Lake Hill Cemetery
Coordinates: Latitude:, Longitude: -
Number of Named Graves (in survey): 613
Number of Unnamed Graves (in survey): 3
Oldest Date of Death on a Tombstone: 1824 or 1834 (Hard to read)
Original Information: Go west on Highway 50. Turn left on Kirkman Road. Turn right on Old Winter Garden Road. It is .3 of a mile on the left, next to Ohev Shalom Cemetery.
From Buried Treasures Quarterly Vol. 35 No. 1, Winter 2003
Lake Hill Cemetery, Orlo Vista, Orange County, Florida
by Opal Flynn
Mosquito County, Territory of Florida, was formed in 1824 from part of Saint Johns County. The Spanish had left and settlers were encouraged to come to the southern section of the State. Orange County was formed from a part of Mosquito shortly after 1845.
The very first settler to come to Orange County was Aaron JERNIGAN in 1843. He returned to neighboring Georgia, packed up his family, and with a group of other Indian-wise relatives, came to Orange County. Later, he returned to Georgia and brought his large stock of cattle. Aaron Jernigan was the very first settler to build a home in Orange County, near Fort Gatlin. Florida had a rule then about settlers living close to forts for safety. His place was used for Post Riders to stop and mail was dispersed, along with essential items (groceries), which could be purchased from the shelves. His place was called "Jernigan". Aaron and his wife, Mary, are buried at Lake Hill Cemetery, along with their daughter Martha and some of her family.
The 1850 Census of Orange County is a good beginning list of the settlers of the County. In this census, and before, one will find that these settlers came earlier than 1850 -- Aaron Jernigan's brother Isaac JERNIGAN and his family, five PATRICKs, MINCHEWs, HOGANs, DAVIS and others. The BEASLEYs came after 1860, as did many other pioneers buried in Lake Hill Cemetery.
The seventh family to settle in Orange County was the family of Robert and Priscilla IVEY in 1857. They were active in planting citrus and education. This family also made a lasting mark in the county. They are buried in Lake Hill Cemetery. Two of the pioneer families, the REELs and HUGHEYs, formerly of Orange County are now in Seminole County, due to the formation of Seminole County in 1913. The pioneers of the REEL family came in 1885 and are buried in Lake Hill.
The Lake Hill Cemetery was formed by four intermarried families: BEASLEY, IVEY, PATRICK and ROBERSON. The family cemetery began between Rock Lake and Lake Lorna Doone, on the very outskirts of Orlando. Builders desired this property for construction, so the four families moved their loved ones further out into the country in 1884. Highway #22 (now Old Winter Garden Road) was north of the cemetery. In 1921, the sons of these four families formed the Lake Hill Cemetery Improvement Association. The original members of the Association were L. H. IVEY, N. J. PATRICK, C. C. ROBERSON, J. C. BEASLEY, W. J. GARRON, M. L. IVEY and J. F. BARLOW.
Lake Hill Baptist Church has no connection to the cemetery, but its members help maintain the cemetery and there are many church members buried there.
In 1925, the Lake Hill Cemetery Improvement Association had bylaws, use conditions, a plot map and it was set up in perpetuity. It was incorporated and kept up the cemetery from 1925 to 1960; their work was sporadic until 1988. The Association still exists, but plays no active part in the cemetery at this time. In 1988, the Orlo Vista citizens stepped in and began to restore this sore thumb, bringing back the serenity and honor due their loved ones and the early pioneers. Martha Connolly Bridges has been organizing cleanups since 1984. The 64 military veterans have been honored with flags at their headstones since 2002.
There are approximately 1000 interred in Lake Hill Cemetery. The first was Emma Rosalie IVEY, born December 13, 1853 and died March 18, 1884. She was the daughter of John and Matilda Ann (ROBERSON) IVEY.
There is a memorial in the cemetery honoring Aaron JERNIGAN as the first settler of Orange County; two graves of US military veterans who fought in three wars each and three graves of people who lived to be over 100 years of age.
When this article was published in 2003, Opal Flynn was a Lifetime CFGS member and was currently working on a history of the town of Orlo Vista, to be published in 2003.
For a survey of stones in Lake Hill Cemetery, see the CFGS publication, Orange County, FL Cemeteries - Vol. 1 - The Smaller Cemeteries of SW Orange County. The publications list can be found here..