Here’s to the U.S.A., and here’s an account of her birthday, as celebrated in Skidmore, Missouri, in 1907. From the Skidmore New Era, July 11, 1907, page 1:
A Great Celebration.
People Came from Far and Near to Listen to the Speeches of Homer M. Cook, Rev. Sapp and Others.
From 2,000 to 3,000 Here.
Interesting Contests and Races.
Noisy Explosions, but no One Injured.
Along about midnight of July 3rd the report of the first cannon aroused the good people of our city from their peaceful slumbers. From that time on until daylight the cannon and anvils were discharged at intervals frequent enough to prevent further sound slumbers.
At the break of day this noisy demonstration ceased, but later in the day fire crackers, torpedoes, cap pistols and kindred noise makers made plenty of noise which was kept up without intermission until late in the evening.
The crowd began to come early, some in automobiles, some in buggies, carriages and wagons, others on horseback, while others came on foot. When the passenger train arrived from the north it brought another large installment of those wishing to celebrate the Nation’s birthday in a fitting manner.
About ten o’clock the band led the way to the grounds where the exercises of the day took place.
It was here that the band and vocal music was heard. Rev. Welton invoked the Divine blessing, W. M. Howden read the Declaration of Independence, and Rev. W. M. Sapp delivered an oration that bristled with patriotism and took his hearers back in thought to the days when the Declaration was written, signed and accepted by the colonies.
Then came dinner. Those who had prepared and brought their lunch with them had no trouble in finding shade under which to eat it, while others repaired to town, where their hunger was appeased at the hotel and restaurants. Then after dinner the crowd that came in the morning, greatly augmented by new arrivals, again repaired to the grounds, where they listened to more vocal and band music.
The address delivered in the afternoon by Homer M. Cook, president of the Maryville Normal School, was listened to with interest. While his talk was short it was full of patriotism and in thorough keeping with the occasion on which it was delivered.
After President Cook had finished, Rev. Sapp was again called to the platform to speak for a few minutes. He was followed by Rev. Welton, who made some timely remarks.
Then came the amusements. The first event was the ring tournament, which was participated in by some six or eight horsemen. After each rider had his try at the rings it was found that Robert Barrett, Jr., was entitled to the first prize and Hallie Merritt received the second prize.
In the little girls ring race Hazel Beverlin was the winner while Julia Horn carried away second money.
The blind race was won by J. Carlton, and Eugene Keenan carried away the spoils in 100 yards free for all race.
Lawrence Howden was awarded first prize in the bicycle trick riding contest, with Rollo Howden a close second. The bicycle race was won by Wm. Howden, Jr., and Willie Horn took second money.
For a time after supper the great noise made by the explosives was incessant, but no accidents of a serious nature took place and save some burned fingers those who celebrated at Skidmore left in as good physical condition as when they came. It was long after the fire works had been fired, before the last of our visitors departed for their homes.
It is with pride we announce that there was no one on our streets under the influence of liquor and that no arrests were made on that account.