Many of the stones are covered with growth and need to be uncovered in order to photograph them.
Citzens of Bartow voted on September 4, 1890 to invest $1.500.00 in ten acres of land for a city cemetery. Pioneer Oak Hill was not city property and could not be much expanded since it lay close to the rapidly growing downtown area. Thus on March 10, 1891, according to Polk County deed records, Bartow City Council paid $850.00 to Thomas Pasco Carpenter for the land and immediately began clearing and sectioning it for cemetery use. Tier one in today's Wildwood as well as Tier three may already have been in use as burial ground, John W. Towles who died in 1875 lies in Tier One, and Almira Jane Hankins who died in 1890 is buried in Tier 3. Sales of lots in the first three tiers were rapid in the first five years after the cemetery's opening. Burial of Black Citizens in Wildwood began in 1975 with the interment of Marie F. Gause, wife of the first Black City Councilman, George H. Gause, also Bartow's Black Funeral Director. According to informant, Gause asked if there would be any objection but found none. He bought two sets of lots, and is himself buried next to his wife. Charlie Smith, buried in Tier 38 on October 5, 1979, was "America's Oldest Man" when he died. Wildwood expanded to 40 acres ove the 1900s and recently added acreage east of Woodlawn Avenue for future use. The City of Bartow redesigned and refurbished the burial ground in 1984. Although pioneer Oak Hill is the home of many Confederate Veterans, Wildwood has many markers for Civil War veterans on sides of the conflict.
GPS Coordinates: 27.8867, -81.8533
- Added: 2 Jan 2000
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #72761
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