Oakland Cemetery



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Oakland Cemetery, located two blocks from the historic district of

Trenton Tennessee was created shortly after the City was established in 1823.  The earliest grave is dated 1832 with the earliest birth date recorded being 1757.


Margaret Daveiss Hess, the first woman to plead a case in a United States Court is buried there along with two colonels and two majors in the Confederate Army.  An attached list compiled by Fred Culp, local historian, details other historically significant persons interred at Oakland Cemetery.


The site of Oakland Cemetery was the site where General Nathan Bedford Forrest placed his artillery during the Battle of Trenton on September 20, 1862.  The Battle of Trenton took place as General Ulysses S. Grant maneuvered his Union forces towards Vicksburg, Mississippi.  /files/Oakland Cemetary/trentondepot410x272_Resized_300x199.jpgGeneral Forrest was successful in capturing the Trenton depot from the Union forces and taking 700 prisoners.  This campaign through west Tennessee continued 15 days and was declared a complete success by Confederate authorities.


                  Trenton Depot

This location is included in a self-guided driving tour of the Battle of Trenton available to visitors to the City of Trenton.

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The centerpiece of Oakland Cemetery is a gazebo that was constructed in 1896.  This hexagonal structure is approximately 20 feet in diameter.  It has been restored and maintained by a dedicated group of concerned citizens and by the City staff.  Historical reenactments and other events are held there on a regular basis.


Oakland Cemetery is the only cemetery in the City of Trenton and serves as a final resting-place for many notable individuals as well as loved family members of the community.  It is a beautifully cared for area with incredible historical significance for the city.  The vintage markers give a visible, viable look into life at all stages of the City.  The old markers are valuable resources for persons studying Civil War history or family history.  It is important to future generations to preserve and protect this source of historical information.

The Oakland Cemetery Gazebo


The Oakland Cemetery gazebo was constructed in 1896 at the request of Dr. Happel and the Ladies Cemetery Association.  Trenton City Council made an appropriation for the construction of a gazebo to provide the ladies a shady place for their use on Sunday afternoons.  This gazebo is in close proximity to "confederate hill" where many fallen confederate and union soldiers are buried.  This gazebo represents an era that has long since passed when afternoons were spent /files/Oakland Cemetary/2008 BGM 07-31-0004_1.JPGpaying respects to departed loved ones and the fairer sex needed shelter from the elements.  In more recent years the gazebo has been central to activities taking place at the cemetery.  The Nite Lite Theater, the Cemetery Association and the Veterans Associations have used the gazebo and the cemetery to honor veterans and present walk through history productions.  All of these events are well supported by the community and any and all improvements would be noticed and appreciated by these community members.


Lumber for the wooden, octagonal structure was cut off site and assembled with a wooden floor.  During the next century the gazebo has been minimally maintained and at some point concrete was poured over the original wooden floor. 


The gazebo is in serious structural deterioration and the minimum maintance that has been done during the years is no longer adequate to preserve this building.  The City of Trenton has not been financially able to restore this structure and the potential for grant funding to preserve this before more damage happens is critical.


The City of Trenton is very committed to preserving this historic cemetery and all elements of this National Registry location.  Many dollars have been spent restoring old monuments and the city employees spend countless hours caring for this facility.  If awarded grant funds for restoration of the gazebo the City of Trenton has budgeted funds adequate for the required match.  The members of the Cemetery association have researched contractors and restoration specialists to determine what process to follow to restore the gazebo.  One person working with the committee is a retired builder whose grandfather worked on the original structure.  Every effort has been made to determine the best course of action and financial requirements needed.  The plans have been reviewed by Dr. Gavin, Professor at Middle Tennessee State University and consultant for the Tennessee Historical Society to insure that renovations meet the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Preservation Projects.


It is critical to the City of Trenton and to the Cemetery Association that this grant is made available to the City.  The 111 year old structure is endangered and the City lacks the ability to completely fund the restoration.  The historical heritage of this area is very important to the City and the National Registry recognition is proudly displayed at the cemetery.  The City will continue to recognize and acknowledge any contributions to this important structure in Trenton.
Oakland Cemetery Committee has received notification from the State of Tennessee that a grant will be issued to restore the gazebo in Oakland Cemetery. 
                                     Bruce Gill  Grounds Keeper

                                         Oakland Cemetery Committee
                  Contact Betty Poteet for information.  (731) 414-8815