Saturday, July 04, 2015

Grand and glorious --- July 4, 1876

The centennial parade heads south along the west side of the square. Mallory Opera Block, which burned in 1903, is the biggest building. The Manning & Penick Building, also three stories, still stands.

Well, here it is the 4th of July --- in Chariton. The big parade begins at 1 p.m., there will be fireworks at 10 p.m. in Northwest Park, the carnival and other attractions fill the square --- and the weather is fantastic. So come on down.

And the flying anvil has just been launched! Heard it myself minutes ago --- along with a variety of other big bangs.

I've posted these photos, taken on the square July 4, 1876 --- our centennial year --- before. They are from the Lucas County Historical Society collection --- lifted from five stereoscope cards placed inside the 1876 centennial box, reopened after a frantic search finally located it in the Masonic Temple with considerable ceremony on July 4, 1976. Here they are again, along with the text of a brief report on the celebration published in The Chariton Patriot of July 5, 1876.

If the streets, which were dirt at the time, look a little muddy --- they were. There had been a huge storm overnight. Right click these images and open in new windows for closer views.

The Liberty Pole is front and center here (with the flag atop it outside the photographer's frame) --- he seems to have been focusing on the sea of mud around it. The north side of the square is in the distance and just a corner of the 1858 courthouse at right.

"The Fourth in Chariton: Pursuant to arrangements, the first Centennial 4th of July was duly celebrated in Chariton. The heavy rain and wind storm the evening before throughout the county caused the crowd to be much less than it otherwise would have been, but yet the gathering was creditably large, and the enthusiasm what might be expected on the hundredth birth-day of American Liberty.

"The day was cloudy but very pleasant and we do not hesitate to say that for a real genteel, orderly and enjoyable gathering it has never been equaled in Chariton. The crowd was estimated at 5,000 people, most of whom remained until after the evening's programme had been gone through with.

"We have not space to refer to the speeches and other performances except in a brief manner (the full text of some of those speeches are printed elsewhere in this issue of The Patriot). The welcoming address by Hon. Robert Coles, the speech on the military of our country, by Col. O.A. Bartholomew, the oration by Mr. Diefendorf and the speech by Judge Boyle, of Garden Grove, the latter of which was delivered at the Opera House in the evening, as well as the responses to toasts by Col. W.S. Dungan, Mr. F.C. Fearing, Hon. E.E. Edwards, Hon. S.D. Wheeler, and Mr. S. Stewart were all good and rang with genuine Centennial patriotism.

Here's the west side of the courthouse with a small percentage of the day's crowd keeping feet relatively dry on the grass of the courthouse lawn.

"In the afternoon the "Whang Doodle" parade came off. This consisted of about one hundred men and boys mounted and dressed in a variety of grotesque costumes, and who were led through the streets by a tin band furnishing music in keeping with the appearance of the procession and the whole affording much amusement for the multitude. The Russell and Chariton brass bands, and the Chariton Glee Club enlivened the day with rare music while the roaring of the cannon reminded the crowd that it was only through the thunder tones of this instrument of death that our liberties were spoken into existence.

The Chariton Cornet Band, aboard a wagon behind horses wearing blankets emblazond with its insignia, was among the parade entries.

"The procession was fine, embracing the Masons and Odd Fellows of the county, two brass bands, and a large, beautifully decorated wagon containing 37 Misses representing the States of the Union and a young lady representing the Goddess of Liberty.

"In the evening a fine pyrotechnic display was made in the square after which the crowd dispersed universally feeling good that they had participated in the patriotic and extremely pleasant exercises of the day."

And here's the Russell Cornet Band looking very dashing indeed.

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