Oakwood Cemetery historical marker

Oakwood Cemetery (H-67)

Governors Aycock, Bragg, Fowle, Holden, Swain, and Worth, other notables and Confederates buried there. 3 blocks E.

Location: North Person Street at Oakwood Avenue in Raleigh
County: Wake
Original Date Cast: 1959

Oakwood Cemetery was founded in 1869 by the Raleigh Cemetery Association. Covering approximately 102 acres, the cemetery is located in the northeast section of the city and within walking distance of the State Capitol. Its landform is that of rolling hills and its gardens displaying an array of trees, flowers, and shrubs.

Oakwood originated as the Confederate Cemetery, founded in 1867 by the Ladies Memorial Association of Wake County. After receiving short notice that the bodies of the Confederate soldiers had to be moved from the Federal Cemetery, the Association organized the removal of 500 graves to be reinterred at the site. Land for the new cemetery was donated by Henry Mordecai, a prominent citizen of Raleigh and a state legislator.

Since its founding, many notable city and state leaders have been buried at Oakwood. Among them are eight governors: David L. Swain (governor, 1833-35); Charles Manly (1849-51); Thomas Bragg (1854-58); Jonathan Worth (1865-68); William W. Holden (1865, 1868-71); Daniel G. Fowle (1889-91); Charles B. Aycock (1901-05); and Dan K. Moore (1965-69). It is estimated that about 1400 Civil War soldiers are buried there. Located next to the Confederate Cemetery is the House of Memory, built in 1935, which recognizes other North Carolina men and women who have served the nation during times of war.

Oakwood is a non-profit cemetery, open everyday to the public. Those buried there reflect the diversity of the people living in the city and the state. Guided tours are offered to anyone interested in the stories associated with its tombstones, monuments and famous dead. It has been described as a “modern cemetery designed to be a resting-place for the deceased which could be enjoyed by the living.”

Elizabeth Reid Murray, Wake: Capital County of North Carolina (1983)
Jo Craven, “Whispers from the Past,” Herald Sun/Raleigh Extra, September 18, 1994
Historic Oakwood Cemetery website: https://historicoakwoodcemetery.org/

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