Historic Oakwood Cemetery Improvements Facebook page
200 S. Leawood
Parsons, KS 67357
Hours: 7 a.m. to Dusk
History of Oakwood Cemetery
Oakwood Cemetery opened on June 1,1872. The original tract of 20 acres was given to the city by the Parsons Town Company, which was set up by Robert Stevens, superintendent of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad. Mr. Stevens had bought 2,560 acres of land from the settlers to form the City of Parsons. The city was officially founded on March 8,1871.
The first person to be buried at Oakwood was Hilda Aliza Holmes, nine-month old daughter of Dr. William Court Holmes and Aliza Holmes. Hilda Aliza was born on August 29,1871 and died on June 10,1872 of smallpox. She was buried at Oakwood the same day.
The Grand Army of the Republic Circles
The Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) was a national organization created after the Civil War for the benefit of veterans of that war. Its purpose was to aid veterans and their wives in time of need and to help the veterans in obtaining government benefits to which they were entitled, including pension and burial benefits.
The Grand Army of the Republic, Antietam Post No. 64 was organized on June 2, 1882, by Civil War veterans living in Parsons. Over 500 names were on the rolls.
They selected Antietam for the name of their post in memory of the Battle of Antietam fought on September 17, 1862 on the banks of the Potomac River. It was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Although the south won the battle, the tribute in naming the post Antietam was in memory of their lost comrades.
Circles One & Two
In May of 1886 the Antietam Post bought a portion of block 37, including lots 13 through 18 for circle number one. The original flag staff was placed in circle number one in 1887. It had stood at the intersection of 18th and Broadway in Parsons.
Circle number two was created in 1889 with the purchase of lots seven through 21 of block 38.
Prior to 1905 nearly $3,000 had been spent on circle number one and two. They were both enclosed with cut sandstone, coping, and cap-stones. The two 8-inch Columbiad Cannons were a gift from the war department in 1898 and were placed in circle number one the same year. They weigh 9,250 pounds each.
On March 1, 1905, a half-mill tax was levied on all taxable property in Labette County for the years 1905 and 1906. The proceeds were to be applied to improvements of the G.A.R. burial grounds.
The concrete rotunda in circle number one was constructed in 1905 and stands 28 feet in height. It is surrounded by a pyramid of cannon balls and an eagle.
In 1907 the concrete abutments were added to circle number two. The flagstaff was moved to the circle at that time. In 1911 the bronze statues were placed in circle number two. They were made by the W.H. Mullens Company of Salem, Ohio. The cast iron archway at circle number two was erected in 1913 and donated by the Ladies of the G.A.R. In 1921 the Sons of Veterans donated the memorial to the Unknown Soldier.
Gateway to Oakwood
On November 11,1911 the gateway to Oakwood was dedicated. The cast iron gateway was a donation of the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) The Parsons chapter was also responsible for starting the movement for perpetual care at Oakwood.