Paisley, Florida. Walt Disney's Roots
by Mike Miller
(Mount Dora, Florida)
Gravestone of Walt Disney's Maternal Grandparents
Paisley is a small unincorporated village between DeLand and The Villages on Lake County Road 42. CR-42 meanders along the southern edge of the Ocala National Forest, and is a pleasant drive along heavily forested rolling hills.
Altoona is a crossroads town at the intersection of State Road 19 and CR-42, and Paisley is between Altoona and DeLand. There is not much to see in the little village of Paisley, but just west of town on CR-42 is the small Ponceanna Cemetery.
The maternal grandparents of Walt Disney are buried side by side in this cemetery. Their names were Charles and Henrietta Call. Their grave site is toward the back of the cemetery and is in the form of a vertical white stone log.
History tells us that Walt Disney's parents also lived in Florida long before they moved to Chicago where Walt was born. Walt's father, Elias, married Flora Call on January 1, 1888, in Kismet, Florida. Kismet is now a ghost town, but back then it was located north of Paisley in the Ocala National Forest.
Flora is the daughter of Charles and Henrietta Call.
Another place worth visiting in the Paisley area is the Clearwater Lake Recreation Site run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The park has a swimming beach and a campground with 40 sites. It is nature at it's unspoiled best, and never seems to be crowded. The last time I visited I saw a fawn walking across the road. It scampered away before I could photograph it.
The ranger told me that 6 sets of twin fawns had been born that spring in the park woods. Camping spots are only $18.50 per night, and the restrooms look clean and modern. The campsites have no electricity, but campers can use generators until 10pm.
Altoona is a small nearby town west of Paisley and is quiet and charming. Two interesting buildings in town are the Altoona School and the Altoona United Methodist Church.