Oaklawn Cemetery is a twenty four acre Memorial Park that was founded in January of 1878 as Manchester Cemetery. With the land donated by the pioneer Harter family, the first burial was in May of 1878. Many graves from the old Holderman Cemetery and the Harter family cemetery were moved to Oaklawn. Families continued to move their loved ones as late as the 1890s. The first addition to Manchester Cemetery was created in 1892, and the second addition in 1911. Jacob Harter was president of that association and Joseph B. Harter was secretary. Other founding members included George Lawrence and Levi J. Noftzger.
In 1914 Manchester Cemetery was incorporated and developed a new name- Oaklawn Cemetery Association, Inc. The first officers of the new Oaklawn Cemetery were Samuel Hamilton, President; Charles B. Frame, Vice-President; Toliver B. Clark, Secretary and Marion F. Adams, Treasurer. Other newly elected board members were Daniel Sheller, William Ballenger, Ademar Rufle, John C. Bonner and J.A. Browne.
Through the years, Oaklawn lot owners have elected a board of directors to govern and manage the cemetery operations and finances. Groundskeepers or sextons have been employed to maintain the grounds and equipment. In 1987 an administrator was secured to oversee the growing demand for Oaklawns services, report the annual activity to the board and accommodate the lot owners and families.
Today, Oaklawn Cemetery Association, Inc. is a 501-(c)-3, not-for-profit corporation. It operates on income generated by lot sales, monument sales, grave openings and donations. Several thoughtful lot owners have helped secure Oaklawn’s financial base by including the cemetery in their charitable giving and wills.