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I would personally like to thank Ray "Culley" & Marie Erwin of Morris Chapel, Tennessee for preserving the Oakland Register.  If not for their considerations in doing so, much of the history of the Oakland Methodist Church would be lost to us.  Thanks also to Jim Garey, who ,along with Mr. and Mrs. Erwin, provided additional information on Pastors who presided at Oakland, and other information that will not be lost to us now.

The Oakland Register

   

   Oakland Church  1956                                                Oakland Church today

Oakland  Methodist Church and Cemetery 

          Oakland United Methodist Church, located in the Hooker’s Bend Community, was built on land deeded (see copy of deed) to J. T. Harrison, W. R. Watson, W. A. Joyce, J. J. Berry, and J. P. Story by T. B. Davy and wife Caroline on August 11, 1894.  The land was originally the location of Oak Grove School House.  Church members gave $ 19.95 for the acre of ground and members erected the building with lots of love and hard labor.

          The now stark, deserted building is not symbolic of Oakland's past history.  For many years, members of the community gathered there for Sunday School, Church services, and revivals.  They gathered for dinners on the ground and Decoration Days in May.  They came, joyfully for weddings and christenings, and sadly to say goodbye to loved ones.

           The Oakland Register, the only known written record of the history of Oakland Church, lists pastors beginning with W. M. or Wm. Murray in 1893.  Few marriages and infant baptisms are listed.  Turning the pages of the register are like turning pages of time at Oakland Church in Hooker's Bend.  For many years the surnames on the membership lists change little as time passes:  Bain, Berry, Doyle, Harvey, Garey, Harrison, McDougal, Orr, White, Turnbow, Blankenship, and Watson.  

     Gradually the list grows smaller.  It is obvious that the children, as they grow up and marry, are leaving the community of Hooker's Bend and in turn leaving Oakland Church.  The congregation ceased to worship together as of December 24, 1995 with a membership of two persons, one hundred and one years after the Church had been established.  The Saltillo Circuit in the Jackson District of the Memphis Conference approved a resolution to close the Church during it's annual conference in Memphis, June 2-5, 1996. The resolution provided that the Oakland United Methodist Church property was donated to the Oakland Methodist Cemetery Association.

          An almost unnoticeable path leads thru a gate that announces the entrance to Oakland Cemetery.  The small, well-kept cemetery can be found on a slight rise a short distance beyond the gate.  Flowers, lovingly placed by family members, adorn each and every monument, no matter what season it is.  

          Oakland Cemetery is, to me, a family cemetery.  Maybe not by blood, but so many who are buried there had lives so entwined that they became family-a community.  The cemetery’s first interment was that of my great grandfather, William Russell Watson who died on October 06, 1924.    It is a special, serene place where my parents, aunts, and cousins, gather on Decoration Day to remember our people.  There is something about the peaceful cemetery that appeals to the inner soul of my family and beckons them to return.  And return we will, until the last cousin is no longer physically able to go.  Oakland Church and Cemetery is a part of our Watson and Allen heritage just as much as any part of Hooker’s Bend.   

          The Oakland Cemetery Association oversees the cemetery and placement of graves. Money for the upkeep of the cemetery is provided by memorials and the annual dues of $15.00 per year for members.  Membership dues, donations, and memorials may be sent to:

Jim Garey, Secretary-Treasurer
Oakland Cemetery Association
330 Poplar Street
Savannah, Tennessee  38372

          Decoration day at Oakland Cemetery is celebrated the second Sunday of May each year.  Beginning in May, 2002, several descendants of those buried in Oakland Cemetery paid their respects by arriving at 9:00 AM to visit, catch up on family, and to share their remembrances of Oakland Church and Hooker's Bend.  It has become an annual event.

Oakland Church Deed 

Dissolution Resolution for Oakland Church

My Family members buried in Oakland Cemetery include:

Akin, Thomas Riley, Sr.          08/27/1895 - 10/30/1965
         Doskie Copeland           03/19/1897 - 04/24/1971

Akin, Thomas Riley, Jr.          06/19/1920 - 12/25/1996

Akin, Sharon Campbell          05/13/1945 - 12/09/2005

Allen, Charlie Clyde               11/25/1888 - 07/29/1959
Allen, Zora Ponds                  02/02/1894 - 10/09/1995

Allen, Milton James               10/16/1859 - 07/09/1935
Allen, Laura Adaline Story     10/24/1854 - 06/24/1926

Allen, James Verlon                05/08/1922 - 07/03/2005
In Memory of
Allen, Dorothy Belle Bennett   07/26/1921 - 03/17/1997

Watson, Pauline Ethel Allen     11/13/1911 - 03/27/2005

Watson, William Russell         06/10/1852 - 10/06/1924
Watson, Josephine Ellen Kyle  05/17/1862 - 03/23/1934

Watson, Samuel Martin          11/24/1883 - 04/18/1985 
         Mary Etta Williams      06/04/1885 - 04/18/1985

Watson, Mary Nell             05/10/1918 - 05/28/1931 

White, Charlie M.               02/07/1892 - 09/20/1957
White, Ollie Allen               11/24/1895  -  12/28/1975

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Information on this website belongs to Jane Watson Ellis and descendants of the families included.  It is intended for the personal use of the guest.  Please note that all material has not been verified by me.  To include your related line and/or make additions or corrections,  please e-mail me at jane_helv@hotmail.com.  You may also contact me at P. O. Box 524, Bald Knob, AR  72010.