The origins of Woodland Cemetery go back to the Civil War. In 1862, Confederate soldiers suffering from various diseases were dying in makeshift hospitals in the Ashland area, but there was no place to bury the dead.
Land just west of town, land owned by Betsy Tinsley (Hogg), a free black woman, was purchased and became the burial grounds. The Confederate monument incorrectly states that 400 Confederate soldiers are buried there. Ground penetrating radar was done in 2015. That along with extensive research done by James Upton for his book Leaving Neither Wife, Child Nor Father tells us there are 231 dead, including one yankee and one servant.
A group of local young girls accompanied by Dr. William P. Mayo, a beloved citizen of Ashland, went to the cemetery with rakes and shovels to clear the area as it had become overgrown with briars and weeds. In 1866, this same group of young women formed the Confederate Memorial Association. Fund raisers were the only source of income for the maintenance of the Confederate section.
Additional land was purchased in 1876. By an act of the General Assembly of Virginia, Woodland Cemetery was granted a charter.
The Woodland Cemetery Company and the Association for the Care of Woodland Cemetery is in charge of the property’s management and care of the grounds including the Confederate section. Each year, Woodland Cemetery receives a donation from the United Daughters of the Confederacy to help with maintenance of the Confederate section.
In 2008, the cemetery began its final expansion with the land just inside the main gates. That section was dedicated in June of 2011.
Woodland is currently the final resting place for over 6000 persons, many of whom called Ashland home for most of their lives.