could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

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 River.
Gathered about 11:30

The different schools marched into the grove:
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?]

Afternoon exercises
Musical selection – Prof. Worley
Recitations - Misses Edith George, Flora Sprague, Carrie Marsh and Flossie Day

Bassett says there were not less than 500 children in attendance –

[were there that many people in the area in 1872?]

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 observance
        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
It rained
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 anvil fired
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 with rockets
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 mill
        Drilling, Inspection, Parading, played ball
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 the states
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
Potato race
100 yd foot race
Wheel barrow race
Barrel 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
        Program –
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 cycling park
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 hoarse."
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 Lake.

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" were shown.

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!"

Copyright ©   All rights reserved


You may use content from this web site for your personal, not-for-profit purposes only. 


 Search Our Site

Please send Mardi Anderson your comments/feedback

Revised: 02/11/2018