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One of the earliest burial grounds in the West Chester area was at Hannum Hill which is the present-day sight of St. Agnes Church in the borough. There was a small burial area there documented as early as 1793. In 1885, all those buried there were moved to St. Agnes’s cemetery located next to the Oaklands Cemetery on what has been called “Cemetery Hill”. The Society of Friends was burying their members at their North High Street Meeting House as early as 1813. The Methodists buried their people at the 100 block of West Gay in 1816. Other faiths buried their members in the southwest quadrant of the borough. In 1851, the Borough Council passed an ordinance that there should be no more burials in the borough due to no more space and thus a need was established to find a spot outside of the borough.
In 1852, 23 acres was purchased for the use of a cemetery the borough for burials by the different churches. Other burial sites in West Goshen were thought to be near the old toll booth on South High Street and on the southwest corner of North High Street and Sunset Hollow Road. In Oaklands Cemetery are buried a gathering of prominent West Chester people to include Smedley Darlington, James Everhart, Barclay Rubincam and a list of Who’s Who from Old West Chester and West Goshen.
On May 30, 2023 at 6 p.m. West Goshen Historical Commission and the Borough of West Chester will hold a free walking tour of the Oaklands Cemetery. The rain date is May 31 at 6 p.m. The walking tour should be concluded by 8:15. Check the web site for additional information.