What Is the History of Veterans' Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida?


Quick Answer

The history of Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida goes back to before Florida's statehood, when it was settled by inhabitants under new government programs. The land later became a national forest, and within the forest, government officials eventually established a plot of land that would become Florida National Cemetery.

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Full Answer

Before Florida National Cemetery was a veterans' cemetery, it was a target of the U.S. government's Armed Occupation Act. In 1842, the United States handed out land patents to qualifying citizens who possessed guns and ammunition and who would move onto the grounds that would eventually become the cemetery. Patent recipients had to commit to live on the land for at least five years.

The land played a role during the Civil War by providing Confederate soldiers with sugar from the sugar mill that operated on the Homosassa River. After the Civil War, the land got caught up in the region's booming citrus fruit industry.

Between 1936 and 1939, the U.S. government established Withlacoochee State Forest, later transferring management of the land to state officials. During the 1980s, the U.S. government announced that it would establish a national cemetery on the state forest land. The interment of the first soldier on the property took place in 1988.

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