Mt Peace Cemetery

Between 1919 and 1975, the U.S. government took measures to dedicate a day to our soldiers, which is now celebrated annually on November 11, a nod to the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. This day we pause to honor all veterans, both past and present, men and women, from all walks of life. One of the ways we honor these veterans is by placing wreaths on the gravesites of those who served our country. Osceola County’s very own Mt. Peace Cemetery is one of only four Wreaths Across America recognized cemeteries in the greater Orlando area. Here is the story of St Cloud’s Mt Peace Cemetery and the veterans who rest here. 

Lucius L. Mitchell

The Need For A Cemetery

St. Cloud lacked a cemetery in its earliest days. The town was unprepared when veteran Lucius L. Mitchell became the first St. Cloud colony member to die on December 4, 1909. Mitchell was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Kissimmee[1].

A Site is Chosen

St. Cloud residents that cleared land

Creating a cemetery in St. Cloud had become a priority, and the first step was to select a site. The colonists chose a logging camp on the outskirts of town to become Mt. Peace Cemetery[2]. The town’s Union veterans, all senior citizens, cleared the land using hand tools[3]. The first burial in Mt. Peace Cemetery took place on February 5, 1910, with the death of Union veteran Oris. B. King[4] [5].

Kings Obituary excerpt from 1910 St Cloud, Florida Tribune

St Cloud’s Union Veterans as Owners

St. Cloud’s Union veterans formed the Mt. Peace Cemetery Association to manage and maintain their new burial ground. On November 2, 1910, the Seminole Land & Investment Co. deeded the cemetery property to them for “one dollar and other valuable considerations.” [6]

Mt Peace Cemetery Deed

The 429th and last Union veteran buried in Mt. Peace Cemetery was William C. Russell, who died on August 12, 1942[7]. Because of the extraordinary number of Union veterans buried in St. Cloud, Mt. Peace Cemetery has been called one of the largest non-battlefield Union cemeteries south of the Mason-Dixon line[8].

Veterans Buried

There are a great many veterans of all eras buried in Mt. Peace Cemetery, earning St. Cloud the nickname “The Soldier City.” [9] We have compiled a list of the number of veterans buried here from each war. Please note that these numbers are subject to change with the deaths of veterans who served in WWII or later and with the identification of earlier-era veterans as new information becomes available.

  • Civil War: Union: 429
  • Civil War: Confederate: 2
  • Indian Wars: 2
  • Spanish-American War: 288
  • WWI: 172
  • WWII: 268
  • Korea: 71
  • Vietnam: 48
  • Gulf War: 2
  • Peacetime: 112

Sources

[1]Attached: Photo of L.L. Mitchell

[2] Logging camp source: Rev. William Short obituary, St. Cloud News, 3/7/1963, page 1

[3] Attached: Photo of the cemetery being cleared, from the Fisk/Robison St. Cloud pictorial book, page 56. Note that the caption in the book is incorrect: St. Cloud residents had NOT been using the Narcoossee cemetery

[4] Attached: King’s obituary: St. Cloud Tribune, 2/10/1910, Page 4

[5] Note: The correct spelling of King’s first name is ORIS, according to all his military documents, as well as civilian records dating back to 1855 (the Osceola County Historical Society tends to misspell it as “Oren”)

[6] Attached: Mt. Peace deed, Page 1

[7] Note that Russell was the last Union vet buried in Mt. Peace, NOT the last Union vet to die in St. Cloud.

[8] This is an unverified & unverifiable statement.

Contributors

Cemetery Research compiled by Cemetery Historian Larisa Roderick.

Article submitted by Larisa Roderick and Olive Horning, St. Cloud Heritage Museum.