Monday, June 07, 2021

An "unusually ardent" Fourth of July in Chariton

The 4th of July almost always has been celebrated in a big way in Chariton and now that June is here,  schedules for this year's event, scheduled for Friday-Sunday, July 2-4, are circulating. 

I took a look back 120 years --- to June and July of 1901 --- and discovered the schedule for that year's celebration in The Chariton Democrat. Those in charge of fund-raising for the 2021 version might be interested to know that the projected cost of Independence Day 1901 was $115. The following description of this "unusually ardent" observance was published in The Herald of June 20:


Arrangements are fully completed for an unusually ardent Fourth of July celebration in Chariton this year. The committee on finances, Messrs. Courter, Fluke and Kirkhart, did their work so well that ample funds are on hand to make the day one long to be remembered in Chariton and vicinity. the celebration will not be conducted along the usual stereotyped lines. 

There will of course be lots of noise and scaring of horses and powder burned fingers and faces, but the main features of the day in Chariton will be varied from the usual program. There will be a speaker, and a good one, and there will be fireworks in the evening and attractions of the greased pole variety.

In the afternoon there will be a parade of floats and private vehicles decorated in magnificent style for the occasion. And in the evening there will be another parade, illuminated with all manner of lights, and with floats from the business houses and private citizens. A prize will be given to the best float gotten up by a private citizen.

There will be a number of wagons that will encircle the square all evening, firing thousands of roman candles toward the court house tower. Such a display of fire balls will have never been seen before in this part of the west.


I read ahead a little, primarily because I was concerned about the courthouse what with all those Roman candles pointed toward it, but no damage occurred, the celebration generally was well received and, according to The Patriot's July 11 report, "The crowd was quite orderly for a Fourth of July crowd, and the officers tell us they did not see any drunks, and did not have occasion to arrest anyone."

The size of the crowd disappointed some, but attendance was influenced by the fact there were big competing celebrations on the same date in Russell, Derby, Lucas, Cleveland and Newbern and smaller observances at Norwood --- a community picnic in Clore's Grove --- and Oakley, an evening ice cream social and display of fireworks.

Here's what's on tap for this year's celebration in Chariton:

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