Lancaster-Fairfield County - 4th of July Celebration
Lancaster’s first 4th of July Celebration…
“In 1800, for the first time in the Hockhocking settlement, the settlers-men, women and children-assembled on the knoll in the prairie in front of the present toll-house (the toll-house has since been removed farther west-Ed.) on the pike west of Lancaster, and celebrated the Anniversary of American Independence. They appointed no President, or other officers of the day-no orations delivered or toasts drank. They manifested their joy by shouting, and “hurrah for America,” firing off their rifles, shooting at targets, and discussing a public dinner. It may not be improper to say, that their repast was served up in magnificent style. Although they had neither tables, benches, dishes, plates or forks, every substantial in the way of a feast was amply provided, such as baked pone, Johnny-cake, roasted bear’s meat, jerked turkey, etc. The assemblage dispersed at a timely hour in the afternoon, and returned to their cabins, full of patriotism and love of country. It was my fortune to be present on that interesting occasion.”
Harvey Scott, 1795-1876 (History of Fairfield County, Ohio)
Tuesday, July 4, 1876, The Centennial Fourth…
“North on Broad to Chestnut; East on Chestnut to High; North on High to Main; West on Main to Columbus; North on Columbus to Wheeling; East on Wheeling to Broad; North on Broad to Fair Grounds.”
“The Procession was headed by the City Police Force followed by the Sherman Guards with the Basil Band at their head; the Knights of St. George in uniform; Mayor and City Council; Officers of the Day in Carriages; Soldiers of the War of 1812, and Mexican War and other veterans in carriages; Soldiers of the Late War; Lancaster Military Band; Knights of Pythias in uniform; Charity Lodge, I.O.O.F.; Alpine Lodge, I.O.O.F.; Visiting lodges I.O.O.F.; Other Organized Societies; Citizens on Foot; Society of Colored Citizens; Citizens in Carriages, Wagons, Drays and Carts; Township delegations, headed by their Marshals and their several bands of music; Band of Modoc, at the will of their Marshal, Perry Miller.”
“The formation of the procession, and its march to the Fair Grounds, occupied about one hour and a half.” (from The Gazette, July 6, 1876)
In 1876, bands were plentiful for the Centennial Fourth of July celebration. The Gazette reporter describes “…the Procession-well, that defies all description…” and then goes on to write that “…it formed an imposing and attractive spectacle. At the head was the Basil Cornet Band; and at the appropriate points in the long line-perhaps not in the order in which we name them-were the Lancaster Military Band, at the head of the Knights of Pythias line; the Carroll Band, at the head of the Greenfield delegation of citizens; the Bremen Band at the head of the Rushcreek delegation; and the New Salem Band at the head of the Walnut delegation. Beside those, the Sherman Guards’ military company was headed by its own full and efficient drum corps, and at various points in the line there was martial music, and burlesque martial and minstrel music, creating much amusement at every step of its progress.” (from The Gazette, July 6, 1876)
During the Centennial Fourth of July celebration in 1876 “The splendid Lancaster Military Band took its position on the City Hall Balcony for an open air concert and soon opened the proceedings with its finely executed and delicious music, which was an oft repeated and highly enjoyed feature of the evening.”
“Soon we had “the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,” and all the sparkle, flash and crackle of fireworks in great variety and glorious magnificence, in full play. In the intervals of setting off the different pieces, the boys kept the air filled with the sputter of fire-crackers, and lent occasional deafening detonations from three or four small pieces of artillery to heighten the enjoyment (?) of the occasion. Every incident of special interest, and every explosion, big or little, was greeted with rounds of cheers.”
“At a late hour the brilliant spectacle closed, and the people, thoroughly saturated with satisfaction, centennial patriotism and fatigue, betook them to their homes and their beds, to dream perchance, of the next Centennial. (from The Gazette, July 6, 1876)
July 4th 1892, The Lancaster Gazette…
“Day of Dazzling Demonstrations! The Loveliest, Longest and Loudest Fourth on Record.”
“Commendable Celebration Consummated by the Citizens’ Committee. Willing Workers and Welcome Weather Wrought Wonders.”
“Plenty of People, Pomp, Pyrotechnics and Patriotism. A Pretty Pageant, Flying Flags, Blare of Brass Bands, Alleged Attractive Athletic Aggregations, A Pony Plunge.”
“Pacing Program, Rare Running Race, the Wonderful Work of Wheelman Wachter, and a Fusillade and Fulmination of Fine and Flaming Fire Works, Mark the Fourth of July Celebration of 1892 as an Unparalleled Success.”
Daily Eagle, June 9, 1924 - Monday…
4th OF JULY CELEBRATION, “Big Parade to feature local affair put on by American Legion. Since the members of the Karl H. Eyman Post No. 11 of the American Legion announced their intention of bringing back to Lancaster a real old fashioned Fourth of July, they have received much praise and encouragement. There are still some doubtful people who say it cannot be done in this day and age. That’s what the Germans said in 1917 and 1918 but we did it then and we can, with the help of the Lancaster Citizens, do it now, only differently. Captain Otto Kindler, chairman in charge of the parade, has met with great success. Already 15 businessmen of the city have promised to have great floats in the parade in the morning and no doubt that many more will do the same, as the post is offering $100 in prizes. There will be a comic section also with prizes and anybody having any thing to enter will do well to get in touch with Captain Kindler. The committee expects to have three bands in the parade if they can sign them up for that day, and maybe four. The city officials have promised to turn over the city to the American Legion that day and they in turn will do all in their power to make the Fourth one to be remembered with joy and gladness for years to come.”
1. The first appearance of the United States Army 338th Reserve Band, a combined Ohio & Michigan Unit forming The Largest Army Reserve Band in the United States.
2. Participation by Camp William McKinley, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
3. The first appearance of Camp Chase Fife & Drum, a Civil War Unit that appeared in the movie "Gettysburg" and in "Of Gods and Generals".
4. Participation by the Hocking Valley Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution
5. Members of Local Veterans Clubs (AmVets) with the 50 state flags
6. The first appearance of the Cyril Scott bagpipe and drum corps.
7. The participation and support of the many groups and individuals from our Local Community ---- Thanks You!
1. Heritage Fife and Drum, a Civil War Unit
2. Ohio's famed Lima Company Marines Color Guard
3. The introduction of our 50 state flags carried by members of our Veterans organizations.
4. The participation of the Millersport Marching Lakers
5. The first appearance of "Sancho" the World Champion Longhorn
6. The participation of Saint Mary's grade school band
7. The Centennial Celebration of the dedication of Rising Park
1. The United States Marine Corps., Marine Forces Band stationed out of New Orleans, LA
2. Ohio's own Lima Co. Marine Color Guard
3. Lancaster Area Man and former WWII Pow Zephaniah "Creed" Musser, captured by German Soldiers during The Battle of the Bulge in 1944.