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.
Oakland Church 1956 Oakland Church today
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:
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:
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
My Family members buried in Oakland Cemetery include:
Akin, Thomas Riley, Sr.
08/27/1895 - 10/30/1965
Akin, Thomas Riley, Jr. 06/19/1920 - 12/25/1996
Akin, Sharon Campbell 05/13/1945 - 12/09/2005
11/25/1888 - 07/29/1959
10/16/1859 - 07/09/1935
Allen, James Verlon
05/08/1922 - 07/03/2005
Watson, Pauline Ethel Allen 11/13/1911 - 03/27/2005
Watson, William Russell
06/10/1852 - 10/06/1924
Watson, Samuel Martin
11/24/1883 - 04/18/1985
05/10/1918 - 05/28/1931