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- - - - HISTORY OF UNION SOLDIERS CEMETERY - - - -

OKLAHOMA COUNTY OK

The military department got the land for this cemetery from the State Board of Health in 1950 and turned it over to the Adjutant General's Office in 1953. Originally, the cemetery was part of the Old Union Soldier's Home, thus the name of Union Soldiers Cemetery or Union Cemetery. Later, the name was changed to Oklahoma Veterans Cemetery to better reflect the military services of those buried there. The cemetery was officially designated as an historic site of Oklahoma in October of 1960. It is still open for burial of honorably discharged veterans and their families.
Records show the cemetery covers ten acres. The graves take up only one corner within the iron fenced in area. Most of the tombstones are arranged in straight, military-like sequence with a flagpole in the center. Some of the tombstones are small and white, showing just names and companies of those buried there.
A good source for this cemetery's history is Dale Talkington's books in the OHS Research Center. Newspaper articles have been clipped and preserved at the Oklahoma Historical Society Library. Unfortunately, the exact date of the articles and the names of the newspapers were not always noted.
A 1965 newspaper article by Tom Boone describes the seldom-used dirt road leading to the cemetery, the rusted flagpole, and parts of the fence rusted and in need of repair. All that remained of some headstones was a bare staff stuck in the ground. Two Boy Scouts brought this to the attention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars who in turn asked the Oklahoma legislature to preserve the cemetery.
The legislature created a Veteran's Memorial Commission made up of the Commanding General of the 45th Division, the State Commander of the American Legion, the State Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars, the State Commander of Disabled American Veterans, and the Chairman of the State War Veterans. The legislature declared three acres of the cemetery to be used as a memorial.
Ron Wolfe's May 1979 article in the Oklahoma City Times was titled, "Union Cemetery Tucked Away in Wildflowers." The article reported some of the unusual facts about the cemetery. Six men buried there have two stones each. Two men share one grave, sixteen have no stones, and there were fighters in the Indian Wars. There are men buried there who served for nine Union states; Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Tennessee. Most stones mention no dates of birth or death. Some only have a small stone to mark a resting place.
A 1963 cemetery canvass in the Oklahoma Historical Library lists 50 names from readable stones. Other sources mention differing numbers of graves {67, 69, 75} because it is an active cemetery. There are ten unmarked graves.
{Information obtained from OK County Cemetery Index - compiled by OK County HCE Genealogy Group, page 79}.


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This page was updated: Tuesday, 27-May-2014 19:49:33 CDT
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