Side A: Established as the Oxford Township Cemetery in 1880, this public graveyard replaced the original one at the corner of College Avenue and Spring Street. That earlier burial ground was abandoned when the railroad bisected it in the 1850s. New cemeteries were established including the privately incorporated Oxford Cemetery, the Catholic Mt. Olivet Cemetery, and this one, renamed Woodside Cemetery in 1931. Bodies transferred here from the original graveyard included those of early 19th-century settlers, who were reinterred in the “Pioneer Quad” at the south end. The cemetery includes veterans of the nation’s wars, including one from the 54th Massachusetts regiment of Civil War fame, and generations of African Americans, who comprised 20% of Oxford’s population in the late 19th century. Maintained by the township and then jointly by the township and city, Woodside became solely the city’s responsibility in 2002.
Side B: “Maurice Rocco” was the stage name of Oxford-born African American pianist, singer, and composer Maurice John Rockhold (1915 – 1976). He was one of six children from the musically talented family of John and Ruby (Young) Rockhold. Maurice’s talent was promoted at Oxford Public School and led to his playing locally and at clubs in Cincinnati. Regional radio performances led to professional connections with Noble Sissle, Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, and other notable figures. As “Maurice Rocco,” he became known for playing boogie-woogie piano while standing up. His compositions include “Rockin’ the Bass” and “South Side Rock.” A prodigious performer, he appeared in Hollywood movies and toured the United States and abroad before relocating to Bangkok, Thailand around 1960. His 1976 murder there was unsolved and his remains were buried near his parents in Woodside Cemetery.
Sponsors: Robert E. White, Jr. Irrevocable Trust; Oxford, Ohio NAACP; Smith Library of Regional History; Ohio History Connection