History of Quertermous Burial

(single grave)

Sec. 31 - Twp. 24 - Range 17

Click here for a close-up view

This site is one of the most interesting sites I have discovered yet. The Quertermous Burial is located near the Vereen Cemetery in Hudson, but is not close enough to have been buried on the outside of its property. This is one of Pasco's early pioneers who after dying wanted to be buried on his property. This property is now a five acre tract that has a couple of homes and in their front yard is the plot of William Stanton Quertermous.

According to documented genealogy of the Quertermous family, William Stanton Quertermous was the third child out of seven children born to John Willis and Elizabeth Stanton Quertermous. William was born on 24 May 1829 in Jefferson County, Kentucky. These Quertermous men are descendants of James Quertermous Sr. born about 1743 in Somerset, Maryland and who also married to Elizabeth Ricketts born about 1746 in the same town.

The Quertermous family moved to Dewitt in Arkansas County, Arkansas where most of them lived and passed away. William Stanton Quertermous was a brick mason by trade and built the second Arkansas County Courthouse in 1859-60.  According to Arkansas County Arkansas history, during the Civil War "on January 18th, 1864 Joseph H. Maxwell, clerk of the court and custodian of the records, fearful for the safety of these records, secretly by night removed them from the courthouse.  He was assisted by Benjamin Franklin Quertermous [William's brother] and the place of hiding these papers was a log cabin owned by W.S. Quertermous, located about two miles northwest of Dewitt.  There were no opening and the records were passed under the walls and then placed in the loft, one man standing on the ground passing them the other in the loft.  The house was watched and protected by W.S. Quertermous, who kept the grass cut about the house, to avoid the danger of fire.  Here these papers remained in safety until some time after the close of the [Civil] war, when they were discovered by a citizen, who, while out hunting sought shelter from a shower of rain in the cabin.  He reported his discovery to others and it became known to Federal authorities at St. Charles, who sent wagons to the cabin and had the books and papers taken to a safe place of keeping where they remained until re-establishment of civil rule in the county.  Clerk Maxwell demanded possession of them and they were delivered to him and returned to their proper place."  If it had not been for Clerk Maxwell and the Quertermous brothers these records would have been destroyed.  As Union Troops passed through Dewitt they burned numerous building including the courthouse, county jail and a number of store houses and residences. 

While living in Dewitt William met the love of his life Willie Irene Cannon (no relation), on 16 April 1879 William and Willie were married. Willie Cannon Quertermous was the oldest of 8 children born to Daniel Spence & Joanna Victoria Gailer Cannon. One year after William and Willie married in April of 1880 they had their first child Johan Elizabeth "Betty". Ethel and William Stanton Jr. followed in 1882 and 1883 respectfully. With these three new additions to William and Willie's lives, in 1884 they headed to Hudson in Hernando County Florida. Soon after relocating William applied for a 160-acre land patent, through the U.S., for property that would soon become apart of Pasco County. Meeting the requirements for his homestead patent William and Willie built a home and began to cultivate their land. In the 1885-86 FL Gazetteer W. S. Quertermous was listed as a resident of Hudson where he is also listed as an orange grower and vegetable & truck farmer. The gazetteers listed the farmers for each of the towns they were advertising for. The 160 acres William received through his land patent was the only property he had ever owned in Florida. On 19 February 1886 William wrote the following letter to his brother Benjamin F. Quertermous in Arkansas, after Ben had returned home from a trip he had taken to William's farm in Hudson.

Please Note, this letter is part of the authors private collection, courtesy of the Quertermous Family and may NOT be reproduced without written consent from the author. This is the oldest known letter sent from the Hudson area.

Hudson, FLA
February 19th, 1886

Mr BF Quertermous

Dear Brother Your letter came duly to hand we were glad to hear you had got home safe we are all well the weather is delightfuly warm the day I left you I had a disagreeable day coming home it rained all day but we have had nice spring weather ever since with the exception of a few slight frosts to taper off I have watermellons up about four acres planted I have suckseeds in clearing about three acres more of the stock for potatoes I will bud off the balance and part it in corn and peas every thing is begining to assume its natural appearance the orange trees are not materially injured it is thought the next crop of oranges will be a larger one the lemons and guavers are begining to put up they were killed to the ground Willie received the Scissors she is very proud of them I was sorry to hear Jessey is in such bad health if he could have come out It might have been benificial to him We have been looking for Travis I have not heard from Harry or Trav Since Harry got home we still hear that our Railroad is to be built specialy the Florida Southern I understand will build that road from Brooksville to point Penallas this summer it will run about six miles east of me they have made the survey but I do not think anyboddy Knows what they will do thats our railroad co that never tells nothing They have got the money to do as they please Bettie says you must come to see us again we all join in love to you

Your Brother
WS Quertermous

Images of the letter are here and here.

This letter offers some wonderful insight to what life was like in Hudson during the late 1880's. William speaks of some of his crop being killed to the ground; this took place during the freeze of 1885. William also offers some excellent insight as to the construction of the railroads throughout the area and how the railroad companies did not inform the residents as to their plans. This letter was written about two years after William and Willie had moved to Hudson and we can see the progress of William's labor and improvements to his property.

Soon after this letter was written, on 03 March 1886 William Stanton Quertermous registered his cattle brand and ear crop marks, for his pigs. Since Florida was a free range state meaning cows and livestock could roam freely anywhere, whoever owned cattle or pigs were required to create and register a brand and ear mark with the county. These marks could identify the owner of the animals so there could be no confusion. Many times there were cow rustlers who would steal cows and sell them on the markets, these registered marks could also cut down on this black market crime. This means William Quertermous raised or owned livestock. During this time Hudson was a farm community, most of the residents grew many different types of crops. The items grown and raised were sold for profits, therefore making this industry the staple of Hudson at that time.

On 25 May 1887 one day after William's birthday, he passed away at age 58 and was buried on his 160-acres. When William died in 1887 his wife, Willie, was pregnant with child. In November of 1887, 6 months after William died, little Benjamin Quertermous was born the 4th child to William and Willie. Little Ben only lived for a short time and died in August of 1888, it is not known where Little Ben was interred. The deed for the 160-acre homestead, which William had applied for, was not issued until 17 May 1890, three years after William's death; the deed was issued to his wife Willie. Life became very difficult for Willie after her husband's death since she now had a 160-acre farm to tend by herself. On 18 April 1888 Willie mortgaged the entire 160-acres with a power of sale conditions if not paid back. Willie received a total of five hundred and sixteen dollars in this transaction. Oddly enough the monies from the mortgage came from William Stanton's younger brother Benjamin F. Quertermous, who soon after married Willie Irene. Shortly after the mortgage transaction Willie moved back to Dewitt, Arkansas where both the Cannon and Quertermous Families lived.

Now this is where the story gets a little interesting. After Willie had returned to Arkansas on 14 October 1888 she is recorded as marrying William's brother Benjamin Franklin Quertermous, who she also mortgaged her Florida property with, but that is only the half of it. In 1884 Benjamin had previously been married to Lillie D. Cannon, Willie's sister. It seems that after Lillie's death in 1884 and William's death in 1887, Benjamin and Willie decided to marry, their marriage took place in Dewitt, Arkansas and if you recall this was the location in which William and Willie had married. It appears that these two families really loved each other.

The current property owner continues to maintain the plot of William Stanton Quertermous. William's cause of death is unknown however yellow fever epidemics were out of control in Florida at that time. Quarantine stations had been set up at the train depots and stagecoach stations in attempts to control an epidemic people knew nothing about the spread of. After further examination of the property I was able to locate several orange trees, which William had planted, these oranges are no longer sweet from being frozen too many times. The Quertermous plot is not far from the Vereen Cemetery and has been mentioned in a newspaper article in the Tampa Tribune, date unknown but was not written recently. The writer was visiting the country cemetery called Vereen. Earnest Hicks son of W.A. Hicks took this reporter to the site, his dad owned a farm off of Hicks road not far from Quertermous and Vereen cemetery. The first headstone they reported coming to, is that of William Stanton Quertermous and it was found some two miles south of Vereen. This headstone and burial are not associated with the Vereen Cemetery but others may think so. William Quertermous passed away and may have desired to be buried on his own property. For not being in a cemetery this plot is very well kept and maintained. Hopefully through awareness of sites like this many others can be discovered and brought to the attention of those who care.

Left to right: Willie Irene Cannon Quertermous, wife of William Stanton (24 May 1829 - 26 Apr 1924); children Johann Elizabeth and William Stanton Jr. (dates of death are unknown).

This article was contributed by Jeff Cannon. It was last revised on Dec. 17, 2005.