ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Memorial Day Observance

Decoration Day


06 05          MEMORIAL DAY 1900

The weather conditions of last Wednesday were all that could be desired for a proper observation of Memorial Day, and the exercises as arranged by the O. D. Pease Post, No. 94, G. A. R., and the Woman’s Relief Corps were generally participated in by our citizens.  The principal ceremonies were held in the afternoon and were of an order to invoke reverence and honors for the noble soldier dead.  At 1:30 o’clock the procession formed at Grand Army hall and marched to Oak cemetery . . . . At the cemetery memorial services according to the Grand Army ritual were held over the grave of Lafayette Damp, a member of the post who died last fall, the customary salute being fired at the conclusion of the services.  Thereupon the line of march was resumed to Turner Opera house, where the exercises were opened with an address of welcome by A. E. Needham, commander of the post . . . .  The Opera house was filled to overflowing and Mr. [Joseph] Davies’ oration was listened to with the greatest interest.  His effort was a masterly one and delivered with the eloquence and feeling that stamped him as a public speaker of rare genius and wonderful resources.  Not in many a day has Watertown had the pleasure of hearing a more able address or a more cultured orator.   WR



Watertown Weekly Leader 06 06 1908


Memorial Day, May 30, 1908, will long be remembered by the citizens of Watertown, especially the children who with badges and flags took part in the parade.  At an early hour, the indications that the day was to be clear, influenced old and young to devote the day to the memory of those who took part in the great civil war and now sleep in the cemeteries in this city. 


On this occasion, there was a departure from the ordinary observance of the day and highly appropriate and should be continued, and that was the marching of the band and cadet company from the Northwestern University to the city park and placing garlands upon the monuments erected by Robert E. Lewis to the memory of the soldiers and sailors who enlisted in the service of their country from the city of Watertown.  And in this connection, it might not be amiss to call attention to the fact, that the names of Watertown's heroic dead ought to be engraved upon the monument.  There are a sufficient number of patriotic men in this city who would contribute the funds to defray the expense if someone would take the initiative.


Upon the public buildings and many of the business buildings "Old Glory" was hung at half mast, the stars and stripes waved from many private homes and there were a large number of elegant, patriotic decorations . . .



Watertown Gazette, 06 03 1910


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 . . .




Silently a group of high school students stood mingled with strangers near Memorial Bridge, patiently waiting for the long awaited event.  Five or ten minutes passed and then out of the quiet air a sound of a band was heard.  Then all eyes and ears were alert.  The Cavalry Band led the procession.  When about one third of the parade had crossed the bridge, the people of the parade stopped, the band played “The Star Spangled Banner,” the flags went up; hats went off and a beautiful wreath was dropped from a hovering airplane into the water.  The spectators then regained their breath and the old men, who had lived through those perilous years, wiped an unashamed tear away. T he remaining parade consisting of boys and girls from Junior High, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and shining automobiles finished the procession that led to the Oak Hill Cemetery.    The Blue and White, 06 1931, Published by the Students of Watertown High School.



Watertown Daily Times, 05 27 1966


With bright sunshine flooding the city, flags flying in a cool breeze that prevailed during temperatures in the 50s, Watertown yesterday celebrated another Memorial Day.  There were crowds along the streets where the parade marched from the city’s west side, with a halt at Cole Memorial bridge and then to Watertown Veterans Memorial Park where the solemn rituals were carried out.  Speaker of the day was Loran F. Patten of Horicon, state commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Commander Palmer J. Freres of the Pitterle-Beaudoin Post 189, the American Legion opened the program and presided at the ceremonies.



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