The Lieutenant Carl Bailey Cemetery, formerly known as the Cleveland Cemetery, was established in the 1880's on land owned by New York investor, W. Irving Scott. In June 1913 Jack Davis, Trustee of the Punta Gorda Colored Investment Company, purchased the cemetery land which historically served the early African-American community as a final resting place.
In 1957, the Cleveland Cemetery was renamed and became known as the Lieutenant Carl Bailey Cemetery in honor of a well-known local soldier, Carl A. Bailey (1929 - 1957). Lt. Carl A. Bailey served in the U.S. Air Force as a courageous jet fighter pilot during combat missions in the Korean War and was reportedly one of the youngest black jet pilots in the Air Force from Florida. Lieutenant Bailey was killed in a car accident while on leave and is buried in the Cemetery alongside his parents.
By the 1970's the cemetery had been abandoned for some time and had fallen into a lapsed trust. Charlotte County assumed responsibility for the Cemetery in 1986 however many of the earliest interments were either unrecorded or not provided to the County.
Of the over 400 recorded interments at this location, Lt. Carl A. Bailey rests in the company of at least 48 more known Veterans. If you know of a Veteran interred at the Lieutenant Carl Bailey Cemetery and would like to add their service to our historical records, please contact Public Works at 941.575.3601.
Some of Charlotte County's earliest African-American pioneers are here including:
- Owen B. Armstrong (1838-1914)
former delegate to the 1868 Florida Constitutional Convention and local merchant.
- George Brown (1868-1951)
prominent businessman, landowner and one of Florida’s first “equal opportunity” employers.
- Daniel C. Smith, Sr. (1860's-1930's) Deacon and community patriarch, trained to perform survey work by young engineer Albert W. Gilchrist, conducted the first religious service for African-Americans shortly after the first train arrived in July 1886.
- Jack Davis (1877-1959) Trustee of the Colored Investment Company who purchased the cemetery land in June 1913.
Volunteer groups interested in local history, beautification, preservation and archaeology are vital to historical cemetery preservation. If your group or organization would like to Adopt-A-Cemetery please contact Keep Charlotte Beautiful at 941.764.4390.
Today the cemetery remains active and burial space is available for $950 each. To purchase interment rights at the Lieutenant Carl Bailey Cemetery, contact Public Works at 941.575.3601 or 941.575.3600.