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Stories, Mysteries Contained In Oakwood Cemetery

March 30, 2011

It's been said that whenever a person dies, a library goes with them. The stories that they've told, if not preserved, are buried with the person who told them. David Evans, superintendent of Waco's Oakwood Cemetery has made it a point to learn as many of the stories of the people resting there as he possibly can. And while the grounds house governors, college presidents, pioneers, and civic leaders, sometimes the most interesting stories can be found when talking about names you haven't heard of. One such man was Edward Ferdinadnt Forsgaard, a man in his prime during World War I and whose memorial bears the picture of a rifle. Forsgaard's family owned Ambold Sporting Goods, and he proved to be a man of varied talents.

But lest anyone imagine Forsgaard as a man sitting around concocting ideas, no matter how succesful, the rifle on his grave should give them more to think about. A marksman, he trained American soldiers to become better shots during World War I, and was renowned for his instruction which greatly aided the war effort. Still, not many people would imagine that the man whose products they use lies quietly a few miles away.

If Edward Ferdinandnt Forsgaard was a man of eclectic interests, the next plot we visited features a man who was a bit eccentric. You need only hear his name to determine that this gentleman was a pretty interesting character.

Is there a gentleman entombed at Oakwood, eternally grasping a gun and some whiskey? No one will know for sure, but superintendent David Evans makes sure that the legends and the stories aren't lost with the dead. When we wrap up our series on Oakwood next week, we'll hear about the most visited site in the cemetery. It features a marker for a man so controversial and reviled in his day, that over 100 years after his death his name is still not listed on his marker, lest his whereabouts be easily discovered. It's a plot that was shot shortly after it was set, and was defaced as recently as the last couple of years. You can hear prior stories on Oakwood and see pictures online at kwbu.org. For KWBU News, I'm Derek Smith.

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