Oakland Cemetery is the final resting place of more than 70,000. Among its many residents are soldiers, mayors, governors, captains of industry, pioneers, authors, and trailblazers. Many of Oakland’s graves are etched with familiar names borne by Atlanta parks, streets, neighborhoods and businesses.
The celebrated and humble rest together at Oakland. For every lavish monument marking a prominent or wealthy family, there are hundreds of small, simple headstones. Not far from some of Atlanta’s best-known sons and daughters are paupers buried at public expense. Here, an ornate tomb is inscribed with flowery verse—there, a plain marker merely says “Infant.” Tycoon and pauper, Christian and Jew, black and white, powerful and meek, soldier and civilian—all are here.
Oakland Cemetery is home to many important mayors, celebrities, and public officials. Among these individuals are six governors who today reside inside its hallowed grounds. This blog series will explore these six men: their successes, their failures, and their impact on the people of Georgia.…
Merchant, banker, financier, and railroad builder who organized the Atlanta National Bank (now a part of Wells Fargo Bank). Became one of the country’s largest cotton dealers and built railroads in several southern states. Namesake of Austell, GA.
Ivan Allen, Jr.
Ivan Allen was a U.S. businessman and Democratic political figure noted for serving two terms (1962-1970) as Atlanta’s mayor during the turbulent Civil Rights Movement. He guided the city through the turbulent 1960s, and his political leadership helped to transform Atlanta into a progressive metropolis and international city.
Edwin P. Ansley
Developer of Ansley Park.
Joseph Emerson Brown
Governor of Georgia, 1857-65, during the Civil War; Chief Justice of Georgia, 1868-70; U.S. Senator, 1880-91; and president, Western & Atlantic Railroad, 1870-90.
Joseph M. Brown
Governor of Georgia, 1901-13; known as “Little Joe” Brown.
Selena Sloan Butler
Selena Sloan Butler founded the nation’s first parent-teacher association for African Americans in Atlanta in 1911. She established a statewide PTA in 1919 and the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers (NCCPT) in 1926. The NCCPT merged with its white counterpart in 1970, and Butler was named as a cofounder of the National Parent Teacher Association.
James M. Calhoun
Pioneer Decatur and Atlanta lawyer. Relative of John C. Calhoun. Mayor of Atlanta, 1862-65. Surrendered Atlanta to Union troops, September 2, 1864.
Martha Lumpkin Compton
Daughter of Governor Wilson Lumpkin; Terminus (original Atlanta name, 1837-42) renamed Marthasville (1843-45, became Atlanta in 1846) in her honor.
Dr. Peter Paul Noel D’Alvigny
Pioneer French-born physician; saved Atlanta Medical College (now known as the Emory University School of Medicine) from being burned by Union soldiers in 1864.
Philanthropist and owner of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills.
Moses W. Formwalt
Captain William A. Fuller
1836-1905 | Burial: Block 72, Lot 1, Grave 16, Original Six Acres
After his “General” locomotive and first three cars were stolen in Kennesaw by Andrews Raiders in 1862, Fuller pursued the Raiders on foot, hand car, and the “Texas” locomotive before capturing the Raiders outside of Chattanooga.
Bishop Wesley John Gaines
1840-1912 | Burial: Block 65, Lot 1, Grave 2, African American Section
Bishop Wesley John Gaines was the sixteenth bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the second pastor at Atlanta’s landmark Big Bethel A.M.E. Church and a founder of Morris Brown College.
1906-2000 | Burial: Original Six Acres, Beside the Watch House
The only citizen to be named Atlanta’s Official Historian, Garrett authored Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events, a comprehensive reference source of Atlanta’s history that is used to this day.
General John B. Gordon
1832-1904 | Burial: Confederate Section
Lieutenant General, C.S.A.; U.S. senator, 1873-80, 1891-97; governor of Georgia, 1886-90.
Julia Collier Harris
1885-1967 | Burial: Block 30, Lot 3, in the Rawson mausoleum across from the Visitors Center
Julia Collier Harris was the daughter of Charles Collier, a former Mayor of Atlanta. After a whirlwind courtship, she married Julian Harris, the son of Joel Chandler Harris, who wrote the famous Tales of Uncle Remus. Together, they owned and edited the Columbus (GA) Enquirer-Sun and eventually (in 1926) co-won the first Pulitzer Prize in 1920’s for a series of articles and editorials about the KKK and the Scopes Monkey Trial. It was the first Pulitzer Prize awarded to a Georgia newspaper. She was also a Georgia Woman of Achievement.
Joel Hurt, Jr.
1850-1926 | Burial: Block 237, Lot 1&2, Grave 11, Near Margaret Mitchell
Engineer, entrepreneur, developer of Inman Park, builder of the Hurt Building. Hurt Street bears his name.
Edward H. Inman
1881-1931 | Burial: Block 297, Lot 2, Grave 3, East Hill
Cotton merchant; Fulton County commissioner, 1930-31; original owner of the Swan House.
Samuel M. Inman
1843-1915 | Burial: Block 8, Bell Tower Ridge
Cotton merchant, banker, civic leader, known as “Atlanta’s First Citizen.” Inman Park bears his name.
1938-2003 | Burial: Northwest corner of North Public Grounds
Maynard Jackson became Atlanta’s first African American mayor in 1974. In his three terms (1974-19–82; 1990-19–94), he was instrumental in bringing the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta and expanding the airport. His grave marker faces the downtown Atlanta skyline.
Dr. Joseph Jacobs
1859-1929 | Burial: Block 269, Lot 1, Jewish Section
Dr. Joseph Jacobs opened Jacobs’ Pharmaceutical Laboratory in Athens, GA in 1879. In 1884, he moved to Atlanta and opened Jacobs’ Pharmacy Company, which would eventually grow to 16 locations. Dr. Jacobs rented out his pharmacy’s soda fountain to Willis Venable. On May 8, 1886, Dr. Jacobs asked Mr. Venable to add water to a customer’s headache tonic. Instead of regular water, Mr. Venable added carbonated water, and the first Coca-Cola was served. Though he owned partial rights to the newfound tonic, Dr. Jacobs said he did not want to be “bothered with it,” and sold his rights to Coca-Cola to Asa Candler in exchange for a glass factory Mr. Candler owned.
Robert T. “Bobby” Jones
1902-1971 | Burial: Lot 518, near the southern wall, Bobby Jones Neighborhood
Bobby Jones is considered the greatest amateur golfer of all time. He is the only person to win the four major golfing titles in one year, 1930. After winning the Grand Slam, he retired from competitive play. He became an attorney in Atlanta and co-founder and co-designer of the Augusta National Golf Club, site of the annual Masters Tournament. Learn more.
Carrie Steele Logan
1829-1900 | Burial: Block 64, Lot 5, African American Grounds
Carrie Steele was born into slavery and orphaned as a young girl. After emancipation, she worked as a maid in the waiting rooms at Union Station, where she saw many children abandoned. She let the children play in a boxcar during the day while she worked, and at night she took them to her home at the intersection of Wheat Street and Auburn Avenue. Carrie Steele was eventually able to build a larger facility. The Carrie Steele-Pitts Home continues to serve abused, neglected and orphaned children today.
1900-1949 | Burial: Block 22, Lot 1N, Grave 6, Northwestern corner of the cemetery, west of Bell Tower Ridge
Margaret Mitchell earned world-wide fame as the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gone with the Wind, a best-seller that’s been translated into over 40 languages. The 1939 film Gone with the Wind is regarded as one of the greatest films of all time.
1808-1898 | Burial: Block 140, Lot 3, Grave 5, Greenhouse Valley
Mayor of Atlanta, 1851. Namesake of Norcross, GA.
Reverend Frank Quarles
1819-1882 | Burial: Section 18 Block 19 Lot 1N, African American Section
Pastor of Friendship Baptist Church from 1866-81. Instrumental in bringing the Augusta Institute (now Morehouse College) to Atlanta and in the founding of Spelman College.
Morris and Emanuel Rich
1847-1928 | Burial: Block 277, Lots 69 and 93, Jewish Hill
Founders of M. Rich Dry Goods, which became one of the largest retail department store chains in the South.
Pictured: Morris Rich
1938-2020 | Burial: Lot 599, Bobby Jones Neighborhood
The Country Music Hall of Famer’s musical hits included “The Gambler;” “Lucille;” “Islands in the Stream,” a duet with Dolly Parton; and “Lady,” a duet with Lionel Richie.
James G. Woodward
1845-1922 | Burial: Block 410, Lot 7, Original Six Acres
Atlanta labor leader who served as mayor of Atlanta for four terms, 1899-1900, 1905-6, 1913-16.
1855-1931 | Burial: Block 303 Lot 3 & 4 Space 9, East Hill
Secretary of Interior during second Grover Cleveland administration, 1892-96; noted lawyer; governor of Georgia, 1907-09, 1911; United States senator, 1911-21.