Brandon Cemetery Worth a Second Look

As with any town or city – thanks to the population growth as well as the growing housing markets – many landmarks and historic sites get pushed out of sight or disappear altogether.

Sites that at one time were the center of towns and cities are now places that most people hardly talk about or even know exist. That is not to say that these one time famous or busy places have been forgotten.

Take for example the Brandon Family Cemetery, located in the heart of Brandon on S.R. 60 – probably one of, if not the busiest roads in town – just east of Pinewood St.

Though it can be easily missed, the cemetery is on the northwest corner, posting a marker at the entrance which simply reads: “Brandon Family Cemetery.”

While small in size – 60 graves altogether – visiting its gravesites can take one on an interesting trip back in time, especially for local residents.

According to the marker posted inside the chain-linked fence, the earliest marked grave, dated 1857, was that of Susan Carson, mother of Martha Carson Brandon.

The explanation continues as it reads, “Traveling by wagon train, John Brandon, his wife Martha (cousin of Kit Carson) and six sons left Mississippi and arrived at Fort Brooke (Tampa) in 1857. John acquired land in what is now known as Brandon. They worked the land until tragedy struck when John’s beloved wife died in 1867.

John moved away and in 1868 married Victoria Varn, a widow with two children. In 1874 they moved back to New Hope (Brandon) and established their homestead. John helped start the first school, donated land for a church and created New Hope Cemetery. John Brandon died in 1886 and was buried in this cemetery. The Brandon name is carried on proudly by the descendants of John, many of whom reside locally.

Interestingly, the noise and buzz of the busy road just adjacent to the cemetery can be ignored if but just for a few minutes as one takes a trip down memory lane before looking up at the cars speeding by and wondering, “Oh, how things have changed.”

But while it really does not take much to visit this piece of history, it does help one to reflect on the past as well as those that have passed.

A complete list of names of those buried at the Brandon Family Cemetery, including birth and death dates, can be found at http://files.usgwarchives.org/fl/hillsborough/cemetery/bran-fam.txt.