How We Celebrated

One really cannot ask for more than a good crowd, an enjoyable day, and the best of order.  All the hard work, effort,  fundraising and advertising paid off, and Skidmore celebrated the National Birthday in grand style.  From the July 7, 1899 Skidmore Standard:
The National Birthday
Celebrated In a Fitting Manner.
Skidmore In The Front Ranks of Patriotism.  A Good Crowd, An Enjoyable Day, and The Best Of Order.

Our noble country has passed one more mile stone in her wonderful growth and progress.  One more paragraph has been indelibly written on her page in the history of nations.  Once more her free-born and freedom loving people have demonstrated the same patriotic sentiments which had their birth in the minds of our progenitors and which have been handed down to us from mother to daughter and from father to son.

The one hundred and twenty-third anniversary of our nation’s birth was observed with as much patriotism as was ever evinced by our fathers or their fathers of any previous occasion of the kind.  It is a significant fact.

Every true American celebrated the day in some manner, even though he was in foreign lands, how it was done concerns them; how it was done here in Skidmore concerns us.

How We Celebrated
Our readers are all aware that great preparations had been made for celebrating, this year, and that a good time and a large crowd were anticipated.  Be it known then that when the morning dawned with a heavy, threatening sky, coupled with the fact that several showers of rain had fallen throughout the previous day, we were much concerned lest our day should be spoiled.  The booming anvils, the howling, yelling, happy boy with his popping fire crackers, the waving flags and the general hustle and bustle of people, however, soon dispelled the gloomy forebodings.

The country people were slow in coming to town but by the time everything was in readiness, a good crowd was present.

Rev. J. W. Owen, pastor of the M. E. church, South, invoked the blessings of the Supreme One for the day and the people, after which the band and chorus joined in playing and singing, “Columbia.”  Stratford Saunders, president of the day, who has acted in that capacity on so many previous occasions that he is now past master in the art, delivered a short, well-worded address of welcome and Mr. W. M. Howden read the Declaration of Independence.  Then followed the introduction of the first speaker, Hon. J. West Goodwin, editor of the Sedalia Bazoo, of the “tall white hat” fame.  His address occupied the time before noon.

After dinner, Hon. B. Raleigh Martin, Nodaway county’s young and eloquent prosecuting attorney, and Rev. Samuel Augustus Steel, of Nashville, Tennessee, delivered addresses, after which came the amusements, consisting of the balloon ascension and double parachute leap, tug of war between the Woodmen lodges, foot race, etc. and the fireworks display at night.

All through, it was a most enjoyable program and the crowd, which was estimated at from two to three thousand people, spent the time very pleasantly and profitably.

The Skidmore Military Band.
Furnished splendid music from early in the morning until after the fireworks at night.  It was a hard day’s work and the boys earned their money and the many compliments which they received.

Reading The Declaration of Independence.
The committee neglected to ask anyone to read the Declaration of Independence until the morning of the Fourth and for awhile it seemed as if that part of the program would have to be disposed with; but Wm. Howden at last consented to do that part.  It was a matchless reading which he gave as was testified to by many in the audience who said they had heard it many times before but never did it express so much as when rendered by Mr. Howden.

J. West Goodwin.
Mr. Goodwin disappointed us by not wearing his famous hat on this occasion, wearing an ordinary straw hat instead.  He never alluded to the hat even in his talk and lest some of our readers think the white hat story is all a myth, we will state here that it is a reality and Mr. Goodwin actually wears it for we have seen him.  His address was suited to the occasion and evinced that he is thoroughly conversant with history of our country from the beginning up to the present time.  A shower of rain which began falling soon after he commenced to speak caused many to leave and seek shelter elsewhere on the grounds and in town.

Mr. Goodwin has been editing a paper in Sedalia for the past thirty years and is probably as well known as any newspaper man in the state.  He likes the work and says that nothing will beat it. He made the remark that if he should quit the newspaper field he would take to preaching.  The “punkin editor” advised him to stick to his paper and he replied: “O, I don’t think I will change soon!  No, no, I am not thinking of changing!”

B. Raleigh Martin.
Mr. Martin was to have delivered his address in the forenoon but didn’t arrive in time so he spoke immediately after dinner.  No greater compliment could be paid the young attorney than the one which he received from his audience in the rapt attention with which each one listened to his flow of eloquence.  His talk was unusually bright and spicy.

Dr. Steel
Is recognised as one of the best lecturers on the American platform and we were more than fortunate in securing him as one of our speakers.  His talk was the last one on the program and was exactly the right thing in the right place at the right time.  Short, spicy and humorous, it made the people laugh and feel good; put them in the proper state of mind for what was to follow in the way of amusements.

The Tug Of War
Between the two Woodmen camps, here, probably aroused as much interest as any other one thing on the program, due to the large size of some of the Modern Woodmen and the firm confidence each side had in its ability to win.  Twenty men pulled at each end of an inch hemp rope.  The contest was very interesting but the untimely breaking of the rope left it undecided.  Each side pulled hard and strong but no advantage was gained by either.  A time will likely be fixed upon in the near future, probably July 29th, the town’s birthday, for another contest to decide the question.

The Balloon Ascension
Was as good as could have been asked for.  It was a good day for the work and there was not a hitch nor halt in the whole proceeding.  The little dog’s parachute was small and he came down rather rapidly.  The balloonist’s parachute came down just south of W. H. Hill’s horse lot and so frightened his gray pony that she jumped the fence.

The Fireworks Display
Was the best ever witnessed in Skidmore.  People were not expecting to see a display equal to the ones to be witnessed at the Omaha Exposition and would not have seen it if they had; but some nice effects were produced and everybody was satisfied.

The Order
Throughout the entire day was perfect.  The calaboose was not tenanted once.

The Singers.
We were about to close without saying anything about the singers who helped to furnish entertainment between times.  This wouldn’t have done at all after such faithful practice on the part of the choir during the two weeks preceding the Fourth.  Two of their best songs were not rendered at all because they were not called for.  One person in the audience was heard to remark that the singing was the best part of the program.

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