The Erswell family vault is a masonry structure built into the hillside at Oak Hill Cemetery by cabinet-maker and undertaker Edward Erswell in the 1870s. During his life, the mausoleum served as a workspace for Erswell's undertaking business. The cool conditions of the partially-buried vault allowed him to carry out his work on site. After his death in 1910, the vault served as a final resting place for him and his family.
Cemetery records indicate that dozens of interments were made in the vault, though only seven sets of remains are presently found there. It may be that records of temporary interments were never amended. Alternately, historian Terri Hicks has speculated that Erswell may have surreptitiously supplied corpses to local surgeons such as John and William Elias B. Davis.
- Hicks, Terri L. (2013) "Oak Hill Cemetery: A Reflection of Early Birmingham, 1871-1913" M.A. thesis. UAB