Cemeteries

Cemeteries

Sanibel does have one “officially” recognized cemetery for people to visit but it is by no means the only area on the island where bodies where buried in the past.  Find out all about the Sanibel Cemetery and the “unofficial” cemetery that seems to have been removed from history.

The Sanibel Cemetery that everyone knows about has quite a few old headstones of some of the original families on Sanibel.  This one can only be accessed by bike or foot.  To visit this cemetery see directions below

From Casa Ybel rd– look for signs for Algiers beach (Gulfside City Park).  As you ride down Algiers you will see the bike path split away from the rd.  Follow this split and the cemetery will come up on your left.

From Middle Gulf Dr-As you ride down middle Gulf you will enter a slightly wooded area where the path splits.  Follow this split away from the road and the cemetery will appear shortley after entering the woods

If interested in the history of Sanibel this is a nice little hike to take.


A couple of the more intriguing cemeteries or burial sites can be found in the area known as Wulfert.  This is the area where Ding Darling wildlife drive exits and the Sanctuary golf club is located.  These sites seem to be forgotten about and removed from history and that might very well be the intention since they are among multi million dollar homes.

The first one is Bowen’s grave.  This one is located off Wulfert rd.  It is now marked as private property as someone is supposed to be trying to build some homes on the land (UPDATE-the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, SCCF, is trying to purchase this land to preserve) but this video was taken before any of that.  We heard the development of the houses is delayed due to so many Gopher tortoises  and a bald eagle nest.  Maybe it is because there is a headstone and grave site in the middle of the property!  Oliver Bowen was a river boat pilot and moved to Sanibel in his later years.  He asked to be thrown down his well as his burial and that is just where this headstone now sits.  As you drive down Wulfert rd towards the Sanctuary golf club this is just off the road on your left.

Oliver Bowens Approx. Gravesite location Sanibel Florida

Oliver Bowens approx. grave site location on Sanibel Island

We apologize for the quality of the below video.  It was taken years ago before HD and video stabilization were built into cameras.  This shows the walk to Oliver Bowens grave site

The second site is (was) a much larger cemetery but seems to have been erased from history.  In fact, if not for some luck and being sure we had seen this cemetery ourselves back in the 80’s before the Golf club was built, we would think it was never there.  After a lot of  detective work and looking though old papers that we will spare you the details of, we will just show the results here.  This cemetery was about the size of the other official Sanibel Cemetery off Casa Ybel rd that is listed above.  Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s the Sanctuary golf club was built in this area.  This plat was allowed to grow over and multi million dollar homes were built all around it.  While there are still bodies buried there, in 2013 we were unable to find any of the old headstones that used to be.  It is so over grown and full of poison ivy it is possible they had just fallen over and were still there and we missed them.

Location of the Wulfert Cemetery on Sanibel Island

Wulfert Cemetery Sanibel

This parcel now shows as being owned by City of Sanibel and as vacant government land but if you look back to 2009 tax record it was a different story.

Today this parcel is listed as vacant government land

Back in 2009 and earlier this parcel was listed as cemetery

If anyone is daring and wants to fight the poison ivy and mosquitoes and can find a gravestone or 2 please let us know
From what we can tell the people buried on this parcel are:
Stephen Decatur Hall
Carroway SR
Callie Carroway
Unnamed Carroway baby
Willie Brady
Dewey a farmhand
Mrs Dinkins monument (she was buried in Fort Myers but a monument was built here
Mason Dwight
Mrs. Dwight