Main entrance to Oak Park Cemetery
After Quantrill's Raid in 1863, Lawrence survivors began to search for ways to memorialize those killed in the attack. In 1865, Lawrence purchased land for this new rural style, garden cemetery modeled on Boston's Mount Auburn Cemetery.
Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence, Kansas quickly became an important place for Lawrence residents who wished to commemorate August 21, 1863. Elaborate Decoration Day events were held at Oak Hill, and in 1895 the Quantrill's Raid Monument was directed.
The Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau's tour of Oak Hill Cemetery begins with the grave of Wilson B. Shannon, who was the Territorial Governor of Kansas from 1855-1856.
Just a few dozen feet south is the grave of Solon O. Thacher, who was the Chair of the Wyandotte Constitutional Convention, and a Kansas State Senator.
Then over near the roadway to the southeast to the grave of James H. Lane, who was the first U.S. Senator from Kansas. Lane was a US Army Officer and a Senator at the same time. His grave is marked with an 1870 three part, white marble obelisk which was made in Lawrence.
Then just a few more dozen feet to the southwest is the burial place of the John Speer, an Abolitionist leader who was a member of the Territorial Legislature and editor of the Lawrence Tribune for 16 years. During Quantrill's Raid, John Speer escape by hiding in a nearby cornfield. The raiders stole his horses, and set fire to the house, but when they moved on, his wife, Elizabeth Speer and their children were able to put out the fire and save the building. Two of Speer's sons, who lived away from the home, were killed in Quantrill's Raid
Back across the roadway to the east is the Quantrill's
Raid Monument. It was erected in 1895 as a memorial to the men and
boys who lost their life during the raid. The remains of most of Quantrill's
victims have been moved to this area of Oak Hill Cemetery. A mass burial
of some of the victims is just east of the Monument. A Lawrence Massacre
tour is available at www.kansastravel.org/quantrillslawrenceraid.htm.
Just north of the Quintal's Raid Monument, you will find the large three part, gray granite obelisk which marks the Haskell family graves. Dudley C. Haskell (1842-1883) was the U.S. congressman that the Haskell Institute and Haskell County were named after. John G. Haskell (1832-1907) was a state architect and designed the east wing of the Kansas Capitol building.
Moving to the far southeast corner of Oak Hill Cemetery, along the roadway in Section 5 is the grave of Lucy Hobbs Taylor, who was the first woman dentist in Kansas and the first woman to graduate from a U.S. dental college as a Doctor of Dental Surgery.
Then on to the northeast corner of Section 5 where you will find two modern head stones marking the graves of Charles and Mary Langston, the grandparents of poet & writer Langston Hughes, who grew up in Lawrence, Kansas.
Before going on to the next stop on the official tour, you might be interested in a grave on the south side of section 10. Elmer S. Riggs was a paleontologist who received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Kansas. He became the second curator of the Geology Department at the Field Museum. He died in Sedan, Kansas on March 25, 1963.
Photos copyright 2008-2013 by Keith Stokes