Ceremony Lauds Founding German Immigrants

Tamara Fudge, Quad-City Times (Davenport, Iowa), May 27, 2007

John Schinckel and Ben Fuhendorf would have been proud on Saturday as descendants of German immigrants attended the second annual Founder’s Day ceremony, this time held at Fairmount Cemetery in Davenport.

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“This is to honor the German immigrants who are buried here and who came to establish the area,” said Noreen Steenbock, secretary of the Schuetzenpark Gilde.

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Many of the Germans in the area came from a part of northern Germany known as Schleswig-Holstein.

“There was a huge wave of immigration after the failed revolution of 1848,” said Kody Darnall, president of the Schuetzenpark Gilde.

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And despite the Saturday rain and intermittent downpours, about 80 people attended. The Bix Beiderbecke Youth Jazz Band, directed by Nikki Whittaker of Knox College, played a few tunes, including one of Bix’s own, “In a Mist.” The ties were obvious, as Bix’s paternal grandparents were born in Germany.

Carol Schaefer said the event was to remind us “what we owe to those who came before us,” both German immigrants and others.

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Historian Scott Christiansen spoke of such immigrants as architect Frederick George Clausen, who designed the Peterson (Redstone) Building, Central High School, churches and other buildings. He said his own great-great-grandfather Jürgen Peter Ankerson had a vineyard that overlooked the cemetery.

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