Vol. XVI No. 7 July 1935
Fourth at Webster
In the second issue of his Hamilton Freeman, Charles Aldrich
the celebration of Independence Day at the little frontier town of
in 1857. No better commentary upon the character, habits, loyalty, and
the people of that community could have been written. - The Editor.
the 81st Anniversary of our National Independence, in good,
patriotic style. The festivities commenced with a Grand Ball at the
House, the evening previous. A large number of young people were in
who whiled away the night in the mazes of the gay dance, and only
when the National Salute was fired at sunrise.
10 a.m. the Procession
was formed on the Public Square, under the direction of the Marshal,
Peake, and his assistants. The procession was headed by a Military
organized for the occasion, then came the citizens generally, and after
Sunday Schools of this vicinity- the whole presenting a very fine
commodious stand and seats had been erected in the grove just back of
which the people marched.
Moon, Esq., presided.
Rev. J. K. Large was introduced to the audience, and opened the
a most eloquent and impressive prayer. J. J. Wadsworth, Esq., read in a
clear and distinct manner, that “old abolition document,” the
Independence. J.F. Duncombe, Esq., having failed to redeem his promise
deliver the Oration, S. B. Rosenkrans, Esq., of this village, took the
delivered an Address to which he had been able to devote only a few
preparation. It was a very fine production, abounding in happy hits and
stirring eloquence. He was frequently and loudly applauded, and few
could have given better satisfaction to a Webster City audience.
exercises at the
grove were interspersed with the singing of several patriotic songs, by
formed for the occasion in this village. All who had a part assigned
these proceedings acquitted themselves in a highly creditable manner.
benediction was pronounced, the procession was again formed, and
to the Willson House, where the guests sat down to a bountiful Dinner.
appropriate toasts were read after dinner, beginning with “The Day we
Celebrate.” Then followed others to the memory of George Washington,
President of the United States, the Governor of Iowa, our Army and
heroes of the Revolution, the Congress of 1776, the Dubuque and Pacific
Road, and the “Women of the Age in which we Live-May they never forget
blessings of religion, or fail in perpetuating its influences upon our
To most of these toasts the citizens responded with cheers, though to
drank in silence. The last Toast, the Pulpit and the Press, was
responded to by
Rev. Mr. Large, in a short, but neat and appropriate speech.
were then offered, in honor of the President of the Day, the Orator,
Ladies, etc., etc., but the following are all we have been able to
John Peake-He has by
his courtesy and noble bearing won the admiration of the men-May he be
successful in winning the confidence and love of the ladies.
the above, presented
on behalf of the Ladies, the “Col.” Made a brief but appropriate
following sentiment was then read:
Pioneer Farmers of
Hamilton County-Men who bore the unceasing brunt of toil and privation
opening to civilization one of the most fertile and lovely regions of
West-May they live long to enjoy the substantial blessings they have
Peter Lyon was called
out to respond to this toast. He was surprised to see such a large and
audience before him-something he never anticipated when he came to this
When he came here six years ago, there were but four settlers along the
River. No houses here. Provisions were very scarce, and had to be
Ft. Des Moines. There was no grist-mill in this vicinity, and he
small hand-mill to grind his corn. He thought this was earning his meal
sweat of his brow.” He had to use his “thinking cap” then, and he found
very necessary article. He had frequently seen nearly as many elk
our village plat as there were people before him: and he had shot one
few rods from the spot he then occupied. He detailed at some length the
and privations of the early settlers, frequently producing convulsions
laughter among the audience, by his quaint sayings and pithy anecdotes.
expected to live and die here, with only his few border neighbors
but he was pleased beyond the power of expression to see so many
evidences of a thrifty civilization about him. When he closed, three
cheers were given for the “Old Pioneer.”
entertained the audience with some interesting reminiscences of the
here. He came here to enter land for purposes of speculation, but the
beauty and fertility of the country had induced him to remain and
farmer. He came down in good strong terms upon “land-sharks,” though he
admitted having been one to some extent himself. The great want of
County was practical farmers. He was improving his land as rapidly as
and it gave him great pleasure to see so many in the same business. He
southern man, and he considered the Yankees a shrewd, trafficking ,
but he liked to live among them.
“Merry Boys of
Webster City” came out in the afternoon, in their very fantastic and
They had Border Ruffians, “cullud pussons,” Irishmen, Yankees,
ossifers,” and a great variety of other characters, all of whom
parts in a manner that excited infinite mirth. They danced a Cotillion
Public Square, and sang two original songs, composed for the occasion,
which they vanished as mysteriously as they had appeared.
weather was fine, the
attendance large, nobody drunk, and every one was pleased with the
from first to last.