ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


               Listing of interments

Oak Hill Cemetery


1887, Main Avenue, looking north



Map showing location




Christoph Schroeder, retired undertaker; born in Vorbruck Walsrode, Hanover, February 18, 1817.  He came to America in 1844; located in Cleveland, Ohio, for about one year and half; then he came to Watertown; for a number of years, he worked at the carpenter and joiner business; then he was engaged in business as undertaker for twenty-five years; three years ago he retired from that business.


Mr. Schroeder laid out and started Oak Hill Cemetery, and now has charge of it.  He deserves great credit for the judgment displayed in the location and arrangement of this cemetery.


He has one of the best constructed family vaults in the country, in which rest the remains of his children, of his mother, Mary Schroeder, and Mary Arntz, his wife’s mother.  In 1843, Mr. Schroeder married Mary Arntz; she was born in Altenboetzen, Hanover, Dec. 15, 1820; they have seven children living:  Teresa (now Mrs. John K(?), of Fond du Lac), Henry, Mena (now Mrs. Frederick Wilkopsky), Sophia (now Mrs. Hermann Rapp), Mary, Ernst and Lena.


The History of Jefferson County, Wisconsin,” Chicago:  Western Historical Company, 1879.


Cross Reference:  File on Christoph Schroeder  




Common Council Proceedings.  -  A petition to the [Wisconsin] Legislature of D. Hall and others to allow Oak Hill Cemetery to buy new ground and dispose of such parts of the old ground which were not used for burial purposes.   WD





1888 drawing derived from 1887 photo




10 10       The Oak Hill Cemetery Association will soon begin platting the north addition of the cemetery.  Eight hundred burial lots will be laid out.



06 12       Complaint is being made by the aggrieved parties, that the flowers and decorations upon the graves in the cemeteries in this city are being stolen and carried away by vandals destitute of every sense of honesty and decency.  It hardly seems possible, that there are people in Watertown so lost to an emotion of shame as to enter a cemetery and ghoul-like steal from graves the flowers placed by sorrowing relatives upon the resting place of their departed loved ones.  Such parties ought to be apprehended and an example made of them, that the practice may be discontinued.


“O heaven, that such companions

thou ’tdst unfold

And put in every honest

Hand a whip

To lash the rascals naked

Through the world.”




Decoration Day on Monday was cold and chilly, but this did not prevent a very large turnout of our people at both the afternoon and evening exercises.  The parade in the afternoon to Oak Hill Cemetery was the largest ever witnessed here on a similar occasion.  In the morning details of the G. A. R. Post visited the various cemeteries and decorated the graves of the old soldiers there in.  At 1:30 p.m. the procession outlined below was formed at the corner of Main and North First streets and marched to the grave of O. D. Pease in Oak Hill Cemetery, where services were held according to the ritual of the G.A.R.


The afternoon program was as follows:


Marshal of the Day and Aides

Northwestern University Band

Northwestern Cadets and Students

Public Schools

Parochial Schools

Mayor, Hon. F. E. McGovern and Reception Committee in Carriage

Imperial Band

Commander of O. D. Pease Post and Committee of G.A.R.

Deutscher Krieger Verein

O. D. Pease Post No. 94, G.A.R.

Older G.A.R. Veterans in Conveyance

Children in Carriages to Decorate the Graves of Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Lewis

Watertown Military Band

Common Council in Carriages

Board of Education in Carriages

Committees in Carriages

Woman's Relief Corps in Conveyance

Citizens in Carriages


Arriving at the tower in the cemetery, the head of the column halted,  open order, and presented  arms while the Grand Army Post passed through to music of fife and drum to the grave of the late Comrade O. D. Pease, where services according to the G.A.R. ritual were held as follows . . .    WG



03 14       Plans for securing a water supply for Oak Hill cemetery were promulgated at a meeting of the cemetery association and it is probable that a petition will be presented to the board of water commissioners with that end in view.  It was the annual meeting and the following officers were elected:


President — H. Wertheimer

Secretary — C. H. Jacobi

Treasurer — W. F. Voss

Trustees — H. Wertheimer, D. H. Kusel

Superintendent — Leonard Schempf

The other trustees are W. F. Voss, W. A. Beuhaus, A. Solliday, Leonard Schempf.   WG




The Oak Hill Cemetery Association of Watertown has sent a letter to the city council seeking financial assistance in the operation of the cemetery.  The first step indicated is a meeting of association representatives with members of the city council, city manager, and city attorney to discuss the issues.  Under present law the city cannot render any financial assistance to an organization such as the Oak Hill Cemetery Association.  It can be done by fourth class cities but not by the cities of the third class or above, according to City Manager C. C. Congdon.   WDT




The City Planning Commission has taken no action on the matter of putting its approval on or making a recommendation regarding acquisition of the Lutovsky farm site for the proposed new junior high school.  Also involved in the site is additional acreage which would be secured from Dr. E. Allen Miller and the Oak Hill Cemetery Association.  An announcement made today stated that the planning commission members had discussed the proposals but it had been decided to lay it over “for the purposes of obtaining financial information.”  At the last joint session held by the board of education with the common council and the township chairmen who help make up the Watertown Public School District, a resolution was adopted instructing the proper city authorities to negotiate for the site with Charles Lutovsky, Dr. Miller and cemetery association officials.  WDT




The Oak Hill Cemetery Association has taken a major step in its program to beautify and protect the lots in the cemetery.  In the near future, a six-foot chain link cyclone fence will be erected around the cemetery.  The fence will have double gate openings at the north and south entrances and a 39-inch walking gate entrance on the north side.   WDT




Vandals damaged at least 7 grave monuments at Oak Hill Cemetery, 1540 East Main Street, this weekend, as well as numerous flags and markers.  Palmer J. Freres, cemetery secretary and manager, said workers discovered the destruction today at about 8:30 a.m.  Most of the damage was found in the oldest section of the cemetery on the southern half of the grounds.  Many of those stones date back to the late 1800s to early 1900s.  WDT



03 18       A SHADY PLACE / Oak Hill Cemetery

Oak Hill Cemetery will be restored to the shady place it once was with the start of a drive to replace the trees.  The 28-acre cemetery is known for its large oaks, but those trees have been disappearing with no new ones to take their place.  Some have been slowly dying but others have fallen en masse as the result of storms.  “At the rate we're going, we won't have a tree left in the cemetery in 25 years,” said Allen Campbell, a member of the Oak Hill Cemetery board of directors who is also on the tree committee.   WDT



               YouTube video clip



01 12       EMPLOYEE FRAUD

Watertown police received a report of fraud from the Oak Hill Cemetery Association that a former employee had made copies of his payroll check and cashed them.




Last week the cemetery’s first columbarium was placed, providing 48 niches.  Cemetery manager Jeff Rammelt said each niche can hold the remains of up to two people.  “It’s something we’ve been talking about doing for as long as I’ve been here, which is 17 years,” Rammelt said. “We were finally able to come to completion on it. Our goal is to landscape that area and have it as the centerpiece of the cemetery.”



Cross References:

               Listing of interments

William Voss was a director of the Oak Hill Cemetery Association.




Carlotta Perry poem refers to Oak Hill cemetery as "That strange city on the hill."  Then she describes a scene from the cemetery which is thought to be that of Watertown. 




To be seen in a Cemetery

Watertown Gazette, 05 14 1914


Take a walk through the cemetery alone and you will pass the resting place of a man who blew into the muzzle of a gun to see if it was loaded.  A little farther down the slope is a crank who tried to show how close he could stand to a moving train while it passed.  In strolling about you see the monument of the hired girl who tried to start the fire with kerosene, and a grass-covered knoll that covers the boy who put a cob under the mule’s tail.  That tall shaft over a man who blew out the gas casts a shadow over the boy who tried to get on a moving train.  Side by side the pretty creature who always had her corsets laced on the last hole and the intelligent idiot who rode a bicycle nine miles in ten minutes sleep unmolested.  At repose is a doctor who took a dose of his own medicine.  There with a top of a shoe box driven over his head is a rich old man who married a young wife.  Away over there reposes a boy who went fishing on Sunday, and the woman who kept strychnine powders in the cupboard.  The man who stood in front of the mowing machine to oil the sickle is quiet now and rests beside the careless brake man who fed himself to the seventy-ton engine, and nearby may be seen the grave of the man who tried to whip the editor.




Headstones of the rich and famous, or sometimes infamous, can be found in graveyards and cemeteries all over the world.  Many of which contain epitaphs and inscriptions written either by or about the deceased.


Take for example the memorial stone for William Shakespeare, who lived in morbid fear of his body being dug up or moved after his death.  This fear can be followed through at least 16 of his 32 plays.  For example in Romeo and Juliet when Juliet imagines waking up and tearing bodies and in Hamlet when a grave digger throws up skulls and bones.


Shakespeare's epitaph shows he foresaw his lasting fame.  Shakespeare's inscription reads (translated into modern English):


"Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear,

To dig the dust enclosed here:

Blessed be the man that spares these stones,

And cursed be he that moves my bones."


Shakespeare's grave is in the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford

and has remained, as his wishes, untouched.




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin