As most Santa Rosa residents know, Milton Cemetery has graves of people who lived in Milton long ago, many who made history, and some who made Santa Rosa County their home, reared a family and was laid to rest. However, located in two plots of the cemetery are tiny graves in which Bill Bledsoe, caretaker of the cemetery calls Babyland. Bledsoe said the infants buried within the plot were either stillborn or had very short lives. Some were babies of military families, only in the area for a short time. More recent inhabitants of the plot were babies were stillborn and abandoned. Bledsoe said the saddest situation to him is the babies who only lived a day or so because the mother was on drugs.
“When mothers abandon their dead baby, the hospital sends the body to the funeral home. They ask me to bury them and I donate the plot. My heart goes out to the babies. I cannot imagine people abandoning life,” said Bledsoe.
There are no decorations celebrating the lives, no permanent headstones.
“We’ve had parents return throughout the years. About a month or so ago we had a couple who live in the northwest come, looking for their baby’s grave. They sent money once they got home to clean up the area,” said Bledsoe.
Bledsoe said volunteers to keep up the cemetery are few and far between. “We need people who care about the cemetery to give an hour a week. Just an hour—and it would make all the difference in the world—and have a beautiful, historic resting place,” said Bledsoe.
The City of Milton does not own the cemetery, said Bledsoe. It’s a private cemetery and he said there is no money to hire a regular groundskeeper. “We need help,” Bledsoe said.