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Lake County, IL
Oakwood Cemetery


From the Lake County Register, 26 Sep 1923

The Oakwood cemetery, now Oakwood Memorial Park at Waukegan, one of the best known cemeteries in this section is going to be beautified. Better walks and drives will be built. A fence extending all the way along the east boundary line is most essential and will be erected.

Following is a bit of the history of the cemetery...

Ex-Senator Wm. E. Mason, the late judge Henry W. Blodgett, who was U.S. District Judge (followed later by Kennesaw Landis), Judge Francis Clark, besides Judges W.C. Upton and Charles Whitney, are a few of the 4,000 former citizenry whose remains repose in Oakwood cemetery, Waukegan.

Others recall Dr. V.C. Price, who was known the world over as the baking powder manufacturer, Mr. A.S. Sherman, one time mayor of Chicago, C.R. Steele, who funded the 1st National bank of Waukegan, W.B. Dodge, an ex-mayor of Waukegan, as was also W.B. Worden. These well known and honorable men were buried in Oakwood.

Ex-members of the Illinois State legislature, Hon. George R. Lyon, also his parents, H.S. Berry who conducted a grist mill and had a grocery, Alex Worster (in mausoleum), a widely known theatrical leader in Germany (he used to live in the house now owned and occupied by Dr. J.C. Foley) was a royal entertainer of great singers and actors, are a few of those who were well and favorably known in earlier days in Waukegan.

Looking backward, we see the Hon. E.M. Haines, first the young school master and maker of the first map of Lake county; then "school commissioner" (now called county supt. of schools), postmaster of the town named for him and incorporated Feb. 26, 1847. Next this most notable citizen and prominent man of affairs - indeed his fame became national - because a citizen of Waukegan, practicing his profession of lawyer, in the year 1852, for years assemblyman, twice speaker of the house where he proved himself a past master in the arts of parliamentary practice. A man of great address and mastery through the subtle workings of an imperious mind. He was buried in Oakwood in 1889.

Robert J. Douglas, nursery man, who had several valuable nursery forests (it was he who planted all the pine trees on the plats north of town), the Rev. J.M. Strong who preached for years here, Wm. Besley, Sr., also Ed and Byron, all lay beneath the sod in this famous burial ground.

Then too, we must make mention of Daniel Brewster and his son Jay, more recently called to his fathers, (this year 1923).

Many of the older citizens will recall:
D.O. Dickinson, who used to deal in wool, grain, etc., he kept a warehouse and elevator. Shipping here exceeded Chicago's in the early days. Another warehouse man, W.C. Case was where Griffin's Garage is now located.

Attorney Searles, Robert and Ben Marks, Henry Helmholz (one of the most charitable and hospitable of men), John Sessler, George H. Slyfield, Erastus Fellows (was farmer located at what is now 18th street) and Fenner Ward are a few names without which this article would not be completed.

Below we reproduce a few of the epitaphs chosen at random:

W.G. Smith - Died Dec 2 1854
Theodore Smith - Died Dec 9, 1848
Samuel J. Smith - died 1849
Ethans (Elhanan), wife of A. Smith - died June 1850
Benj Minskey - died Oct. 1, 1851
J. Brown Porter, contracting carpenter, died 1881
Sarah Porter, 1853
Sarah Porter, daughter of Jeremiah and Alossa Porter - died July 26, 1836, aged 22 years, 11 months
Col. Crockett - 1818-1891 (was colonel in Confederate Army)
Emmons Plymouth - 1796-1860
Olive Sunderlin - 1837-1839
Elmsley Sunderlin - 1801-1854
Sarah, his wife, 1817-1846
Wm. S. Searles, 1820-1884
Emily Cuthbert, his wife - 1828-1854
Henry Miller - 1792-1855
W.S. Pearce - 1824-1909
Isaac Griswold - born Feb. 22, 1784 (5 years before George Washington became president), died Aug. 27, 1869.
Anne Ervin, his wife, 1789-1859 (they were relatives of the Upton's)
Capt. Hiram Huguinn, died in the Phoenix Waukegan Opera house fire, Dec 14 1866, aged 68 years

D.W. Arnold, who conducted a Livery Stable, old settlers will recall his stand with the city scales out in front.

Sarah Jane Besley, death recorded taking place 1831 (this was before Lake County was settled)

Caroline Neal, died in 1830

There is not one person buried in Oakwood not on record and the whole list is believed to be duplicated in Mr. Bidinger's brain. He has taken much interest in his work as Superintendent employed by the city of Waukegan. Hence this city is doing its duty in this unusual responsibility.

Other names suggested buried in Oakwood Memorial Park
Ruben S. Botsford, old settler
Philip Brand, old time barber
Samuel J. Bradbury, Publisher, Lake County Patriot
John R. Bullock, M.D. prominent physician, helped to organize Jane McAlister hospital.
Reuben E. Coon, ex-state Senator, Editor Waukegan Gazette.
henry W. Dorsett, ex-postmaster Waukegan.
Lewis C. Dorsett, ex-county clerk Lake county.
D.M. Erskine, real estate and insurance.
Henry C. Hutchinson, merchant, ex-mayor
Judge D.L. Jones, was county Judge, born in a log house in Warren Township, 1842
Clarence Murray, ex-postmaster.
Geo. N. Powell, was chief of police; then sheriff of Lake county
General George Clark Rogers, son of Captain Charles Rogers, is but one of many heroes whose dust has returned to dust in Oakwood. Born in New Hampshire, he came to Lake county in the year 1857, was educated at the famous Wauconda Academy and was admitted to the bar in 1860, coming to Waukegan to practice law. He stumped for the "Little Giant" in the campaign of 1860, but when Lincoln was elected gave his adhesion to the party of the Union and was one of the first to enlist and was one of the first to assist in raising a company of volunteers in Lake county. He enlisted as a private soldier, but was mustered in as a First Lieutenant and soon after made Captain and Brigadier General. Gallant conduct at the battle of Shiloh won for him the commission of Lieutenant Colonel, and shortly after, for bravery, was made Colonel of the regiment. He was wounded many times. General Rogers commanded the Second Brigade of the "Fighting Fourth Division of the 17th Army Corps" for about a year and a half and was nearly idolized by his men because of his humane qualities.

Lake County Register, 26 Sep 1923
Transcribed by K.T.



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