Oakwood Cemetery, Troy NY

Oakwood Cemetery is a non-sectarian not-for-profit cemetery located in Troy, NY and widely known as the final resting place of "Uncle Sam" Wilson.  Founded in 1848, the still active cemetery is designed and maintained as a rural park-like setting with hundreds of acres of both wooded and open space, 10-12 miles of winding roads and several beautiful ponds and waterfalls. In addition to the lovely sculptures and mausoleums, it is enjoyed for birding and wildlife (from Indigo Bunting to Bald Eagle, Red Fox to Deer) as well as its unusual plants and trees, including rocky summit grasslands, rare prairie grasses and old-growth trees. It is a popular spot for runners, dog-walkers, nature-lovers and families alike.  History buffs will especially appreciate the spectacular panoramic view of the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers and the lock system, so significant to the Erie Canal and the Industrial Revolution.

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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 42.7529525 Longitude: -73.6706364 Elevation: 271 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Heidi Klinowski

Season And Hours Open

Open year round. There are 3 entrances: The Main Gate at Oakwood Avenue (Route 40) is open 8AM - 7PM daily. The gates at 101st St. and at 114th St. are open 9AM - 4PM (weather permitting)

Time Period Represented, Associated Church And Known Families

Both the 1848 cemetery and the 1889 Gardner Earl Memorial Chapel are Nonsectarian.

Among Oakwood's famous "residents" are: "Uncle Sam" Wilson; financier Russell Sage and his philanthropic wife Olivia Slocum Sage; Emma Willard, pioneer in women's education; Civil War General George Thomas the undefeated "Rock of Chickamauga"; local Civil War soldier & author Rice C. Bull, and NYS Senator George Tibbits who helped convince Gov. DeWitt Clinton to build the Erie Canal.

Where Genealogical Resources Can Be Found

Hand-written records of the more than 60,000 burials are currently being transcribed by volunteers for future online access. Inquiries may be sent to oakwood_cemetery@yahoo.com with GENEALOGY in the subject line.

The main office is located at the gatehouse at 50 101st Street, Troy, NY 12180.
Office hours are Mon-Fri 8AM-4PM, Sat. 8:30AM-12 noon. Closed Sundays.
Maps of the cemetery are available on the office porch.

Don't Miss This When Visiting

 

  • The Panoramic Overlook:  A spectacular 100-mile view of the historic Hudson River Valley.  A  large permanent graphic key will help you locate an assortment of natural and historic man-made features such as the locks of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, the Cohoes Falls to the Northwest, and the Helderbergs to the Southwest.   
  •  The Gardner Earl Memorial Chapel, the jewel of Oakwood: Gardner Earl, who died in 1887 at the age of 35, was the only son of William S. and Hannah Gardner Earl. After his wish to be cremated had to be fulfilled in Buffalo, his parents decided to build this historic chapel and crematorium, sparing no expense. Tiffany windows, marble mosaics and carved oak are highlights of this gorgeous Romanesque building. Funerals, memorials and even weddings are frequently held here. Open by appointment or for scheduled group tours (fee charged) call 518-272-7520 or email oakwood_cemetery@yahoo.com        
  •  Uncle Sam's Grave: Yes there really was an Uncle Sam!  Samuel Wilson of Troy was a butcher and meat-packer who provided barrels of beef for troops during the War of 1812. When local soldiers who knew him saw U.S. stamped on the barrels, they remarked "That's Uncle Sam's beef." Soon the name caught on in connection with the United States government and in 1961 Congress declared Samuel Wilson as the progenitor of "Uncle Sam".  Wilson, his wife and two children are all buried at Oakwood.                 The city of Troy,  "The Home of Uncle Sam".  holds a huge parade every September in his honor.

Identify And Describe The Management Organization

Oakwood Cemetery aka the Troy Cemetery Association Inc. is overseen by a volunteer Board of Trustees and managed by Administrator Bernie Vogel. There are 2 additional full time staff and 2-4 part-time seasonal grounds crew. The Friends of Oakwood Cemetery is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to supporting the cemetery through fund-raising tours and events, clean up work days, data entry, office work and more. If you are interested in helping preserve and share the history of Oakwood please contact us by calling 518-272-7520 or email us:  oakwood_cemetery  at  yahoo.com 

Suggested Further Reading

Soldiering: The Civil War Diary of Rice C. Bull  is considered one of the top sources of Civil War accounts of a soldier's daily life.

Additional Notes

There are no fees involved with visiting Oakwood on your own.  Children must be under supervision at all times. Dogs must be leashed and cleaned up after.

 Per person fees are charged for guided tours of the cemetery and chapel and  other special fund-raising events. See our current calendar of tours and events at www.oakwoodcemetery.org 

A restroom is available during scheduled events.  The Gardner Earl Chapel is available for weddings as well as funerals and memorial services.

Fees

no

ADA Accessible

yes

Tours Are Offered

yes

Site is Child-friendly

yes

Site is Pet-friendly

yes

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