William Wilson Corcoran, the founder of Oak Hill Cemetery, directed that Oak Hill be a non-denominational cemetery, welcoming to all who wished to be here. The result is that persons from all religious faiths, races, and ethnicities are part of the Oak Hill Family. Among the nearly twenty-thousand Oak Hill inhabitants reside some who became notable in their time for their achievements in the arts, politics, government, law, the military and business. Oak Hill provides a place for teaching about these individuals and their places in our shared history. Much like a living classroom, our public museum is a vast three-dimensional out-of-doors memory bank.
In addition to visiting the places where notable figures reside, there are other notable features at Oak Hill that are worthy of a visit to appreciate their beauty and majesty. Cenotaphs, sculptures, monuments and inscriptions surround a visitor imparting memories, inspiration, and, yes, sometimes humor, to the visitor’s psyche. Being a best-kept secret among Washington DC’s many attractions given visitors to Oak Hill an equaled sense of uniqueness.
Our notable figures and features include:
- William Wilson Corcoran – Founder of Oak Hill, Corcoran Gallery of Art
- Edwin Stanton – Lincoln’s Secretary of War
- Philip Graham – Publisher of Washington Post; wife Katharine succeeded him as Chairman and Publisher
- Infant son of Jefferson Davis – President of Confederate States of America’ buried in 1854; removed in 1893
- William Wallace “Willie” Lincoln – Son of President Abraham Lincoln Interred in 1862, removed in 1865
- Philip Barton Key – Uncle of Francis Scott Key
- John Nicolay – Lincoln’s secretary and biographer
- John Howard Payne – an American actor, poet, playwright, and author, most notably known for the song he wrote in 1822 called, “Home, Sweet, Home!” Chronicled the removal of Cherokee Indians from North Carolina to Oklahoma
- Edward Douglass White – Chief Justice of the United States
- Ben Bradlee – Executive Editor, Washington Post
- Russel Train – second Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency
- Edward Linthicum – Dumbarton Oaks owner; founded Linthicum Institute for Young Boys
- Bettie Duval (Webb) – a Confederate spy, she hid messages in her luxuriant hair. Member of Rose O’Neal Greenhow spy ring.
- Peggy Cooper Cafritz – co-founded the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, civil rights activist, educator, and philanthropist.