Fourth of July
From Louisa Collins Diary –
July 4, 1871 – Louisa Collins’ father was visiting and they took
a ride to look at some land he was thinking of buying.
From Bassett –
July 4, 1872 – A picnic celebrated by the Gibbon Homestead Colony [1
year after arriving]
4 miles east of Gibbon in Dugdale’s cottonwood grove on the bank of the Wood
Gathered about 11:30
The different schools marched into the
1st – Wood River School with banner –
streamers, rosettes &
eagle with scroll in center
– 60 members
2nd – Dist. 1 – 115 members
3rd – Gibbon School with banner –
“Gibbon Sunday School”
on front, “Holy Bible” on back
– 150 members
4th – Wood River Union School with flag and banner –
“Union Sunday School”
on front, “God is Love” on back
– 65 members
[That’s 390 people]
The Program –
Opening prayer – Rev. Wm. Morse
[lived north of Kearney – 1st assigned minister of 1st UMC]
“America” – audience led by Prof. D. B. Worley at the organ
Declaration of Independence – read by Rev. J. J. W. Place
“Beautiful River” – sung by Gibbon School
Oration - H. D. Niles
[break for dinner?]
Musical selection – Prof. Worley
Recitations - Misses Edith George, Flora Sprague, Carrie Marsh and
Bassett says there were not less than 500 children in attendance –
[were there that many people in the area
July 4, 1874 - a celebration was held
"in the schoolhouse", according to Mrs. D. C. Hostetter, in Come Back
Letter, which "'had speaking and singing and all were glad we were there ...
were like a family."
July 4, 1876 - The nation's Centennial - In addition to a large civic
Government opened the Fort Kearny
military reservation for settlement.
July 4, 1880 - Hugh Sydenman recalled Kearney Cornet Band
Charlie Swan was drum major and "blew
the big horn. He was so tall and skinny I wondered where he got all the wind
to make the noise with."
Homer Green, "a dapper young fellow
in an immaculate uniform," played cornet and was the leader.
Tom Hull and his bass drum.
Firing of the National salute,
accomplished with a pair of anvils.
“Somebody got hurt in this act but it
wasn't me and I soon forgot who the person was."
July 4, 1891 – [in Boom Period]
Kearney stores were closed
K & BH RR ran 4 excursion trains up the line – 355 people
No rain in Calloway – ballgame won by Kearney 14-8
Rain in Sumner
Eddyville – released a small eagle
Miller – some rain – big crowd to listen to Norris Brown oration
July 4, 1892 – [entering depression]
Quiet in Kearney, no firecrackers of
Bunting; flags over businesses and private homes
Numerous picnics and field sports in groves outside the city
A few private pyrotechnic exhibitions in the evening & some boys
Big picnic at Ft. Kearney
John Barnes grove – picnic, plenty of beer, dancing in the evening
Industrial School boys and officers spent day in grove south of cotton
Drilling, Inspection, Parading,
K & BH RR excursion train left Kearney At 8 a.m. & returned in evening
Draper’s Boys Band road along to
Amherst and road back
B & M excursion train went to Hastings to watch base ball tournament
July 4, 1893
“Best Parade Ever Seen in Kearney”
Led by Midway Band
Float with Goddess of Liberty surrounded by 44 little girls representing
Over a mile long; ended at the high school park.
Mayor MC – two orations
[break for dinner]
Bicycle race – started at Lambert Bros. Sporting goods store 2205
Central. One contestant fell at the start, another got a 10-penny nail
in his tire. Two went half way and turned around, but though they were
first across the finish line they were not declared winners. Just after
the 2nd bicyclist crossed the finish line a young girl ran across the
street and was struck by #3. 2 teeth knocked out and bruised a little
but nothing serious
Hose cart race
100 yd foot race
Wheel barrow race
Three legged race
Lacrosse championship game with Omaha at the ball field
(rode the trolley to get there)
Kearney won in a good clean game.
Wild West Show – old stagecoach loaded passengers at courthouse, up
Central, attacked by Indians at railroad, saved by the cavalry
Fire works ended the day
July 4, 1894 – “It Was a Hummer”
Parade 2 miles long, formed on Ave. A
and moved north
Bands, national guard, fire truck,
the old stagecoach, “Indians”, the city fathers, the speakers of the day
(4), organizations, veterans, a minstrel band, 480 bicyclists (a few women),
and a circus ending at “the park” about 11:30
The national anthem, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” by a quartette
Speakers – 1 ½ hours, Midway band palyed a piece between each speech
Frank Beeman “Our Country”
W. D. Oldham “Our Forefathers”
George E. Ford “Their Deeds Sustained” referring to Our Forefathers”
N. P. McDonald “Our Flag”
W. L. Greene “Mothers of our Nation”
Break for dinner
Afternoon activities –
4th Annual League of American Wheelmen race in new ampitheatre in new
9 races of anywhere from ¼ to 5 miles.
1st & 2nd prizes - $40-45 & $15-20
July 4, 1898 - Townspeople were forced to go
elsewhere to celebrate the Fourth of July that year.
Pleasanton - "The Honorable W. L. Greene spread the eagle in his own
peculiar style, jumped on the Spanish, and howled for the flag until he was
The Kearney Hub noted, "People did more celebrating than for a long time."
Early 1900’s - A typical Fourth of July celebration
Band concerts on the high school lawn.
Part of the Fourth of July observance might be held on the banks of Kearney
A "train carnival" might pull into town and set up rides and other
attractions on Central Avenue.
At times the observation car of the train was opened up and folded back to
make room for a screen on which such movies as "The Great Train Robbery"
Dr. Frank O. Raasch tells of the year that a Baptist minister appeared at a
city council meeting to protest the "girlie show" at the carnival.
"Why, you can even see part of their bosoms," he said.
"Why, that's terrible," the mayor exclaimed. "I move we adjourn and
investigate this ourselves!"