caldwell was featured at the first Dine with the Departed event hosted by the Osceola County Historical Society in 2010. Of distinguished Hugenot ancestry, Essie, as she was fondly known, was born June 3, 1838 in Cheraw, South Carolina to Reverend George H.W. Petrie and his wife Mary Jane. Rev. Petrie was an eminent clergyman of the Southern Presbyterian Church and Essie’s grandfather was an officer in the American Revolution.
James Kinchen Hilliard was born in Coffee County, Georgia on December 17, 1852. He lost his father in 1863 during the War Between the States. Perhaps to ease the burden of his mother, who was left to rear some of his eleven siblings, James headed to Texas at the age of fourteen. For nine years he roamed the central west encountering Indians and buffalo and gathering tales of his experiences.
The replica schoolhouse at the Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek is typical of the style that Emma Viola Yowell may have taught in. Born in Illinois about 1862, she began her teaching career there in 1886. After moving to Florida in 1888, Emma taught at the Athens School in Polk County, followed by a transfer to Davenport in 1889. The move to Osceola County in 1890 was the beginning of Emma’s fifty years of service to our community.
There are not many places you can spend a pleasant evening in a cemetery, dining with friends, bidding on great items and meeting some of Osceola County’s passed citizens.
Amid some controversy, our first Dine with the Departed was held on March 13, 2010 in historic Rose Hill Cemetery. The decision was made by the Osceola County Historical Society to host something different – not the usual ghost tour, generally occurring in October, but to present an educational evening, striving to raise funds for the organization.
Have you ever imagined having dinner in a cemetery?
This idea sounded crazy to me the first time I heard it until I learned a little more about Dine with the Departed and had a chance to experience it for myself.
Dine with the Departed is a fundraiser hosted by the Osceola County Historical Society to help raise money to continue their mission. The event is designed to educate the public on the history of Kissimmee’s Rose Hill Cemetery and the influential people who now reside there.