Local Melrose History
The Cemetery at 129 Heritage Way
Some local residents have informed us about an interesting cemetery in the community. The Cemetery was part of the Carleton Colony. The Cemetery is located at 129 Heritage Way, (off of Melrose Landing Boulevard) Hawthorne Florida, it's within the boundary of the Melrose Area Property Owners Association.
The settlement of Carleton Colony was located southeast of Melrose, FL. The Cemetery was started by Granville Smith in 1904 for Union Soldiers and their widows. There are only a few markers left including one Spanish American War veteran buried here. By 1922 they had died and the colony was abandoned.
THE LOST TOWN OF CARLETON, FLORIDA
Little remains today of the small settlement of Carleton located on the eastern shore of Lake Loyal in western Putnam County. Beyond the cemetery that was located north of the settlement the only surviving evidence that the site may at one time have housed a small colony is the subdivision into small lots of the 20-acre tract that comprised Carleton Colony.
The colony’s beginnings date back to 1888 when Granville C. Smith purchased 20 acres in section 2 township 10 Range 23 for $200. Smith had served during the Civil War in both Co. E, 5th Massachusetts and Co. F, 53d Massachusetts Volunteers. In 1890, at the age of forty-seven Smith, already a widower, was granted a pension for his wartime service and retired to his 20 acre-tract in Florida. Judging from the census records Smith remained the only white, and only Yankee, inhabitant of this district of west Putnam until after 1900.
In December 1904 a Post Office was established at Carleton. In March of the following year Smith subdivided the property into twenty-one lots generally ranging in size from 90 ft by 140 ft up to 150 ft by 280 ft and began to sell them to fellow pensioned veterans from the North. To promote the colony a circular letter was designed “for the benefit of the many veterans of the Civil War, and pensioned widows of such veterans, who are seeking a mild, equable and salubrious climate; whose advanced age, declining years, and in many cases, afflictions, being such as to no longer be able to endure the rigors of a northern latitude.” Carleton was reported to be “on a beautiful lake replete with fish such as black bass, 1/2 to 14lbs,” to have an abundance of “quail, pigeon, duck, snipe, rail, o’possum, fox, coon, etc,” to enjoy land that was “high, dry and rolling, with the purest water.” Fruit trees included the orange, lemon, peach, pear, fig, plum, banana, grapes, and Japanese persimmon. Vegetables grew two gardens per year, Irish potatoes two crops, and sweet potatoes one. Settlers were warned that this “was no farming country, nor much of a place to make money,” but “it is jut the place for us old vets to live easy, which you can do after once settled on your pensions, your gardens, with your fish, game, etc.” Rail service was available four miles to the southeast at the town of Edgar on the Atlantic Coast Line Railway. In 1908, Smith reported to a potential settler that the colony already consisted of nineteen houses.
In the 1910 census twenty-one households (identified as living on Easy Street) comprised the pensioner portion of Carleton Colony. The heads of those households ranged in age from 62 to 73 years old, two were widows, nine were widowers. Places of birth included England, Germany, Ohio, Connecticut, Indiana, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Maryland. The only native Floridians were the thirty-six year old mail carrier Ellis Cue and the general store owner Joe H. Monroe, also thirty six, and his family. Both were listed as being mulattoes.
Sadly, but not unexpectedly, Carleton did not survive the passing of the Civil War generation. By 1920, only eight households could be identified as part of Carleton. The colony’s founder Granville Smith died in 1919. In 1907, Smith had married for a third time. His wife was Minnie A. Saxon of Cincinnati, Ohio who had purchased two lots in Carleton the previous year. She was over twenty years his junior and remained in Carleton as its Post Mistress for a few years after Smith’s death in 1919. The Post Office closed in 1923. Today, no memories of the community survive. No photographs and no memoirs of any of its inhabitants are known. All that remains today is a platted subdivision and the few grave markers that have survived in Carleton’s cemetery.