Oaklawn Cemetery & St Pete

Emelie saw in our book 100 things to see in Tampa that there were an old cemetery in downtown Tampa that had some history to it. We decided to go and check it out.

Oaklawn Cemetary opened in 1850 and was a place for “white and slave, rich and poor”. There are government figures, businessmen, gangsters, slaves and pirates buried under the tall trees draped with Spanish moss.

The cemetery isn’t very well kept but we could see the most interesting one at least. It’s the headstone of William and Nancy Ashley, he a prominent white resident and she the African American servant who was thought to be his partner. On the gravestone (errected by his lawyer after she died) says: “Here lies Wm. Ashley and Nancy Ashley, Master and Servant. Faithful to each other in that relation in life, in death they are not separated. Stranger consider and be wiser. In the grave, all human distinction, of race or caste, mingle together in one common dust“. Mr Ashley had made sure that Nancy was taken care of after his death and his lawyer made sure they were buried together.

After the cemetery we drove to St Pete and had a walk on the Pier. As it was still cold and windy it was only for Emelie to have been there. We then continued to a bookstore she had found. It’s not old or big but a small store with a very warm atmosphere. Next to it is a coffee shop that is not one of the chains but a small place with a lot of personality.

In the evening we went to OCC Roadhouse for some dinner. As it was Monday it wasn’t any live music but the food was good and Peter and Emelie got to see some motorbikes.

William & Nancy Ashley