Along with the old cemetery, the church’s mission bell (lodged into its front wall) is the only extant reminder of Tampa’s historic past. It’s a colorful past with a cast of characters that includes the Ybor cigar-making family (whose tomb is here), statesmen, businessmen, Confederate soldiers, scalawags and pirates. The latter, I must confess, is the main reason I sought the place out. Photos of its pirate graves were all over the Internet and I needed to see them!
“I always got this feeling when I walked into this particular cemetery like you are being watched, but not by anything sinister necessarily.” (ref)
"Florida, like all other states, has a fascinating and romantic history. Seven different flags have flown over her, not to mention the black flag of the pirates. Florida became the haven of many notorious pirates, including Blackbeard, Lafitte, Gasparilla, Kidd, Rackham, Bowlegs, Bonnett, and possibly even Morgan himself [Morgan Street borders the west side of Oaklawn] . They roamed the waters of the Caribbean Sea, and captured every ship in sight. Often, they brought their loot back to Florida, and buried it on some lonely shore. When they finally died, the location of their hidden wealth died with them. The majority of all buried treasure in Florida is the work of pirates." (ref)