Monday, May 20, 2024

It’s Known as The Rosewood Massacre

March 2024                                                           Most Recent Posts:
Cedar Key RV Resort                         Refuge, River, 3 Sisters and a Quarry
Site 77                                                  Paddling off the Coast of Cedar Key            
Sumner Florida

I hadn’t posted for over  a month before my most recent post a few days ago (first link above right).  It is apparent that many or most of my commenters use their phones to read and there has been no fix to the problem of the pictures only showing up on laptops and perhaps tablets but not on phones unless you click each picture individually.  I wish I could do something about that.

This post is pretty heavy so I will begin and end with some lighter parts of the rest of my stay at Cedar Key RV.

One of the highlights was getting a new mattress.  And about time.  I think the one I had was original to 20 year old Winnona.

Thanks to the help of neighbors it was

Out with the old

and in with the new20240209_154608


Memory foam.                                                                    All dressed.


One day rather than walk around the campground or drive somewhere new to hike, I walked further down the road the campground is on.  Several people told me they walked their dogs down to the cemetery so they could run and that it was an interesting place.  And so it was.  Much more so than they might have thought.


Many of the grave mounds are covered with clam and other shells.



As you can see, the markers at the top say only Grave.  No indication of who is buried there.  That struck me as unusual.


Others are specifically marked with names  but still covered with shells.


Some are decorated and adorned.  Some have chairs and benches nearby as if their loved ones visit them often.


Some graves reminded me of beds with slanted tombstones as pillows.

But these two graves with carvings saying Rosewood Hero sent me researching this cemetery and those two people.  What did Rosewood Hero means on the graves of John and Mary Wright.


After returning to the RV I looked up Shiloh Cemetery and “Rosewood Hero” and was shocked at what I found. 

John and Mary Wright were a white couple who lived in a house on Route 24, the route to Cedar Key, in the village of Rosewood, less than 3 miles from the RV park.  Rosewood was a community of about 300 people mostly black.

From an article in the Tampa Bay Times I learned that on January 1, 1923 a white woman claimed a black man had attacked her.  This turned out not to be true but it inflamed the Ku Klux Klan and throughout a week the vigilante crowd burned down the entire town and killed five black people.  Though other sources say the death toll was higher.

The Wrights owned the one store in town and operated it out of their 3 story Victorian House near the rail road station.  When the shooting began they sheltered  black women and children in their attic, a secret closet and down the well.  They kept them safe for 3 days until the sheriff could get a train conductor to take them to the town of Archer.  They never returned to Rosewood.  They had lost everything.  The town ceased to exist.

For almost 60 years no one said a word about the massacre.  No one was ever arrested or brought to trial.  Then in 1982 a St Petersburg Times reporter wrote about it and CBS news turned it into a national story.  I watch little TV and had never seen this.  Perhaps some of you had.  It was made into a movie entitled Rosewood in 1997 and in 2004 Governor Jeb Bush dedicated an historical marker along Route 24 at the site of the former town.   In the highway marker, the residents are referred to as colored.  In 2004!   Bullet holes now pock the metal.  Have we changed at all in 100 years?

Click the pictures to enlarge and read them.


The Florida Legislature also issue $150,000 checks to 10 people who could prove they lived in Rosewood Florida in 1923.  Count it up.  How old were these people?
It was the first time the state had paid compensation to Black people for racial injustice.    In 2020 the state of Florida established a Rosewood Family Scholarship Program for direct descendants of Rosewood families, paying up to 50 students a year,  $6,100 each.  More detailed information about all of this can be found in this Wikipedia article and on the Rosewood Heritage Foundation Website.   The foundation is making an effort to buy the Wright’s home and move it to Archer.

Rosewood had its own cemetery but it is unclear where the victims of the massacre were buried.   I had thought they might be in the unmarked graves in Shiloh but at the time, it would have been unusual for Black persons to be buried in a white cemetery.  I could find nothing that told me who those unmarked graves in Shiloh were or where the Rosewood victims were buried.

And now back to lighter and more positive fare.  I’ll keep my promise to talk about some of the restaurants I visited in the village of Cedar Key.


Starting with the most famous – Tony’s.   Tony’s is famous at least in the east for its clam chowder.  It took its third consecutive championship in 2011 at the 30th annual Great chowder Cook-Off in Newport, R.I.   Sure wish we’d planned our trip there some years ago around that.

You can’t come to Cedar Key and not try Tony’s.  You can also take it home by the case in cans as you can see on display in the restaurant below or order it on line from


I read that “The competition is judged by the tons of thousands of attendees each year who taste and evaluate chowders from near and far”.  Hmmmm tens of thousands doesn’t sound too inviting.   But bowls and bowls of clam chowder does.

Winning a third championship title automatically inducted Tony’s into the Great Chowder Hall of Fame, retiring the recipe from the contest.  In other words, give someone else a chance.  The event manager said “Tony’s Chowder is the Greatest Champion we’ve ever had.   And all from this little and I do mean little restaurant restaurant.


The chowder really was the star of the show even if my picture shows it off to the side beyond the salad I ordered to go with it.   It was so delicious, I didn’t read the ingredients.

The restaurant Motto is posted proudly on the wall.


Another popular restaurant is Steamer’s which is located on the dock on, of course, Dock Street.   It’s up that staircase.  No idea if there is an elevator.

Steamers Clam Bar Seafood Restaurant in Cedar Key FL

I took this picture of the dock businesses from the water the day I went over to Atsena Otie Key which I wrote about a few posts ago.

Waterfront Restaurant in Cedar Key, Steamers Clam Bar and Grill, pictured in the middle on Dock Street

My rescuers from the steps debacle at Silver Springs were both near enough by that they came to join me for lunch.  So wonderful to see them again.    From the front left they are

The atmosphere was wonderful, the food was good, the waitress was terrific and the company absolutely the best.  From the front left is Jim, me and Jim’s wife Judy.  On the opposite are Paige and Matt.


The Prickly Palm is just off the main street in Cedar key.  It is a female owned coffee/smoothie/acai/ gift shop. 


It’s a darling spot with umbrellas and tables outside and a few tables inside.  They have breakfast sandwiches, bagels, panins, tacos, burritos and sandwiches for lunch along with their coffees of all sorts, mimosas, milkshakes, smoothies and Acai Bowls


I’m not a coffee drinker and had already unfortunately had lunch when I came by. So I opted for an Acai Bowl and called it dessert.   I didn’t think to take its picture when it was fresh and beautiful.  I chose the Atsena Otie Bowl in honor of my kayak out to the key.  It consisted of Acai topped with granola, kiwi, pineapple, strawberry, banana, chia seeds, coconut and honey.   I pronounce it delicious and am glad it wasn’t totally gone before I got its picture.

Another local spot is the Second Street Cafe located next to the Welcome Center.  Second street is  the main street in town so I had passed the café many times and finally made it there for lunch just before they closed at 2:30 pm.   I took this picture after I left and was coming back from the park.  No cars in the parking lot out front.


When I came in nearly everyone was sitting outside.



I had been advised previously to get the SLT – Salmon, lettuce and tomato.  They don’t always carry it.  It was an excellent recommendation.  

2nd Street is a cute very popular diner.


The last spot I’m going to mention is Robinson’s Seafood.  They are a restaurant as well as a fresh seafood market and they do fishing charters.   They are also less than 1/2 a mile from the RV Park.   I literally drive by it any time I go anywhere other than into Cedar Key itself.

ROBINSON'S SEAFOOD, Cedar Key - Restaurant Reviews, Photos & Phone Number -  Tripadvisor

ROBINSON'S SEAFOOD, Cedar Key - Restaurant Reviews, Phone Number & Photos

Again I was there later in the afternoon.  I normally eat a late breakfast and a late lunch/early dinner.

I am sitting in a booth along the opposite wall as are the other diners.  The entry door is on the far right and the door next to it goes into the Market which you can see through the clear glass window.


First I had a bowl of their grouper chowder with hush puppies which was excellent. 


All the seafood dinners are fried except for the clams which I should have gotten but I am a lobster, crab and oyster lover in that order so I had the oysters.  They were fine but I must remember that I really don’t like things breaded and fried which is a problem in the south.   It came with baked beans and slaw.


As you can see, when I eat alone, I don’t go fancy.  I like little mom and pop and local not chain restaurants.    Cedar Key is full of them.  This is only a sample.


  1. You are on a roll Sherry!!! Way to keep us all connected and caught up!! Thanks for your time and energy!!!

  2. I saw the movie Rosewood several years ago. It was devastating and stayed with me. I was in Ocala and knew generally where it was located but Bel and I never went there. On another note, 5 out of all your photos showed up on my phone today. I plan to check it out on the computer thus evening. Thanks for the timely update. You are doing better than I am.

    1. Very excited to hear that some of the photos showed up on your phone. Thanks for letting me know. I'm amazed at how many atrocities happen with no one knowing. Who knew about Killers of the Flower Moon until perhaps Linda Hogan wrote Mean Spirit. And even then, it takes a movie to bring it to many people's attention.

  3. Cedar Key looks like a great place to visit and we love Mom and Pop restaurants.
    A sad story about Rosewood and it wasn't talked about for many years.
    Thanks for sharing your travels.

    1. I love my travels and am so glad you commented to let me know your thougthts.

  4. I like your eating style! I plan to emulate it.

    Virtual hugs,


    1. Judie, how great to hear from you. I think you are doing fine in the creative food category.

  5. I so enjoyed reading and great pictures of your stay at Cedar Keys. So much information that I had no idea about anything! So glad we will see you next year if all goes well! ❤️ Judy G…

    1. Thanks Judy for letting me know. I'm glad you enjoyed the post despite the grim aspect. See you next winter!

  6. Great read! Sad, but interesting, story. So glad they did something for some of them and their families after so many years. All that food looked great!

    1. So amazing that almost no one has heard of this travesty. Cedar Key has some fun places to eat for such a small town. Hope you'll get there one day. I know you both would like it.

  7. We had to replace the mattress in our Journey early on, it came with one of those sleep number mattresses. In a short while (just out of warranty, of course) it started losing air. It was no fun waking up looking we were wrapped like a giant taco. :cO
    Got a nice "real" mattress and from then on slept like a baby.

    1. I think we aren't the only ones with RV mattress stories. I'm actually pretty impressed that mine was so good for so long. But that's the blessing of having an older RV when they built them with care and to last rather than as cheaply as possible.

  8. That’s an interesting and sad story that I knew nothing about until today. Loved the pictures, as always. That Açaí Bowl looks right up my alley! Dad sure is missing out on some eats he would have really enjoyed. I’m glad you are enjoying. Crab before oysters on your wish list?!?! I never knew!

    1. I hadn't heard of this sad story either which is why I researched it. Glad you could learn something new about your mother - ha! Always think of your dad at a restaurant. It's not as much fun without him for sure but the bill is a lot lower. :-)

  9. How sad the Rosewood massacre was. There are other instances where a white woman makes an accusation that a black man (or boy) had assaulted or even made a comment to her and the black person is killed. No one investigates whether the accusation is true. The restaurants looked fun! I love the "Lick the Bowl". The grouper chowder does not look appetizing to me but I would have liked the hush puppies. Are there any fancy restaurants in Cedar Key? xxxooo

    1. Thanks for your comment Pam. I don't know that there are any really fancy restaurants in this laid back town but there are some fancier than I went to. I can't think of any with white table cloths though. LOL

  10. I didn't know about Rosewood. What a tragic, but unfortunately common story of horrible racial injustice. We encountered many stories like that when we visited the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, AL. How fortunate that the Wrights were there to shelter at least some of the town residents. On a lighter note, you sure did the restaurants justice in Cedar Key! You went to far more than we ever did. We enjoyed the fun smoothies at the Prickly Palm. Did you try the frozen chocolate covered Key Lime Pie at the cute little corner coffee shop? I would go back to Cedar Key just for that, LOL. Oh, and in answer to Pam's question, there's a fabulous fancy restaurant on the waterfront called 29 North. Best shrimp and grits I've ever had.

    1. I never got to 29 North. Didn't want to go alone. Wish you guys had been here. Didn't try Key Lime pie. I don't tend to like it but should have tried chocolate covered. Bummer.

  11. The shell-covered graves are unique and beautiful - and have held up well! I do remember the Rosewood history following the release of the movie, but didn't note it was near Cedar Key. Good lord "colored" in 2004 :-(. I doubt we've improved in 20 years. All those eateries look amazing - I'm pretty tired of Arizona choices!

    1. Now that you have your house in AZ, I doubt I could persuade you to come to FL for the winter. But I can dream. Would be fantastic to see you.

  12. Thanks for sharing this, Sherry. "Colored"? I have some things to say about that, but think I won't put them online. :-) Love the restaurant recommendations. Hope I make it there some day.

    1. Yes I have a lot of things to say about that. We should have lunch. Thanks for the comment.

  13. The Rosewood story is sad but well told. Love to see FL through your eyes. Unfortunately, I am allergic to the seafood.

    1. Oh Gaelyn I'm so sorry for your allergy. I'd rather be allergic to almost anything than seafood. It is my absolutely favorite food. I'm so glad you aren't tiring of Florida. Thanks so much for continuing to comment over the years.


Your comments help me in more ways than you can know. Thanks in advance.