Originally called Lollar’s Cemetery and later City Cemetery, this burial ground was located on land purchased by John Lollar in 1846. Five acres were reserved for cemetery use when Lollar sold his land to John Madison Patterson in 1849. Burials began in the 1840s, but many early gravestones have been lost. The oldest marked grave is that of four-year-old P. M. Scott, who died in 1852. The graves of numerous confederate soldiers, who died in the Civil War (1861-1865), are situated in a raised section east of central drive. In another separate portion is the Jewish Beth-el Cemetery, where the oldest grave is that of 19-year-old Rachel Wolinsky, who dies in 1884.
In 1903, additional land was acquired and the cemetery renamed Oakwood. City officials hired William A. Woldert (1885-1937) to map the grounds, located old graves, and lay out more walkways. Further improvements were made by WPA Labor in the 1930s, when Oakwood was again enlarged. By the 1970s, the burial ground contained 19.5 acres with over 2,000 marked graves.
Many of Tyler’s most prominent citizens are buried here, including Judge Stockton P. Donley (1821-1871), Texas Supreme Court Justice,; and governor Richard B. Hubbard (1832-1901), who also served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan.