History of Oakdale Cemetery

Oakdale Cemetery was chartered on December 27, 1852 by the General Assembly of North Carolina. The founders purchased 65 acres for $1,100. The acreage now has grown to about 100 acres of natural beauty. Created during the era of the Rural Cemetery Movement in the US, Oakdale was the first in the state, only fitting for the most populous city in the state at the time. It was five blocks beyond the town boundaries.

Old Iron Chain Fence

Old Iron Chain Fence

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Trask Family History

Who are the Trasks?
By: Ben Steelman
Star News

Trask Family Plot, Oakdale Cemetery Wilmington NC 
A family of farmers, businessmen and civic leaders, the Trask family left its mark on New Hanover County for more than a century and a half. Pioneers in the lettuce and truck farming industry, they later switched to growing subdivisions and shopping centers on their land — and, in the process left their name on a number of local landmarks.

The patriarch of the clan, Daniel Webster “Web” Trask (1847-1930) was born into a relatively poor farming family in the Masonboro Sound area of New Hanover County. He served in the Masonboro Militia, a Home Guard unit, in the latter days of the Civil War and made his start growing cabbages and collards on Prospect Hall farm, which he inherited from his mother.

A compulsive reader of farm magazines, Web Trask had the idea to cover his beds — first with boards and later with cheesecloth — to protect his plantings, so he could get his produce to market two or three weeks earlier than anyone else’s. By 1890, his crop was so big, he shipped his surplus north on the Atlantic Coast Line railroad and began to cultivate buyers in New York and elsewhere.

The Trask produce business would really take off, however, under Web’s son George W. Trask (1876-1963). A hard worker, the younger Trask started off around 1897 with a small farm, Blythe Savannah, in the Winter Park community. (His chidren later joked that it was neither blythe or a savannah.)

In 1902, however, with money borrowed from his father, George Trask bought a farm in the Wrightsboro community, close to the Atlantic Coast Line tracks, from his uncle Christian H. Heide (who suffered from tuberculosis and wanted to move to the North Carolina mountains for his health).

Within two years, George W. Trask had paid off his father, and by 1907, he could afford to have Wilmington architect Henry Bonitz build a spacious farmhouse for his family — later known in family lore as “The Big House.” Carefully investing his profits, he steadily bought more land, until the family tracts amounted to thousands of acres. Bringing in his sons as partners, he founded George W. Trask & Sons to handle the northern export business. By the time of his death, his obituary in the Morning Star hailed him as “the first commercial planter of field green lettuce on the Eastern seaboard.”

In his spare time, George W. Trask served as a New Hanover County Commissioner from 1918 to 1950. He and his wife, Emma Gertrude McEachern Bornemann Trask, had 11 children and left 32 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.

Among George Trask’s children was C. Heide Trask (1902-1957), who followed his father into the family business and worked intensively on refrigerating produce. C. Heide Trask was chairman of New Hanover County’s Selective Service (draft) board, 1940-1955, and was chairman of the board of James Walker Memorial Hospital. At the time of his death, he was a member of the State Highway Commission. One of his major accomplishments was pushing through the drawbridge over the Intracoastal Waterway to Wrightsville Beach, which was named in his honor when it opened in 1958.

Trask High School in Pender County is also named for C. Heide Trask; the Trask family donated land for the school’s campus.
Another of George W. Trask’s sons was Raiford Graham Trask (1916-1993), who ended up leading the family in new directions. He developed a number of Wilmington subdivisions on former Trask farmland, including College Acres, Long Leaf Acres and Kings Grant, and he was co-developer of Figure Eight Island and the Duck Haven Golf Club. He also built several shopping centers.

Like others in his family, Raiford Trask entered politics. He served on the Wrightsville Beach Town Council and was mayor of Wrightsville Beach, a New Hanover County Commissioner (1952-1956) and a trustee of Wilmington College for 10 years. He donated much of the land for the present campus of the University of North Carolina Wilmington (and sold much of the rest to the college at bargain rates). Trask Coliseum on the UNCW is named in his honor. In 1973, Raiford Trask donated large tracts of land to the New Hanover County school system. Trask Middle School is named for his mother.

Many members of the Trask family are buried at Wilmington’s Oakdale Cemetery. The family monument is decorated with carvings of cornstalks and lettuce heads, sources of much of the family’s prosperity.

“The Trask Family — 1986″ by George Graham Trask provides much genealogical data, and “The Carolina Trasks” by Frederick Graham Trask offers family history and stories. Both books are available for study in the local history room of the New Hanover County Public Library, 201 Chestnut St., Wilmington [Map this].
Date posted: June 3, 2009
User-contributed question by:
Linda Rooks Richardson

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Famous People Buried at Oakdale Cemetery

Famous People Buried at Oakdale Cemetery

David Brinkely
Birth: Jul. 10, 1920
New Hanover County
North Carolina, USADeath: Jun. 12, 2003
Harris County
Texas, USA
Television Personality/Newscaster. Brinkley was born on July 18, 1920, in Wilmington, North Carolina. He was a main fixture on television for over 50 years including on NBC and ABC, beginning his career as a broadcaster in the 1940s. Appearing as a co-anchor with Chet Huntley on the news program, "The Huntley-Brinkley Report" from 1956 to 1970, and "This Week With David Brinkley" from 1982 until he retired in 1997. In 1992 he won the George Foster Peabody Award for his report on the 50th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, during World War II. He also appeared as a narrator on the 1961 film, "The Challenge of Ideas" and as himself in an episode of, "The Jack Benny Program" on September 25, 1964. He was well-known to television audiences as a news analyst for his terse, biting comments and dry wit. He was also the recipient of two more George Foster Peabody Awards, 10 Emmy Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor. In 1995 he wrote his memoirs, "11 Presidents, 4 Wars, 22 Political Conventions, 1 Moon Landing, 3 Assassinations, 2,000 Weeks Of News, and Other Stuff On Television." He retired from broadcasting in 1997. He died June 11, 2003, at the age of 82, after a fall at his home in Houston, Texas. (bio by: K)

Family links:
  William Graham Brinkley (1875 - 1928)
  Mary West Brinkley (1879 - 1966)

Search Amazon for David Brinkley Burial:
Oakdale Cemetery
New Hanover County
North Carolina, USA
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jun 12, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial# 7567008

John Dillard Bellamy
Birth: Mar. 24, 1854
New Hanover County
North Carolina, USADeath: Sep. 25, 1942
New Hanover County
North Carolina, USA
US Congressman. Bellamy was a member of the North Carolina State senate from 1900 to 1902. He served as a U.S. Representative from North Carolina from 1899 to 1903. (bio by: Evening Blues)

Family links:
  Emma May Hargrove Bellamy (1857 - 1944)*

  Eliza M Bellamy Williamson (1877 - 1969)*

*Calculated relationship

Search Amazon for John Bellamy Burial:
Oakdale Cemetery
New Hanover County
North Carolina, USA
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Evening Blues
Record added: Nov 07, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial# 8067171

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Group Tour Discounts

Coming to Visit Historic Wilmington, North Carolina this summer? Tour Group Discounts. 5 Star Story Tellers!

Always a good Day for a Haunted Cotton Exchange or a History Walking Tour!
Group Discounts with 10 or more, age 12 and under FREE with adult.  Great for bus tours groups, clubs,schools, family reunions, company outings, fund raisers..
Fun for the whole family!
Call for Tour Times
Call 910-409-4300

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Henry Bacon

Henry Bacon

Henry Bacon was the architect for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC and the Bellamy Mansion on Market and 5th Ave in Wilmington.  He is buried in Oak Dale Cemetery

Source: A Pictorial History of Wilmington by Anne Russell

Henry Bacon, Jr. (Nov. 28, 1866-Feb. 16, 1924), best known as the architect of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C., spent much of his youth in Wilmington, North Carolina, and he designed some notable buildings in the state as a result. The friendships he made in Wilmington as a youth led to several commissions in Wilmington and Linville, a mountain resort established by Wilmingtonians. In contrast to his predominantly classical designs for which he is generally recognized, his little-known North Carolina work displayed his artistic approach to an informal, rustic architecture suited to coastal and mountain settings.

Henry Bacon, Jr., was born in Watseka, Illinois, one of seven children of Henry (1822-1891) and Elizabeth Kelton (1831-1912) Bacon of Massachusetts. In the 1870s Henry, Sr., a civil engineer, moved the family to the Wilmington area. He had been assigned to the Wilmington office of the United States Engineer Department to take charge of construction of the great New Inlet Dam and Swash Defense Dam near the mouth of the Cape Fear River, a major engineering feat (see Bishir and Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Eastern North Carolina). The family lived in Southport from 1876 to 1880 and moved to Wilmington in 1880.
After graduating from Wilmington's Tileston School in 1884, Henry Bacon, Jr., attended architectural school at the University of Illinois for a year, worked in a Boston architectural office, and then moved to the prestigious New York firm of McKim, Mead and White. He was involved with that firm in planning for the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. Subsequently, in partnership with the noted architect James Brite and then on his own, Bacon gained widespread respect and many honors as an architect in the Beaux-Arts tradition. His Lincoln Memorial (1912-1922), for which he won the prestigious Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects, was by far the most famous of his works, which included important campuses, public buildings, and, in keeping with Beaux-Arts principles, memorials in collaboration with premier sculptors of the day.
Bacon maintained contact with family and friends in Wilmington, including his sister Kate Bacon McKoy. (He suggested a design for a house in Wilmington for Kate and her husband, but the couple chose another plan, which was built by local architect-builder James F. Post.) Although his oeuvre tended toward monumental classical designs, for friends from Wilmington he planned buildings in more informal styles. He designed the Donald MacRae House (1902) in Wilmington in a picturesque Queen Anne-Shingle style. Beyond the city beside the sound, he designed Live Oaks (1913), an octagonal villa for Walter and Agnes MacRae Parsley, wherein he employed a local shell-rock material.

When the Wilmington MacRae family and others developed the mountain resort village of Linville, Bacon designed some of its earliest buildings in an elegant rustic mode suited to the mountain setting. Using the abundant local chestnut bark and natural branches in artful fashion, he planned All Saints Episcopal Church (1910-1913), for which Agnes MacRae Parsley of Wilmington was a major donor. He also designed at least three cottages in similar style. His use of natural chestnut shingles and sheathing inside and out set a local pattern for the distinctive resort community, a mode that continued until the chestnut blight wiped out the great trees.
Bacon also designed two notable memorials in North Carolina: the Women of the Confederacy Monument (1913) on Union Square in Raleigh, with sculptor Augustus Lukeman; and the Gabriel James Boney Confederate Monument (1924) in Wilmington, completed after his death, with sculptor Francis H. Packer. At his death in 1923, Bacon was buried in the family plot in Wilmington's Oakdale Cemetery; his marker was designed after a classical drawing found on his desk. Although not often recognized in larger studies of Bacon and his contemporaries, for Bacon his Wilmington-related friendships and projects were an important part of his oeuvre and his life. A state highway historical marker in Wilmington, one of the few (possibly the only one) in the state memorializing an architect, recognizes his presence and work in the city.
Author: Leslie N. Boney, Jr. Update: Catherine W. Bishir.
Published 2009

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Born November 1, 1891, in Wilmington, North Carolina. Son of Leopold and Johanna Bluethenthal. Educated Phillips Academy, Exeter, and Princeton University, Class of 1913. Business, Tobacco Products Corporation, New York. Joined American Field Service, May 6, 1916; attached Section Three, France and Balkans, until May 11, 1917. Croix de Guerre for conspicuous bravery around Verdun. Enlisted French Aviation, June 7, 1917. Trained Avord and Pau. Breveted September 22, 1917. Leave in America. Attached observation groupe,Sergent. Killed in combat over the lines, near Maignelay, June 5, 1918, region of Amiens. Croix de Guerre with palm. Buried Esquennoy, Oise, north of Breteuil. Body transferred to Wilmington, North Carolina. Escadrille Bréguet 227, March 17, 1918,
WHEN Arthur Bluethenthal joined the Field Service in May, 1916, he could not sign up for the full six months because he had a contract to coach the Princeton football team that fall. So it was arranged with the French authorities to reduce slightly in his case the period of enlistment. But, when the time came for him to return to America, it was his own deliberate choice to obtain a release from his engagements at home and to continue the career which was to lead, from honor to honor and without one regret or looking back, to his death, two years later, in aerial combat above the German lines.
In the fall of 1916 the Field Service was expanding rapidly and "Bluie," as we called him, had come to the fore as a leader. He was the sort of man to whom others instinctively looked for guidance and the sort of man who radiated a spirit of ready and cheerful co-operation, qualities which were of great value, when every liner brought scores of new and undisciplined recruits from America and when the Service was extending its work to Northern Greece and Albania.
"My life does not belong to me now," he wrote on one occasion to a friend in America. "It belongs to France, to the Allies, to the cause to which I have pledged it. And, if I should never come back, I do not want you to feel badly. I am glad I have had a chance to live in times like these and to do my bit for the future of the world. . . . . At home it was a holiday all the time. Here it is the stern facts of life and death. And it is hard to explain the way we feel about it all, especially about France, we who have volunteered to fight for her."
When America entered the war, "Bluie" was serving with Section Three in the Balkans. Returning with his Section to France in May, 1917, he enlisted at once in the Foreign Legion, from which he was transferred to the Air Service. He received his preliminary training at Avord and later instruction at Pau.
After a four weeks' leave, which he spent with his parents in Wilmington, North Carolina, he joined an observation group at the front. In this work he at once made his mark. "You remember," wrote a friend, "Bluie's easy-going, complacent confidence in football days? Well, it is still a part of him when we fly over the German lines. He gets in his plane and goes up and does his work just as calmly as he sits down to breakfast. That sort of nerve helps us all, the old flyers as well as the new."
Towards the end of May, 1918, he was transferred from the French service to the American Naval Aviation. But he refused to leave his comrades while they were engaged in the desperate aerial fighting, which marked the second of the great German drives in 1918. This gallant act was recorded in official dispatches and endeared him to his comrades in a way that only an airman who has flown at the front through an attack can fully appreciate. It was a fateful decision for "Bluie," for his life ended in this battle. He was killed "while directing distant artillery fire" on June 5th and buried with all military honors by his comrades in the cemetery at Esquennoy, near Breteuil, in the Amiens sector."
He was cited posthumously in Army orders. A palm was also added to his Croix de Guerre. And, when news of his death reached Wilmington, where a host of friends had followed his career with increasing pride since first he went away to college, all business houses closed for an hour, all flags were flown at half mast, and a very impressive memorial service was held by the citizens in the Opera House.

"Let us pause a moment," read the proclamation of the mayor, "and do honor to one who has died for us, died in the full strength of young manhood, died in the conflict of battle, and dying has emphasized the creed of the soldier --- better a grave in France than citizenship in a dishonored country." http://www.ourstory.info/library/2-ww1/AFShist/Mem4.htm

The Jewish Cemetery

Temple of Israel 1875
Fourth and Market Street

Jewish Cemetery at Oakdale Cemetery

The Temple of Israel congregation was made up of German Jews who had immigrated to Wilmington around 1840 and had become well established in the city.  Families associated with the Temple include the Bluehtentals, the Dammenhaums, the Jacobs, and the Bears.  The Jewish Reform cemetery is a part of the Oakdale cemetery and is encircled with a fence ornamented with a Star of David.

Source: A Pictorial History of Wilmington by Anne Russell 

Book available at Two Sister Bookery At the Cotton Exchange. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Captain and his dog

Captain William Ellerbrook and his faithful dog, Boss

This monument in Oakdale Cemetery commemorates the deaths of Captain William Ellerbrook and his faithful dog Boss, who gave up his life in an effort to drag his master from a burning building at the corner of Front and Dock Streets.  Captain Ellerbrook was master of a Heide Company tugboat and a volunteer fire fighter. 

One fateful night in 1880, Captain Ellerbrook answered a call to save the burning store. Running into the burning building, Ellerbrook was caught by failing timbers, hearing his owners screams for help, his dog, Boss dashed into the burning building, only to be found the next day beside Ellerbrook’s body with a piece of cloth torn from his master’s coast sill in his mouth.  The dog was buried in the casket with Captain Ellerbrook.  Much loved and respected, their funeral was attended by hundreds of Wilmington Citizens. 

Source: A Pictorial History of Wilmington by Anne Russell

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ghost at Oakdale Cemetery

We were out in Oakdale Cemetery doing some history research when we discovered the Murchaison family plot.  As soon as we stepped into the plot, we both got chills and felt like some one was watching us.
We took these pictures thru the window of the crept.  Can you see the faces? The weirdest part is, everytime I look at these pictures, the faces seem to change.  !!!! 

Ghost @ Paddy's Hollow

Fred the Ghost Wilmington NC

Welcome to Tour Old Wilmington's new blog site!

Fred the Ghost, pictured below is a great example of local spooky lore.

I took this picture in Paddy Hollows located in The Cotton Exchange in beautiful downtown Wilmington NC. It was about 4:oo pm in the afternoon. I had just finished talking to the bartender about the possibility of ghost haunting the old place. Goofing around, I took several pictures. In this one you can see the face of Fred the Ghost.
He is said to haunt the bar and loves to pull practicaljokes on the restaurant staff.