Proclamation from Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.
On October 2, 2021 members of the Drawdy-Rouse Cemetery celebrated the 150th anniversary of the cemetery. There were many historical displays and several members of the Rouse and Drawdy families told about their family history.
A portion of the land where the Drawdy-Rouse Cemetery stands was originally 77 acres of land that was homesteaded in 1862 by the Drawdy family, made possible by the Homestead Act of 1862. In 1871 the Drawdy family set aside two acres of land for a family cemetery. Local pioneers were invited to be buried in the Drawdy family cemetery.
In 1927 the Rouse family bought an equal amount of land, to the south side, which adjoined the Drawdy cemetery site. In 1986 the two cemeteries merged, for a total of four acres of cemetery. There was never any marriage between a Drawdy and a Rouse.
William Drawdy (1827-1871) — the first Drawdy to be buried in the cemetery.
William’s widow Mary Ann (Wiggins) Drawdy (1827-1894) was the one who homesteaded the land where the Drawdy-Rouse Cemetery stands. Their daughter Amy rests in the cemetery (see below).
Steven Lyon Roberts, son of Albert Gallaton Roberts and Anne Elizabeth Mizell with his family moved to the Orlando area in 1858 from Micanopy, Florida, where he was born. He and his siblings were in the first class in the first school in Orlando. They settled in East Orange County at Fort Christmas where Steven met and married Dora Ann Jane Drawdy daughter of pioneer settlers in East Orange County. In the 1890’s Uncle Steve with his family removed from Orlando to Punta Gorda Florida where they remained several years before sailing around the southern tip of Florida where they settled in Cape Sable. They farmed, fished and hunted for their subsistence there. When the Everglades National Park was established they moved from Cape Sable to Florida City on the eastern edge of the park. Steven had become lovingly known as Uncle Steve to all who knew him. In the last years of his life he moved back to Orlando to live with his daughter Iola Roberts Partin. He has no grave marker but archived records from the funeral home show he was buried in the Drawdy/Rouse Cemetery. (Marker above is Dora Ann (Drawdy) Roberts.)
Willis A Rouse (1825-1877) — the first Rouse to be buried in the cemetery and the ancestor of all of the Rouse family members who are buried there. He was in Florida by 1856 when he married Eliza Jane Hollaman. They had 10 children. They were in Orange County by 1870.
Daniel Webster Rouse (1863-1954) was the son of Willis Rouse. He and his wife Mary Jane Ivey (1874-1963). See photo below of them.
A painting of the Rouse homestead, drawn by Myrtle Burleson Rouse. Where was this”cabin” located? We believe it was in the vicinity of Rouse Road. If you know, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leon E. Drawdy
Leon Drawdy was born 3 June 1913 St. Cloud, Florida. He died Nov. 12, 1962, Orange Co., FL
Ensign Drawdy served with future President John F. Kennedy on the PT109. At the time of his death, President Kennedy sent a letter to be read, as he was unable to attend the service. Leon Drawdy was mentioned in the book and movie, detailing the events of PT109.
Information on John F. Kennedy and PT-109 at https://www.jfklibrary.org/learn/about-jfk/jfk-in-history/john-f-kennedy-and-pt-109https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_Torpedo_Boat_PT-109http://pt-king.gdinc.com/PT109-5.html
“On the morning of April 25, 1943 Ensign Thom took the boat to Sesapi to pick up l09’s new CO — a twenty-six year-old product of Harvard who introduced himself to Thom as Jack Kennedy. That same day, the men who would make up the nucleus of the 109’’s new crew — Firemen Edmund Drewitch and Leon Drawdy, and Gunner’s Mate Charles Harris also reported to the boat.”
Leon Drawdy, second from left, standing. Jack Kennedy, standing, far right (shirtless).
July 1943, Members of the crew of PT-109 pose for a photo on deck.
Top row left to right are Al Webb (standing far left, friend and not a crew member), Leon E. Drawdy, Edgar E. Mauer, Edmund T. Drewitch, John E. Maguire.
Bottom row left to right are Charles A. Harris, Maurice L. Kowal, Andrew J. Kirkesy, Leonard J. Thom, and John F. Kennedy (standing far right).
Mr. Daniel Webster Rouse (above), a pioneer resident of Orange County and Union Park was born Jan. 1, 1863, in Americus, Georgia, and came to what was then known as Fort Christmas in East Orange County in 1869 with his parents, later moving to a home on Rouse Rd. in Union Park.
In 1897 Mr. Rouse married Mary Jane Ivey (above) of Orlando. For some time, Mr. Rouse was engaged in the cattle and citrus business. When Daniel died at the age of 91 in 1954 he left his wife, four daughters, two sons, 10 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
Here are links to stories of Rouse family history:
Richard Cronin’s website about Orlando Founding Families
For more information on the cemetery, contact:
or email email@example.com