WEBB CITY, Mo. (Mount Hope Cemetery) — A few years ago we had the rare opportunity to see inside the Schifferdecker family mausoleum on a historic flashlight tour.
The mausoleum sits as one of nine inside the cemetery that Charles Schifferdecker helped to begin. He was originally buried in Joplin until the property was complete.
Schifferdecker was one of Joplin’s founding father’s, a successful businessman and philanthropist.
“A lot can be said about Mr. Schifferdecker, one of Joplin’s most prominent citizens of his time. Originally from Baden, Germany, Mr. Schifferdecker worked with Mr. Edward Zelleken at Zelleken’s brewery and later the two opened a bottling business, then established a wholesale beer and ice business in Joplin. Mr. Schifferdecker quickly moved on to the more lucrative banking and mining ventures.”~ Historic Murphysburg
FLASHLIGHT TOUR 2017
Mount Hope Cemetery was founded in 1905 by a handful of Joplin’s wealthiest. Their hope was to build a cemetery that could be cared for in perpetuity. Tonight the tour is to raise funds for new trees and other improvements on the grounds.
“It is a historic tour conducted in the evening. Same tour we do during the day but it gives the participants a different light on the cemetery,” Mount Hope staff tells us.
Some have been critical of the timing of the event with Halloween saying in part that it’s disrespectful to the families and those who are buried there.
One recent widow told us her thoughts on Mount Hope and the event:
“My husband’s is one of the recent graves at Mt Hope. When I chose Mt Hope, I was in shock and only chose due to its proximity to our home. The history in Mt Hope is overwhelming and beautiful. I am tied to the park forever now and I’m quite emotional about it. This is an effort to raise funds to beautify the park.”A.G., WEBB CITY
“There are nine mausoleums on the grounds. More that any other cemetery in the area. 16,000 notable people are buried here – they are all famous in a special way,” staff states.
Looking around at the headstones you can read names of Joplin, Webb City & Galena businessmen of the mining era 100+ years ago: Schifferdecker, Sergeant, Moffett, Leonard, Joplin co-founding father Patrick Murphy and Webb City founding father John Cornwall Webb.
MOUNT HOPE HISTORY (SOURCE: MOUNT HOPE HISTORY)
Prior to this time in the 1840’s a small community known as Pilot Grove occupied the site. During the Civil War the property was a formidable position to hold since the land occupied the highest peak in Jasper County.
Members of the founding corporation were W.S. Gunning, Alfred H. Rogers, Joseph Allen Hardy, Sr., William S. Chinn, Thomas F. Coyne, Thomas J. Roney, George W. Moore, R.B. Dodge, Charles Schifferdecker, James M. Leonard and James H. Dangerfield. Gunning and Rogers purchased the land for $11,500 from land owners W.A. and Elza J. Bigger, Jesse T. and Mary Webb L.D., and Clemma E. Jeans and John E. Webb. The cemetery’s original tract consisted of 77 acres of farmland.
The Mount Hope Cemetery Association was officially incorporated on April 12, 1905. The purpose of the corporation was to establish a park-like cemetery by laying out and subdividing tracts of land into cemetery lots and to preserve and maintain the cemetery in perpetuity. They funded the corporation with capital stock valued at $30,000. The $30,000 was divided into three hundred dollar shares parred at a value of $100 each.