Oaklands Cemetery was founded as a response to the closure of graveyards within the borough of West Chester and the stoppage of future burials allowed within it. An act to incorporate the cemetery was passed by the Pennsylvania legislature and approved by Governor William F. Johnston on April 14, 1851. Land was purchased from Joseph L. Taylor located a mile and a half north of West Chester to become the cemetery, with a portion alloted for Catholic burials which became St. Agnes Cemetery. Roads were laid, a small lake was created, and a receiving vault, superintendent's cottage and gateway were built for the new cemetery. Oaklands Cemetery was dedicated on December 10, 1853 and burials from the closed borough cemeteries were reburied there the next year along with the start of new burials.
- Samuel Barber (1910 - 1981) - Composer best known for his Adagio for Strings and the opera Vanessa. 
- Isaac Dutton Barnard (1791 - 1834) - United States Senator.
- Thomas S. Bell (1838 - 1862) - U.S. Civil War army officer killed at the Battle of Antietam.
- Joseph Emley Borden (1854 - 1929) - early Major League Baseball pitcher.
- Smedley Darlington Butler (1881 - 1940) - United States Marine Corps General, double recipient of the Medal of Honor, and exposer of the Business Plot to overthrow President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- Thomas Stalker Butler (1855 - 1928) - United States Representative from 1897 until his death in 1928. He was the father of General Smedley Darlington Butler.
- Smedley Darlington (1827 - 1899) - United States Representative from 1887 until 1891 and grandfather of Smedley Darlington Butler.
- William Darlington (1782 - 1863) - botanist and United States Representative from 1815-1817 and 1819-1823.
- James Bowen Everhart (1785 - 1868) - United States Representative from 1853 until 1855.
- Henry Ruhl Guss (1825 - 1907) - U.S. Civil War Major General.
- Joseph Hergesheimer (1880 - 1954) - author best known for works such as "Three Black Pennys" and Java Head.
- John Hickman (1810 - 1875) - United States Representative from 1855 until 1865.
- Francis James (1799 - 1886) - United States Representative from 1839 until 1843.
- Dewitt Clinton Lewis (1822 - 1899) - U.S. Civil War Medal of Honor recipient.
- Levi Samuel Meyerle (1845 - 1921) - Major League Baseball infielder.
- George W. Robers (1833 - 1862) - U.S. Civil War colonel killed at the Battle of Murfreesboro.
- Washington Townsend (1813 - 1894) - United States Representative from 1869 until 1877.
- William Hollingsworth Whyte (1917 - 1999) - sociologist and journalist who wrote the bestseller The Organized Man.