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Updated: May 24, 2021

Fakahatchee Island and It's Burial Ground......10 graves, the oldest marked 1898, the newest, 1966. “Daniels” was the most common surname, but others included Knowles, Sands, Anderson and Hart.

I met Louis, John Daniel's Great Grandson, at the dock in Everglades City (about a mile away from the old Smallwoods store) and we went in his pontoon boat for a half hour ride past so many little islands (I don't know how you don't get lost) visit the little cemetery on Fakahatchee Island. This is the land of 10,000 islands.

Fackahatchee Island is an enormous shell mound island created over hundreds of years by the Calusa Indians. It is the accumulation of billions of oyster, clam and conch shells. We saw a big manatee and lots of birds and big oyster beds. Smack in the middle of the Everglades.

Louis's Great Grandfather, John Henry Daniels (1860-1940) and his wife, Phylema Myers Daniels (1867- 1945), were the first permanent Daniel's settlers on Fakahatchee. They were living on the island by the late 1800s, and it was where Phylema birthed most of their 11 children. They grew tomatoes, bananas, sugar cane and fished and hunted for food, traded with the Indians and had a huge cast iron pot to cook in. But I'll bet Phylema made some awesome pots of fish stew in her kettle. The family recently removed the very large cast iron pot and brought it to the city. There were cisterns built in a couple of spots for fresh water.

All of her children lived to be ~80 years old (although they all had polio at one time) except for Harvey at 24 who died while coon hunting and a 2 year old who drowned. I cannot believe that anyone would live in this marsh!! Bugs, snakes, heat and just nothing. OMG. Below is a carved tree by a family member.

Resting together on the island today with visible headstones are James Phineas Daniels and his wife, Mary Ann, near the drowned baby, James Jr. Another of their children, daughter Vernell, is nearby, as is Mary Ann’s father, Uriah Sands, native of the Bahamas. A Knowles aunt and uncle are there and a son-in-law, Edward Clifton Anderson.

A beautiful boat ride and a beautiful serene cemetery. It was just amazing. The dock was about a mile from Smallwood's store.


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