Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oakwood Cemetery, Syracuse, New York

Oakwood Cemetery, Syracuse, New York, was founded in 1859 as part of the rural cemetery movement in New York.


Located on the north side of the city of Syracuse, prior to Oakwood, burials were made at Rose Hill Cemetery on 11.8 acres. But while the plan followed the trend of other cemeteries in terms of being located either outside the city limits or on the edges of those limits, many people found the spot inaccessible and lacking in the natural beauty which many newer rural cemeteries could claim.

With land purchases in the southern section of the city in 1857 and 1858, 92 acres would be added and construction would begin with the help of Howard Daniels, a noted landscape architect. Over time close to 75 more acres would be purchased.


The Oakwood Cemetery Association (formally "The Officers and Trustees of the Association of Oakwood") was formed on August 15, 1859 with Elias Warner Leavenworth, the cemetery's main proponent, as president.


The dedication of Oakwood Cemetery took place on November 3, 1859 and like similar ceremonies in other large New York cities such as Buffalo and Albany, the ceremony encompassed almost every aspect of Syracuse. Schools closed for the day as well as public offices. And the first burial took place five days later on November 8, 1859 and the first monument was erected in 1860.

Famous Burials

Andrews, Mary Raymond - Novelist

Avery, Matthew Henry - Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General

Barnum, Henry Alanson - Civil War Union Brigadier General, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient

Baumgras, Peter - Artist

Belden, James Jerome - U.S. Congressman

Bennett, David Smith - U.S. Congressman

Blackwell, Carlyle - Actor, Director

Crosier, William Henry Harrison - Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient.

Davis, Thomas Treadwell - U.S. Congressman

Driscoll, Michael Edward - U.S. Congressman

Earll, Nehemiah Hezekiah - U.S. Congressman

Franklin, Herbert H. – Inventor

Geddes, James - U.S. Congressman

Granger, Amos Phelps - U.S. Congressman

Heermans, Forbes – Author

Hiscock, Frank - U.S. Congressman

Hough, William Jervis - U.S. Congressman

Kenyon, John Snyders - Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient

Kirkpatrick, William - U.S. Congressman

Kritz, Karl – Conductor

Laflin, Addison Henry - U.S. Congressman

Leavenworth, Elias Warner - U.S. Congressman

Peck, John James - Civil War Union Major General

Poole, Theodore Lewis - U.S. Congressman

Sedgwick, Charles Baldwin - U.S. Congressman

Stickley, Gustav - Furniture maker and pioneer of the American Arts & Crafts Movement

Sumner Sr., Edwin Vose - Civil War Union Major General

Tracy, William Gardner - Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient

White, Horace – Governor of New York


Organized: August 15, 1859
Dedicated: November 3, 1859
Location: Syracuse, New York
Size: 160 acres
Active: Yes


Photo albums - various cemeteries (Oakwood, Boonville, Mt. Adnah) from Old Fulton NY Postcards:


Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

If anyone drives through Syracuse, Oakwood is the cemetery you see from I-81 just south of the city. It is just south of the SU campus

Cheryle Hoover Davis said...

Hi Thomas,

Because I like your blog:

I nominated you for the Proximidate Award!

Please go to

for more information!

Robin said...

Thank you to you and all the other Graveyard Rabbits who post information about cemeteries across the us. I have family from New York that I am searching for and I might actually be able to find something now.