Oak Hill Cemetery
1887, Main Avenue, looking north
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
12 19 SIDEWALK FROM BRIDGE TO CEMETERY
It may now be regarded as a certainty that we [will] have a continuous sidewalk to Oak Hill cemetery. Within a short time the side walk will be built to Boughton’s bridge and through the enterprise of Mr. Boughton and the liberal spirit displaced by a portion of our citizens the sidewalk from the bridge to the cemetery grounds will be completed within a short time. [ Boughton Street bridge ] WNews
1888 drawing derived from 1887 photo
<> Hill would have been lowered (cut into) for elevation of current E. Main Street <>
04 09 CUTTING DOWN AND GRADING CEMETERY HILL
The following- was passed: $200 appropriated for cutting down and grading Oak Hill cemetery hill; $400 approp. for cutting down and grading Duffy Hill. WR
10 10 NORTH ADDITION TO THE CEMETERY
The Oak Hill Cemetery Association will soon begin platting the north addition of the cemetery. Eight hundred burial lots will be laid out.
05 13 OAK HILL CEMETERY AS A DESTINATION
ROUND TRIP POSSIBLE
Beginning Saturday, May 16, and every Saturday thereafter, during the summer season, at 2 p.m., Bert W. Smith’s wagonette line will run from A. Wiggenhorn’s corner to Oak Hill cemetery, every hour, or oftener if necessary.
Single fare 15 cents, or 25 cents for round trip. Tickets good only on date of sale.
Bert W. Smith, Proprietor. The Watertown News, 13 May 1896
03 24 LAW TO VACATE CEMETERY NEAR NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY
CEMETERY NEAR NORTHWESTERN MOVED NORTHEASTERLY TO OAK HILL
IS NOW A LAW - The local measure providing for the vacating of the cemetery near the Northwestern University is now a law, having passed both branches of the legislature and receiving the governor’s approval.
Following is a copy of the law:
An act to vacate a cemetery in the First ward of the city of Watertown, Wisconsin.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do enact as follows:
Section 1 - The cemetery consisting of about two acres of land near the east end of and on the north side of Western Avenue in the First ward of the city of Watertown, having been for many years past and now being in a ruinous and abandoned condition, no persons or association having any charge or care thereof for the past twenty years, all the remains having been removed therefrom but a very few, and being in the neighborhood of private residences, and said city having prohibited interments therein as being against the public health, the same is hereby vacated and said city is authorized to take charge of the grounds therein, and after six months from the passage of this act to remove all the remains to suitable lots in Oak Hill cemetery, situated in the northeast quarter of section three in township eight north, of range fifteen east, in the city of Watertown, in Jefferson county, state of Wisconsin.
Section 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage and publication.
Approved March 17, 1897. No. 510 A. Published March 18,1897.
To what use this property will now be put is a matter of interest. The site is an ideal one for a park, especially as it lies adjacent to the water tower. We understand that when the new council is seated the aldermen of the First ward will make a proposition to convert the property into a city park. The Watertown News 24 Mar 1897
04 21 INTERRED REMAINS MOVED, PARK PROPOSED
By an act passed at the biennial session of the legislature of 1897, the old cemetery on Richard’s hill is vacated and the grounds revert to the city on condition that all the remains interred there be removed to Oak Hill cemetery after six months from the passage of the act. I commend a furtherance of the provision and hope the grounds will be converted into a beautiful park in the near future, surrounded so bountifully by romantic scenery nature provided. - Mayor Racek The Watertown News, 21 Apr 1897
06 12 THEFT FROM CEMETERIES
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.”
06 03 MEMORIAL DAY OBSERVANCE
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 Cadets and Students
Mayor, Hon. F. E. McGovern and Reception Committee in Carriage
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
09 07 CONTRACT LET FOR OAK HILL CEMETERY ROADWAY
On Tuesday the trustees of Oak Hill Cemetery association let the contract for building a macadam roadway, with concrete gutters, through the cemetery, beginning at the west approach, to Edward S. Bartlett, the contract price being $1100.
03 14 WATER SUPPLY FOR CEMETERY
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
03 13 CHAPEL AND REST ROOM IN OAK HILL CEMETERY
The new chapel and rest room in Oak Hill cemetery has been completed with the exception of painting the roof. The building stands where the tool house used to be and is octagon in shape.
It has a rough stone finish with a Spanish tilted roof. Two doors and six windows give plenty of air and light and the interior is fitted with tables and chairs.
It is an improvement which will be greatly appreciated at least during the summer season as it will afford a resting place for visitors to the city of the dead as well as affording a place for services in case of inclement weather.
At the annual meeting of the Oak Hill Cemetery association held Monday evening two trustees were elected: H. Wertheimer and F. G. Keck. The officers of the association are: President, H. Wertheimer; secretary, C. H. Jacobi; treasurer, William F. Voss; superintendent, W. A. Beurhaus.
10 02 NEW SECTION OF OAK HILL OPENED, ROADS COMPLETED
Beautiful area is now available to lot purchasers
The Oak Hill Cemetery Association has laid out two new roads in a new section of the cemetery and has made available large areas of new lots in one of the most beautiful parts of the cemetery. The cemetery, which covers 35 acres, is now offering these new lots and it is expected that many families as well as individuals will avail themselves of the opportunity to secure lots in the new section. This is in the north area of the cemetery. The two new roads have been beautifully laid out along avenues of trees which reflect the results of a long-range planning program. The new roads make all lots readily accessible in the event of burials on the cemetery. The long-range program calls for future development of the cemetery which will tie in perfectly with what has already been done.
In all 2000 lots have been laid out in the cemetery. Many families whose names are associated with the past history of Watertown are included in the list of owners. The family of the first white settler of what is now Watertown, Timothy Johnson, is buried on the cemetery.
The entire cemetery is well kept up and with its beautiful markers and monuments [serves as] a place of hollowed memory for many families here. The careful planning which has brought the cemetery to its present beauty, and the careful planning for its present and future development, is evidenced throughout the vast grounds. Many applications for lots are now pending and with the opening of the new section these will be handled at once and many additional applications are now expected as choice lots in the new section are ready to be sold.
Officers of the association are John W. Keck, President, Attorney Richard Thauer, Vice-President; Dr. A. F. Solliday, Treasurer; and Harley A. Kuester, Secretary. In addition to these officers, directors also include F. W. Koenig, Clarence Peters and Dick Kusel.
04 04 REQUEST TO CITY FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
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
03 13 OFFICERS ELECTED
E. F. Lemmerhirt has been elected president of the Oak Hill Cemetery Association, it was announced today following the annual meeting of the organization. Others elected are: C. D. Peters, vice president; Attorney Harold W. Hartwig, treasurer; Charles T. Yeomans, Edward J. King, Byron F. Wackett and Carl Stallmann, directors; Harry A. Kuester, secretary.
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
05 28 CHAIN LINK CYCLONE FENCE ERECTED
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
08 25 MONUMENTS DAMAGED
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
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
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.
06 29 FIRST COLUMBARIUM
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.”
12 18 WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA
Giving Tuesday is November 30, 2021 and we would like to remind you of the opportunity to support Wreaths Across America.
On December 18, 2021 at 11:00 am, Col R C Jaye Memorial Composite Squadron (WI0056P) will be helping Oak Hill Cemetery to remember and honor our veterans by laying remembrance wreaths on the graves of our country's fallen heroes.
Col R C Jaye Memorial Composite Squadron (WI0056P) celebrated veterans in the past by sponsoring wreaths at locations in Milwaukee.
In 2021, the squadron decided to give back locally to Watertown, WI by sponsoring Oak Hill Cemetery and the more than 400 veterans there.
Please help honor and remember as many fallen heroes as possible by sponsoring remembrance wreaths, volunteering on Wreaths Day, or inviting your family and friends to attend with you.
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.
History of Watertown, Wisconsin