Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick

Anniversary Celebrations

The Van Buren Company laid out a triangular-shaped area during the summer of 1837 and began building a village. The postmaster operated from a cave along the river, under the name of Port Oro. Meanwhile, at two other nearby locations, settlements began forming called Keosauqua and Des Moines City, and the names were interchangeable.

In 1836, when Van Buren County was formed, the only village laid out and populated within the confines of the Black Hawk Strip, was Farmington. It was designated county seat, “until the interior of the county is sufficiently developed,” and court was held there in April, 1837, and again in April, 1838.

By then, the interior of the county had quickly settled. After a contest among several villages, Van Buren was chosen by vote to be the new county seat. Van Buren combined with the area next to it, under the name Keosauqua, in October, 1838. During the following year, the triangle-shaped area of Des Moines City merged, and the entire area was platted as the new town and county seat, Keosauqua.

A Centennial celebration was held in Keosauqua in 1939, to commemorate one hundred years since the three villages united and were platted as one town. An estimated 5,000 people crammed the streets of downtown Keosauqua during the event.

In 1989, a Sesquicentennial celebration was held in Keosauqua to mark the 150th anniversary of Keosauqua. It was noted in the Van Buren County Register following this four-day event, that the next big celebration would be in 2014, marking 175 years in anniversary. The question was then raised, what is the 175th celebration called?

Under “Anniversary Names,” Wickipedia, on the Internet, there are two possible names for the event, either of which is acceptable. It should either be called “demisemiseptcentennial” or “quartoseptcentennial.”

Latin-derived numerical names use root elements of each word literally multiplied together to create anniversary names. For example, the word sesquicentennial for 150 years is broken down as sesqui (1 ½) x centennial (100). Sometimes new anniversary names are coined incorrectly by adding the root element rather than multiplying. It notes that some have incorrectly used “terquasquicentennial” for 175 years when it literally means 375 years. Likewise “septaquintaquinquecentennial” is a coined word for 175 years when it literally means 35,000 years!

Here are the proper designations for anniversaries in the nature of reference:

Semicentennial 50 years (1889)

Semisesquicentennial 75 years (1914)

Centennial 100 years (1939)

Quasquicentennial 125 years (1964)

Sesquicentennial 150 years (1989)

Quartoseptcentennial 175 years (2014)

Demisemiseptcentennial (option for 2014)

Bicentennial 200 years (2039)

Semiquincentennial 250 years (2089)

Tercentennial 300 years (2139)

Tricentennial (option for the event in 2139)

Mark your calendars for all of these events, accordingly. It is easier to use and remember the simplest word possible for the occasion, which for the 175-year anniversary would be quartoseptcentennial.

(from “Anniversary Names,” Wickipedia, Internet)

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Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick