THE WAMEGO REPORTER- 1884
Microfilm available from KS State Historical Society
Microfilm Reel - W2838

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JULY 11, 1884.

NEWS ARTICLE: Our Neighbors.


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The Fourth at Lousville.


   The good people of our sister city made grand preparations to celebrate the Nation's Birth Day, and they congratulate themselves on the fact that their celebration was a success.   The parade was quite imposing and added no little to the other attractions of the day.   It was composed of the Wamego Post, G. A. R., in uniform with their band of martial music; the Louisville Silver Cornet Band; the Louisville lodge of Odd Fellows in full regalia, with their fine banner; thirty-eight young ladies in white, representing the sates of the Union, with Miss Amelia Bittmann at the head, representing the Goddess of Liberty.  Miss Florrie Beal represented Kansas, who carried with her a bundle of wheat, illustrative of the growing industry of our young state.   These were followed by the school children.   Hon. A. C. Merritt was marshal of the day, Geo. Trout commanded the Post, and G. R. Anderson the Odd Fellows.

   Assembled in the beautiful park, the people were called to order by Hon. R. S. Hick, who, in a few well chosen words welcomed the all to Lakeside Park and to Louisville.  He then introducted Rev. B. F. Grant, of the Congregational church, who delivered a brief, but impressive prayer.

   A select choir, made up of singers from Wamego and Louisville, then sang some patriotic airs, when Will Bittmann, Esq., was introduced and read the grand old declaration of Independence in a style, impressive and intelligible to all.   Will received many compliments on his reading.

   After the music by the band, Hon. Noble L. Prentiss, of the Atchison Champion, was introduced and delivered one of his best orations.   Every body knows Prentiss, and all know his ability in this line, and when we say it was one of his best, all know just what it was. He was frequently interrupted by applause, and was loudly cheered at the close.

   After music by the band, adjoured till after dinner.

   At one o'clock the Japanese Fire Works were displayed from the north bank, but as we did not get to see them, cannot speak personally of their appearance.  Yet everybody says they were beautiful and novel.

   In the afternoon, the people were again called to order, and speeches made by Hon. J. A. Moninger, of this city, and Chas. E. Johnson, Esq. of Louisville.   These gentlemen made eloquent and practical addresses, that were listened to attentively by some thousand or more persons, who were seated around the stand, and were roundly applauded by their efforts.

   Vocal and instrumental mustic was interspersed during the afternnon exercises.

   Various amusements, such as dancing, rowing, diving, running, climbing the greased pole, tub racing, and other novel entertainments filled up the afternoon.

   In the evening there were fireworks and dancing.

   There was a very large crowd of people, variously estimated at from 3,000 to 5,000, and all seemed to enjoy themselves.   There was no disturbance of any kind.

   The springs were visited by all, many times during the day, and everyone was well pleased with the water.

   Mrs. Prentiss accompanied her husband and renewed old acquaintences in that city. Our readers know her as Mrs. Carrie Anderson.

   Below will be found Mr. Prentiss' account of the celebration, taken from the Sunday Champion:

THE FOURTH IN POTTAWATOMIE.

   A journey of two hundred miles - going and coming - in the finest half of Kansas, affords plenty to please the eye and set any brain to thinking, especially, when one object and result of the journey is to meet several thousand of Kansas people, all dressed in their best, and in their most inspiring and patriotic and happiest mood. The exhilerating effect of the Kansas sun and sky and earth, when all combine to make a perfect day, whether it is in mid-summer or mid-winter have been often noted by travelers, home and foreign, but the cheeriest sight is a crowd of Kansas people, the picked men and women who have come away from the old East, with is communities divided into "upper village," and "lower village," and village on the hill, and their century old jealousies; and the old families with their law suits about line fences and such things; old towns where the newest house is older than Kansas.

   This sort of people with their Kansas born babies, were present in great profusion at the old town of Louisville, the former capital of Pottawatomie county, on the 108th anniversary of the signing of the always-to-be-celebrated Declaration. The telgraph dispatches put the numbers at 5,000, but we won't quarrel about tww or three thousand people, more or less. The general statement at the gathering was the largest ever seen at Louisville, a town which has been a rallying point since 1859 will cover the ground.

   The seat of justice, as has been intimated, has been removed from Louisville, but no proceeding by petition, mandamus, or other of the multifarious devices of the law, has, as yet, removed Rock Creek, and out of the Rock Creek crossing grew Louisville, in the first place, and while it runs the place will have a charm. Geologists may or may not be able to give a reason for it, but there is a sudden change for the better in the appearance of streams emptying into the Kaw from the north, as you advance westward. The Muddy, Soldier and other steams in the neighborhood of Topeka are sluggish and uninteresting, but the streams of Pottawatomie and Riley counties are bold and free, running over rocky ledges, and Rock Creek makes one think of the Doon and streams in the Scotch lowlands. There is a view of it as you cross the bridge at Louisville, which would make a landscape artist's fortune.

   The enterprising, Mr. Chilcott and his partner, Mr. Nagle, have had the foresight and good taste to save about ten acres of woodland - not brush, but genuine forest primeval, g?rt about by the windings of this stream, and have established there a park. To add to the advantage of the place they have discovered and opened two springs, one with a not unpleasant taste of iron, and the other called the 'sweet spring,' which seems more strongly impregnated with sulphur. Of the real medicinal qualities of these waters the writer cannot speak from positive knowledge. A striking statement, however, was made to him which he gives to the public, viz: that this iron water when poured into whisky instantly turns it black. This suggest a use for it in the department of household chemistry. When Tiberius returns to his villa at mid night, with vehement protestations of attachment to the prohibotory amendment and a strong smell of burnt coffee and cloves; the virtusous Cornelia, having put the Gracchi to bed, may admister to the Roman father a quart of this magic water, and if his nose turns a dark olive brown, may safely pronounce the veridt, "Drunk, again," and cast him into outer darkness.

   It was in this park, with its new constructed driveways and the two springs, and the waters of Rock Creek, here converted into a lake, crossed by a pontoon bridge ingeniously buoyed up with barrels, that they had at Louisville an "old-fashioned" celebration on the Fourth. There was to begin with, the "old" flag; and lots of it, floating from the "liberty pole" on the village street; twined with the roses that clamber over the pretty white houses of the village; enfluttering in the headstall of the big, sleek fram horses that came trotting into town drawing wagon loads of hearty people, old and young, who had let the reaper stand still in the field for a day, while they had a "good time," like patriotic American citizens over the old quill pen and signature business at Philadelphia an hundred yeaars ago. Then there was a procession; the Odd Fellows, and the G. A. R., and then the girls; the beautiful Miss Liberty, with her cap and all the States and Territories. A brave sight it was. Beauty seems to be native and hereditary in the locality. One of the prettiest women the writer ever knew, was, if his memory serves him right , a daughter of Robert Wilson, the founder of Louisville. The procession moved to the sound of old-time music. The Cornet band played "Hail Columbia" - once; "Washington's March" - and airs of that nature; and what is this that the martial band is playing for the veterans of the G. A. R.? It is "The Girl I Left Behind me;" best old tune yet ever blown through fife or rub-a-dudbed out of sheepskin; an air known to the English soldier ever so long ago, and transmitted to this side of the water, to cheer the soldier's heart and make him pick up his feet on the weariest of marches, on the hottest of afternoons.

   In the park, when the procession had reached its destination, there was patrotic singing, and a fervent prayer by Rev. Mr. Grant, who had also Marshalled "Liberty" and her beauteous buttalion. Then there was an "oration" about the Declaration of Independence and kindered subject, and there was the reading of the Declaration by Mr. Will Bittmann. The Declaration is always read; and generally read badly. It has something legal and technical in its construction and the average reader rattles it off as if it were some District Court document. "And now come the United States of America, by Thomas Jefferson, their attorney, and being duly sworn depose and say that, " etc., etc. But Mr. Bittmann read the great paper as it ought to be read, setting forth the grievances in a spirted and dignified manner, and the final declaration in which heaven and earth are appealed to, in a solemn and reverent manner. All this from a stand wreathed in flags and flowers, with a great display of taste. All, you see, as a Fourth of July celebration shoud be.

   Then came the dinner in the greenwod sl a le, with happiness all around the board, and an abundance, such as is found at such tunes and such places, and then in the afternoon Mr. Chas E. Johnson, of Louisville, and Mayor Moninger, of Wamego, spoke and then the eagle was left to fly into what Alf Burnett was accustomed to call the "blue empirium," for the rest of the day.   Thackernay, in one of his lectures, speaks in a half regretful tone of the decline of sport in what was once "Merrie England." We have had occasion to deplore the over abundant seriousness of Americans and the solemn, earnest way in which they go about the labor of amusing themselves. But as much jollity as ever was seen around an English Maypole was scattered all over the park. Delighted crowds watched the tub race, and the boat race, and the swimming match, and the boys who jumped, like frogs, from the spring-board, and then there was the dancing, continuing with no lack of music or partners; all the afternoon in spite of the sun, which sifted through the leaves, Balancing, swinging, turning, changing far into the night.

   The marked feature of all this mirth and jollity kept up the nearly twenty-four hours, was, that there was not to mar the pleasure of the well-disposed, a noisy, dirty, officious, offensive, quarrelsome or drunken person to be seen.

   The sun went down, but then the fire baloons and rockets went up, with the applauding shouts of the rising generations. It was nearly towards mid-night before the roll of wheels announced that the farmer people were seeking their homes, which will resound for a month to come with descriptions of the "Fourth" as it came in great glory to Lousville.

   To one fond of taking his pleasure in a quiet fashion, there was much to enjoy outside of the ccelebration (sic) proper. The pleasure of sitting down beside the sweet voiced refined and venerable Mrs. Crawford on Independence Day, and hearing her speak of her ancestor who was a signer of the Declaration; or of sitting in a garden and hearing the distant music at night, which a sweet little girl over whose head four wise summers had passed, called attention to the signular astronomical fact that where ever you go the "moon goes with you," always keeping over your head.

   The most difficult paragraph to wire, and the longest, if impartial jusice (sic) were done, is the closing one, in which we "return thanks." So many were kind that we have not time to mention all. The briefest mention should include Mr. John M. Cotton, of the Wamego Reporter, for courtesies begun early and kept up late; to Mr. R. M. Chilcott, for much information imparted; and Mr. and Mrs. G., R. Anderson, for abounding hospitality.

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