Oakdale Cemetery Tours by Tour Old Wilmington.
Tour is $12 per person and last approximately 1 hour. Children under 12 Free limit two per family. Tours are scheduled between 9 AM and 3 PM.
Please call to schedule a tour.
Come enjoy one of the oldest and finest cemeteries in the south. 910-409-4300
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.
family of farmers, businessmen and civic leaders, the Trask family left its
mark on NewHanoverCounty
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
patriarch of the clan, Daniel Webster “Web” Trask (1847-1930) was born into a
relatively poor farming family in the Masonboro Sound area of NewHanoverCounty. 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.
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 AtlanticCoast
Line railroad and began to cultivate buyers in New York and elsewhere.
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.)
1902, however, with money borrowed from his father, George Trask bought a farm
in the Wrightsboro community, close to the AtlanticCoast Line tracks, from his uncle
Christian H. Heide (who suffered from tuberculosis and wanted to move to the North Carolina mountains
for his health).
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.”
his spare time, George W. Trask served as a NewHanoverCounty 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.
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 NewHanoverCounty’s
Selective Service (draft) board, 1940-1955, and was chairman of the board of JamesWalkerMemorialHospital.
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 WrightsvilleBeach, which was named in
his honor when it opened in 1958.
School in PenderCounty is also named for
C. Heide Trask; the Trask family donated land for the school’s campus.
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.
others in his family, Raiford Trask entered politics. He served on the WrightsvilleBeachTown Council and was mayor of WrightsvilleBeach,
a NewHanoverCounty Commissioner (1952-1956) and a
trustee of WilmingtonCollege 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 NewHanoverCounty school system. TraskMiddle
School is named for his mother.
members of the Trask family are buried at Wilmington’s
OakdaleCemetery. The family monument is
decorated with carvings of cornstalks and lettuce heads, sources of much of the
“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
Fred the Ghost, pictured below is a great example of local spookylore.
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.