in Dakota County for over 150 years. Established on June 7th, 1856, through the Oakwood Cemetery Association, J. S. Archibald, president; E. D.
Ayers, secretary; Oakwood's present day five acres has been, since 1861, a part of Nininger Township. Oakwood cemetery is a community burial
ground, never affiliated with a church or with a city or operated for profit. Its many years are a record of the people and events of Hastings area
development. And Oakwood's 150 or more plot owning familues each knew the hardship of those early times when Minnesota, granted statehood in
1858, was yet the Minnesota territory.
OCA records show additional burials in the years following 1856. Board positions list officer names such as H. B. Clafin, E. L. Parker, and Richard
Washington even while, in 1868, rival Lakeside Cemetery had been opened within Hastings city limits. May 1873 saw a re-organization of the OCA board
with Dr. C. P. Adams, president; Civil War veteran Major John Peller, secretary; and Charles Strauss, treasurer. Major Peller also, with a gift of $200.00
originated the perpetual care fund for Oakwood. And in 1884 the Fisher family donated a pump and water supply.
Other early records of Oakwood, through the turn of the century to pre-world war I days, show board service by members of many other Oakwood families,
among them Fisher, Oestrich, Sondermann, Schmith; later Twitchell, Dekay, Wilson, Manners, and Day. Indeed, many prominent early Hastings and Nininger
families, such as Caleff, Felton, (the first white women to reside in the area), Liddle, Countryman, Knapp, Chamberlain, Myers, and others have ties to
loved ones at Oakwood.
The years between WWI and WWII saw many changes for the Hastings area as board members from Kramer, Manners and Lowell families continued OCA
administration. Plot purchases, perpetual care donations, arrangements for graveside services, grounds care, annual meetings: all routine matters
were conducted faithfully.
In the 1950's, problems, lean finances left over from the depression years and departures from the area by younger families, confronted the OCA board.
The Dockstader, Manners, Whittle, Severson, and other families, boosted the perpetual care fund to $3000.00. In 1961, under Bessie Manners Dockstader
the board transferred official care of Oakwood to the Minnesota Historical Society.
Thus began 25 years of deterioration of the premises, prompting action by a local handful of families with Oakwood ties. In 1987, the Oakwood Cemetery
Association was reorganized. With a current acting board.
They created a program of restoration. Help came from the Dakota County youth services, VFW post members, Boy Scout troop members, other civic groups
and Nininger Township. With donations of equipment, money and time from many volunteers, a steady recovery was seen. Groundskeeping care by the Dakota
County Sentence to Service group, returned beauty and dignity to Oakwood's appearance. A special dedication ceremony Sept. 8 1990 for a veteran of the war
of 1812 interred at Oakwood in 1859, helped underscore Oakwood's historic significance.
Increasingly, Oakwoods link to both local and national history is recognized. Each year more people renew their ties to Oakwood Cemetery and its
traditions. Callers are always welcome, as we are developing files on each family and would be delighted to share information with anyone.
If you wish to make a donation or contact us for more info, please either email us at Contact@oacinfo.com or write to
Oakwood Cemetery Association
Attn: Robert Scott
423 West 5th Street
Hastings, MN 55033