A Cemetery by Any Other Name

In July of 1900, the West Davenport Cemetery Association was looking for a new name for the cemetery. They were worried that it was too easily confused with Davenport’s City Cemetery, which was also located on the west part of town.

How did they decide on a new name? They had a contest!

The directors of the Association invited the public to submit suggestions until noon on August 5th. The person who submitted the winning name would receive a “good” burial lot in the newly named cemetery!

The board of directors met on August 6th to pick the new name. The next day, the Davenport Democrat reported that there was a long list to choose from and more time was needed. The Association had received 175 entries from various places across the country, including New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Chicago.

Of all of the names submitted, the early front-runner was “Grand View Cemetery”. But the directors couldn’t decide so they appointed a committee to study the suggestions and report at a later time.

On August 29th, the newspapers reported that a name had been selected. Many of the entries made reference to the “view” from the place. However, the directors were partial to names that referred to the location, like “Fairmount”, “Greenmount” and “Greenwood”. The directors decided that they liked “Fairmount” best.

Since three different people had written in suggesting that particular name, the directors pulled the winner out of a hat. The lucky recipient of the “good” plot at  Fairmount Cemetery was none other than Miss Freda Schricker, 15-year-old daughter of J. C. Schricker, secretary of the West Davenport Cemetery Association.

Freda Schricker died on July 18, 1986, at the age of 99. If you are interested in locating her choice burial lot, you won’t find it at Fairmount Cemetery. Miss Schricker was buried at Oakdale Cemetery beside her mother and father.  

What’s more, the Oakdale Cemetery sectional book states that John C. Schricker himself purchased lot 146 and 147 of Section 27 for $950 on May 23, 1928.

An eight-foot monument marks their final resting place:

Schricker monument at Oakdale Cemetery. Photo courtesy of Deb Williams.

I wonder if that prize burial lot at Fairmount Cemetery is still up for grabs…?


Works Cited:

“Cemetery Renamed.” Davenport Democrat 29 August 1900: p. 4.

“Items in Brief.” Davenport Democrat 06 August 1900: p. 4.

“Name is Selected.” Davenport Times 29 August 1900: p. 8.

“The Cemetery Name.” Davenport Democrat 07 August 1900: p. 4.

“Win a Burial Lot.” Davenport Democrat 27 July 1900: p. 4.

(Posted by Cristina)

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2 Responses to A Cemetery by Any Other Name

  1. Joyce says:

    Very interesting and great detective work. Perhaps their choice of Oakdale had something to do with being on higher ground ;)

  2. ES says:

    My last name is Schricker too. :/

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