Grave Stories of Oakwood Cemetery

Did you ever wonder about the people who are buried in Oakwood Cemetery and what their lives were like?

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There are about 1,800 people buried in Oakwood Cemetery.  Following are a few of their family stories through historic times.  

From the Mayflower to Wyandotte
Four hundred years ago in 1620, Catherine Clark's great grandmother sailed on the Mayflower and settled in New England.
About two hundred years ago in 1826 Catherine Clark died on June 27th and was laid to rest in what is now Oakwood Cemetery.
What happened over those centuries to the Clark family? Historical events:
  • Unthinkable today, in 1692 Catherine's great grandmother was hanged as a witch in Salem. 
  • In 1775 Catherine's grandfather Watrous Clark fought in the Revolutionary War. He fought at the battle of Bunker Hill and was with Washington's army when he crossed the Delaware River. 
  • After the war, Catherine's father John Clark moved the family to Black Rock, N.Y. where he was a successful merchant. 
  • In 1813 the British burned the town of Black Rock down and Catherine's father moved the family to Ecorse Township which was to become part of Wyandotte. 
  • The following year, Catherine's father died and her brothers, John P. Clark and George Clark looked after the family.  John P. built a shipyard and George was the inventor of a rescue raft used on the Great Lake ships. 
  • In 1869 Catherine's brother John P. dedicated part of his land that held the graves of his sister Catherine and his father to become Oakwood Cemetery. 
Civil War versus Consumption  
Herman Piotter was born in 1843 and married Minnie Piotter.
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After Herman survived the Civil War ending in 1865, he died of consumption in 1890 at the age of 47. 

A Sad Family Story

Here lies Dorothy and her two brothers, Roy and Leo who went before her. 
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Leo Jr. was the first sibling, born 08/28/1912, dying 6 months later. 
Roy was  the last sibling born 11/11/1919, dying at 2 months old.
Dorothy was born on 06/07/1915 and lived to be six years old, dying 12/07/1921. 
What happened to this family? Their story is yet to be researched.  We do know that around 1920, diphtheria, measles, scarlet fever, and tuberculous were contagious diseases that many children died from. 

The Briggs
Robert W. and Nellie K . were both born in 1836.
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The Honorable Robert V. Briggs lived to be 49, dying in 1885 and Nellie lived 11 years past her husband. 

After the papers of incorporations for Wyandotte were approved on March 5, 1867 it was Attorney Robert V. Briggs who acted as the courier, bringing the momentous papers to Lansing, Michigan. Robert V. Briggs became the first City Attorney of Wyandotte. 

Nellie became the first city librarian presiding over the first formally organized library in Wyandotte that later became known as the "Reading Room".  Nellie ensured that the library  was a place "where ladies as well as gentlemen can drop in and pass an hour or two in a very pleasant and profitable manner".  The library was open every week-day afternoon from 2-6 and from 7-9:30 in the evening. 

Daniel Jucharz was born in 1817.  He died on March 1, 1898
and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery. Then...
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The body snatchers were smart, not ordinary grave robbers.
They wanted Daniel's body for medical examination and study! 

Special Thanks
We want to sincerely thank Mary-Johna Wein for sharing these pictures and stories of Oakwood Cemetery with us.

There is a lot more information about Oakwood Cemetery at http://oakwoodcemeterywyandotte.com/
And if you would like to donate to the restoration and preservation of Oakwood Cemetery, please mail your donation to 
Oakwood Cemetery, PO Box 553, Wyandotte MI 48192.