DELAND, Fla., August 15, 2017 Beneath a moss draped tree, Florida Hospital DeLand hosted a special service in the hospitals memorial garden on Aug. 15, honoring the unmarked graves that were found during construction to expand the hospitals cardiac catheterization in July 2014.
The event also coincided with the two-year anniversary of the opening of the $3.5 million, 6,740-square-foot expansion to Florida Hospital DeLand's cardiac catheterization lab.
Pastor Johnny Long of First Baptist Church DeLand led the events invocation.
When the remains were initially found during construction two years ago, archaeologists from Prentice Thomas and Associates uncovered 21 graves dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s.
This undocumented gravesite was unbeknownst to us, or Volusia County for that matter, said Hector de Jesus, Florida Hospital DeLand chief operating officer. The hospital was built in 1962 and subsequent to that, this land was basically orange groves, so this was quite a surprise to us.
Archaeologists determined that the property the hospital was built upon was formerly a county poor house. In the 1890s, the area was converted into an agricultural poor farm, where those less fortunate could live and support themselves. Unfortunately, many who ended up living on this poor farm tended to be elderly or in poor health. Many of those who died were presumably buried on site.
Because the graves were not marked with headstones and Volusia County archives did not have any official record of who was buried in the cemetery, the remains were transported to a laboratory in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., for further analysis.
The remains have now found their final resting place at Oakdale Cemetery in DeLand. Long of First Baptist Church DeLand performed the ceremony when the hospital laid these remains to rest.
About Florida Hospital DeLand
Florida Hospital DeLand is a member of Adventist Health System, a faith-based health care organization with 45 hospital campuses and 8,200 licensed beds in nine states, serving more than 5 million patients annually. With a mission to extend the healing ministry of Christ, Florida Hospital DeLand has 164-beds and is one of the seven Florida Hospitals in Flagler, Lake and Volusia counties that composes the Florida Hospital Central Florida Division - North Region. As the largest hospital system in the area, the Florida Hospital Central Florida Division - North Region has 1,226 beds and more than 7,800 employees.