11 June 2011

Woodlawn National Cemetery, Elmira, New York

Woodlawn National Cemetery is a military cemetery and it has that classic, haunting feel to it that most military cemeteries have. It is a smaller one that is located right next to Woodlawn Cemetery. 

When I first moved here, I wanted to learn more about the small town I had moved to so my in-laws took me on The Elmiran Trolley tour. I think this was one of my favorite things I had done that summer! What an amazing way to learn the history of a town... by driving around and seeing it firsthand. The speaker/driver of the bus was interesting and my mother-in-law even said she learned a couple of new things even though she had been on the tour before. I highly recommend adding it to your list of things to do if you are ever in the Elmira area.

View of the Civil War Section

On this tour, we passed by the huge Woodlawn Cemetery and its smaller neighbor, Woodlawn National Cemetery. The driver told a fantastic story about how John W. Jones, a former slave, painstakingly buried Confederate soldiers from the nearby Elmira Prison Camp (also known as "Helmira") with each of their belongings and kept records on each and every one of them. Such care was taken of them that it was decided by the Daughters of the Confederacy to let them rest there and a monument was erected for them. You can read more about John W. Jones and his amazing story at his website John W. Jones Museum.
Plaque for Civil War Confederate Soldiers
Between July 1864 and August 1865, 2973
Confederate soldiers were buried here 
with kindness and respect, by John W. Jones, 
a runaway slave. They have remained in 
these hallowed grounds of Woodlawn
National Cemetery by family choice
because of the honorable way in which 
they were laid to rest by a caring man.

There are Union soldiers buried here as well and it continues to inter military members. There is an extensive transcribed list at Interment.net as they obtained their information from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Find A Grave also has approximately 8,600 listings for this cemetery, however, only about 1,000 of them have photos attached at this time.
Flagpole at the center of the cemetery drive.
Plaque at the base of the flagpole
 From The Bivouac of the Dead
by Theodore O'Hara
The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
No more on life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On Fame's eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.

Search for cemetery records in Woodlawn National Cemetery, NY at by entering a surname and clicking search:

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Here is my Flickr photo album for Woodlawn National Cemetery. Keep checking back as I will continue to add photos to this album.



  1. Thank you for your post. I just read it and also the link to the John W Jones Museum. I never heard of this museum and I would not have known unless I had see your post today. thank you.

  2. You are so welcome akellmurr72!! His museum has not opened yet, but it is located right across the street from the cemetery. It used to be his farmhouse and the cemetery was a part of his land. His story really is an amazing one of human compassion! Thanks for reading!