There is something very lonely about an old, abandoned cemetery. No mourners
have come to place fl owers or pay respects, no handsome markers or
tombstones gleam in the sun. In Charlotte County, there is one special cemetery
that needs recognition, but none can be given, as the dead are unknown.
Southland Cemetery is located in El Jobean, a tiny town that was fi rst platted as
Southland in the late 1800s. It is situated near two other relics of Southwest Florida history
that have long-since been abandoned, the old Charlotte Harbor & Northern Railroad
and the vestiges of a huge turpentine camp.
There is a small path and sign that show the way into the graveyard’s depths, but once
inside there is little that one recognizes as a holy sanctuary for those who have passed
From 1888 until 1921, Southland existed solely as Charlotte Harbor & Northern Railroad
depot that serviced Hall Naval Stores and Stephen Brothers turpentine camps
that leased prisoners for labor. The Southland Trail Cemetery, previously known as the
El-Jobean Cemetery, is located approximately 1.5 miles from the Myakka River on the
Doolittle Waterway between McClellan Avenue and Black Avenue.
36 GASPARILLA MAGAZINE • September/October • 2020
Story & photos by Marcy Shortuse