Oakwood Cemetery

On Saturday, May 12, members of the Trinity Arts Photo Club went to the Oakwood Cemetery in Fort Worth.  This is another mostly unknown gem in the DFW area for photography.  The cemetery was founded in 1879 by John Peter Smith.  It is on a beautiful plot of  land covered with large oak trees overlooking the Trinity River providing a great view of the Fort Worth skyline.

It was a quiet morning, cloudy and cool, allowing for excellent photography of the grave markers in soft light.  The grave markers were of all sizes, from modest flat stones to large mausoleums with bronze doors, with every size in between.  Several of the bronze doors were held closed by padlocked chains.  I was wondering whether that was to keep people out, or to keep people …..

I noticed headstones that looked like a tree stump with the words “Woodmen of the World” on them.  I had never heard of the organization and looked it up when I returned to my home.  They are a fraternal organization based in Nebraska that provides insurance to their members.  I found the following  information.

“One enduring physical legacy of the organization are distinctive headstones in the shape of a tree stump. This was an early benefit of Woodmen of the World membership, and they are found in cemeteries nationwide. This program was abandoned in the late 1920s as it was too costly.

Typically the headstones would include a depiction of the WOW relics—symbols of the organization. These include most notably a stump or felled tree (inscribed into a more generic monument in some cases, rather than the more noticeable instances of the entire monument being in the shape of the log or tree-stump); the maul and wedge; an axe; and often a Dove of Peace with an olive branch. As Woodmen “do not lie” a common inscription: “Here rests a Woodman of the World”.

There are many historical markers and the cemetery has a driving tour that will take you past most of them, including a former Texas governor, a soldiers row for confederate soldiers, and the grave of “Goose Neck” McDonald.  The website address is http://oakwoodcemetery.net/index.htm.

Here are a few photos taken during our excursion.

6 thoughts on “Oakwood Cemetery

  1. Nice job, Mark. Love all the pics and learning about the “Woodmen of the World”. Oakwood Cemetery also has a Saints and Sinners tour the last weekend of October every year…..might be fun.


  2. Mark, nice group of photos. I grew up with W.O.W in Louisiana, they used to give scholarships so I’m not sure about it ending in 1920. Like the skyline shots. Good work, thanks for sharing.


  3. Great Photos! Thank you for sharing…. that is interesting on the “Woodmen of the World” information. I was wondering about that too but didn’t look it up. Thank you for sharing that as well!


  4. Mark, I’m so glad you researched the meaning of the tree trunk monuments. I thought they were so unusual. I’m normally the “google queen” but hadn’t checked it out yet.

    It was a really good outing wasn’t it?



  5. on this cemetry are direct ancestors of my burried
    I just wonder how they died,
    a lot of bruinning’s are burried /died on the same day. How did they come to die.

    looks like a familydrama.
    Hard to get inforamtion about that.

    is there anyone who can do some research fot me in the local papers or so.
    I would be very thankfull
    theie names
    Jennie Bruinning, description/ died ? -2-7-2013. born feb 15 1905

    Garret Bruinning died ? 04-03-2006
    Grietje Bruinning
    Harm Bruinning
    Henry Bruinning
    Nellie Bruinning
    Baby Bruinning
    Albert Bruinning

    Klaas Bruinning

    7 of them died at the same day? -what’s been causing that

    I am Dutch and live in Schagen. The Netherlands


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