Monday, July 4, 2016
4th of July Celebrations in 19C America
This chronolgy offers a glimpse at how the 4th of July was celebrated in good times and bad in 19th-century America.
1800- In New York, the first local advertisements for fireworks appear and at the Mount Vernon Garden there a display of "a model of Mount Vernon, 20 feet long by 24 feet high, illuminated by several hundred lamps" is presented; in Philadelphia, the U.S. Marine Band, directed by Col. William Ward Burrows, provides music for the Society of the Cincinnati celebration held at the City Tavern; in Hanover, N.H., Dartmouth College student Daniel Webster gives his first Fourth of July oration in the town's meeting house; Henry Clay gives an oration at the Lexington, Kentucky, Court House
1801- The first public Fourth of July reception at the White House occurs; in Marblehead, Mass., an oration is given by Joseph Story at the New Meeting House; in Boston, the frigates U.S.S. Constitution and U.S.S. Boston and the French corvette Berceau fire artillery salutes
1802- The U.S. Military Academy at West Point is formally opened
1803- An Italian band of musicians perform for President Jefferson at the Executive Mansion
1804- The first Fourth of July celebration west of the Mississippi occurs at Independence Creek and is celebrated by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
1805- In Charleston, S.C., the American Revolution Society and the Society of the Cincinnati meet at St. Philips Church
1806- Two Revolutionary officers march in a parade in Bennington, Vt.
1807- In Richmond, Skelton Jones delivers a funeral oration over the men of the U.S. Chesapeake who lost their lives due to an attack by the British warship Leopard, two weeks earlier; in Petersburg, Va., people march through the streets with an "effigy of George III on a pole" and later burn the effigy on Centre Hill; the eagle which crowns the gate of the Navy Yard in Washington City is unveiled to the sound of a federal salute and music.
1808- Citizens of Richmond, Va., resolve that only liquor produced in this country will be drunk on the Fourth of July
1810- An entertainment, "Columbia's Independence," is presented at the Washington Theatre in Washington City; in New Haven, Conn., the citizens there have a "plowing match"
1814- The Fourth is celebrated in Honolulu, Hawaii, with a dinner, and artillery salutes are fired from ships in the harbor there; Uri K. Hill sings an "Ode" written especially for the occasion in New York while Commodore Stephen Decatur, an honorary member of the State Society of the Cincinnati, dines with that association in Tontine Coffee House there; the Declaration of Independence is printed in the 4 July edition of the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser; in Ashburton, England, American prisoners there celebrate the Fourth of July and drink 18 toasts
1815- The cornerstone for Baltimore's Washington Monument is set; Richard Bland Lee reads the Declaration of Independence in the Hall of the House of Representatives at the Capitol; in New York, officers from the French frigate Hermione sit on reviewing stands in front of City Hall in order to review parading troops while a group of "patriotic tars" tries to "haul down the British colors" but they are dispersed by the police; in New York harbor, a "steam vessel of war" complete with cannons is tested successfully
1816- The Declaration of Independence is read by W.S. Radcliff in the Hall of the House of Representatives at the Capitol; John Binns of Philadelphia proposes publishing a separate edition of the Declaration of Independence at $13 a copy
1817- Near Rome, New York, a ground breaking ceremony occurs for the construction of the Erie Canal; only four original signers of the Declaration of Independence are alive on this anniversary: Thomas Jefferson, of Virginia; John Adams, of Massachusetts; Charles Carroll, of Maryland; William Ellery, of Rhode Island
1818- A banquet celebration takes place in Paris at the Restaurant Banclin with guests former Senator James Brown of Louisiana, the American Minister to Paris, and Gen. Lafayette in attendance; a separately published facsimile edition (price $5) of the Declaration of Independence, issued by printer Benjamin O. Tyler, occurs in Washington City immediately prior to the Fourth for use on that holiday; at Fell's Point in Baltimore, the steamboat United States is launched from the shipyard of Flannigan and Beachem
1819- An early and rare example of an Independence Day oration presented (to a group of women) by a woman ("Mrs. Mead") occurs on July 3 at Mossy Spring in Kentucky; The first Fourth of July celebration in Medina, Ohio, takes place.
1820- Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins attends ceremonies in New York and the Constellation is decorated with numerous national and foreign flags in New York harbor; Charles Carroll attends the celebration at Howard's Park in Baltimore with his copy of the Declaration of Independence in hand; the Georgetown Metropolitan issues an editorial criticizing President Monroe for closing the Executive Mansion on Independence Day
1821- President Monroe is ill and the Executive Mansion is closed to the public; John Quincy Adams reads an original copy of the Declaration of Independence at a ceremony held at the Capitol; in Philadelphia, 90-year-old Timothy Matlack, who "wrote the first commission" for General George Washington, reads the Declaration of Independence
1822- At Mount Vernon, Judge Bushrod Washington announces that he will no longer allow "Steam-boat parties" and "eating, drinking, and dancing parties" on the grounds there; in Saratoga County, New York, 5000 citizens and 52 soldiers of the Revolution assemble there to celebrate the Fourth on the field where Gen. Burgoyne surrendered (October 17, 1777); in Nashville, Tennessee, the state's governor, William Carroll, presents a sword to General Andrew Jackson and both give speeches
1823- An elaborate ceremony takes place at Mount Vernon with Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins in attendance; First July Fourth celebration in Pike County, Illinois is held in Atlas, and included an oration and reading of the Declaration of Independence.
1824- A ballet performance titled the "Patriotic Volunteer" is performed at the new theater at Chatham Garden, in New York; in Poultney, Vermont, 200 men celebrate the day by repairing a road, after which the "ladies of the neighborhood" serve them a "plenteons repast"; Fort Atkinson (Nebraska) celebrates the Fourth of July with artillery salutes, a military parade, and a dinner replete with toasts and music.
1825- President John Q. Adams marches to the Capitol from the White House in a parade that includes a stage mounted on wheels, representing 24 states; in Boston, members of the military share breakfast at the Exchange Coffee House; in Brooklyn, New York, the cornerstone for the Apprentices' Library is laid and Lafayette is in attendance
1826- 50th anniversary ( referred to as the "Jubilee of Freedom" event) of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and two signers of the document, Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, die; in Providence, R.I., four men who participated in the capture of the British armed schooner Gaspeduring the Revolutionary War ride in a parade; in New York, 4 gold medals are struck by the Common Council: 3 are sent to the surviving signers of the Declaration, and the 4th is given to the son of Robert Fulton, in honor of the "genius in the application of steam"; in Lynchburg, Va., among the "aged patriots of '76" at the celebration there are General John Smith and Captain George Blakenmore; in Newport, R.I., Major John Handy reads the Declaration of Independence, "on the identical spot which he did 50 years ago," and was accompanied by Isaac Barker of Middletown, "who was at his side in the same place fifty years before."; in Worcester, Mass., at the South Meeting House, Isaiah Thomas stands on the spot where he originally read the Declaration of Independence in 1776; the Frederick-Town Herald of Frederick, Md., decides to no longer publish dinner toasts which they believe are "generally dull, insipid affairs, about which few feel any interest"; in Salem, N.C., the Moravian Male Academy is dedicated; in Quincy, Mass., Miss Caroline Whitney gives an address on the occasion of the presentation of a flag to the Quincy Light Infantry; in Arlington, Va., Washington's tent, the same which the General used at the heights of Dorchester in 1775, is erected near the banks of the Potomac and is used for a celebration
1827- The State of New York emancipates its slaves; the play "The Indian Prophecy: A National Drama in Two Acts," by George Washington Parke Custis, has its Philadelphia premiere at the Chestnut Street Theater; the Ohio Canal opens in Cleveland with Governor Allen Trimble arriving there on the first boat, State of Ohio
1828- Charles Carroll, last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, participates in a Baltimore celebration and assists in the laying of the "first stone" of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; the frigate Constitution arrives at Boston returning from a cruise and fires "a salute in honor of the day"; the ground-breaking ceremony of the C & O Canal, north of Georgetown, takes place with President John Quincy Adams officiating
1829- In Augusta, Maine, the corner stone of the "New State House" is laid; the cornerstone of one of the Eastern locks of the C & O Canal (near Georgetown) scheduled to take place is cancelled due to rain; the embankments at the summit of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal are opened and water fills the canal, with large crowds and the Mayor of Philadelphia Benjamin W. Richards in attendance; in Cincinnati, an illuminated balloon, 15 feet in diameter, is sent aloft; in Washington, D.C., General Van Ness, on behalf of the Board of Aldermen and Common Council there, presents a written statement of confidence to President Andrew Jackson, who is experiencing some unpopularity in the city
1830- Columbia, S.C. celebrates the Fourth (occuring on the sabbath) on 3 July; Vice President John C. Calhoun is in Pendleton, S.C., at the Anniversary celebration there and proposes a toast ("consolidation and disunion" are "two extremes of our system") that stirs controversy
1831- Former President James Monroe dies on 4 July: "It is stated that when the noise of firing began at midnight, he opened his eyes inquiringly; and when the cause was communicated to him, a look of intelligence indicated that he understood what the occasion was," and President Jackson directs that at all military posts, "officers wear crape on their left arm for six months"; in Washington, two separate politically partisan ceremonies are held: the "National Republican Celebration," for the friends of Henry Clay, and "The Administration Celebration," for the friends for the re-election of President Jackson; in Washington, Francis Scott Key gives an oration in the Rotunda of the Capitol; in Washington, Jacob Gideon, Sr., "who had officiated during the Revolutionary War as trumpeter to the commander-in-chief, and had acted in that capacity at the surrender at York Town" sounds "a revolutionary blast" at a dinner of the Association of Mechanics and other Working Men; in Alexandria, Va., a ground breaking ceremony for the Alexandria branch of the C&O Canal occurs, with G.W.P. Custis and town mayor John Roberts providing the speeches; in Georgetown, a " beautiful new packet boat, called the George Washington," commences her first run on the C&O Canal; in Charleston, S.C., citizens march in a parade carrying banners "on which were inscribed the names of battles fought in the Revolution, and in the late War"; John Quincy Adams delivers a Fourth of July oration at Quincy, Mass.; the tribe of Pequoad indians celebrate the Fourth of July with a wardance at their wigwam, south of Alexandria, Va.
1832- New York has a subdued Fourth of July celebration due to a cholera epidemic occurring there; in Washington, Henry Clay attends the National Republican Celebration that's held on the bank of the Potomac River
1833- In Philadelphia, the cornerstone of the Girard College for Orphans is laid; the National Intelligencer (Washington, D.C.) publishes the text of the Constitution; First celebration in Grand Rapids, Michigan--a casual affair with the ladies enjoying tea.
1834- A man who was at Lexington and Bunker Hill attends ceremonies in New Haven, Conn., wearing the original coat he had worn then; in New York, an "Anti-Slavery Society" meeting is held at the "Chatham street Chapel," and is attended by both blacks and whites; at the Hermitage Inn in Philadelphia, David Crockett gives a traditional Fourth of July address; in Washington, D.C., the first Trades Union celebration occurs
1835- In Boston, George Robert Twelves Hewes, shoemaker, is honored at a celebration as the last survivor of the Boston Tea Party; the National Intelligencer prints the text of "Washington's Farewell Address."
1837- Oberlin College students celebrate by holding anti-slavery meetings
1837 Cartoon of a 4th of July celebration
1838- In Providence, Rhode Island, 29 veterans of the revolution take part in the procession there; the White House is closed to the public, "the President has lately lost, by death, a near relative"; in Charlottesville, Va., the Declaration of Independence is read from an "original draft, in the handwriting of Mr. Jefferson"; at Fort Madison, Iowa, the well-known Native American Black Hawk gives a Fourth of July speech
1839- In Hagerstown, Md., the only 2 surviving soldiers of the Revolutionary War there ride in a carriage pulled by white horses; on Stanten Island in New York, between 20,000-30,000 children gather to celebrate the Sunday School Scholars National Jubilee there, while in the New York harbor, 1000 ships converge, "all gaily dressed in honor of the day"; in Boston, 1500 men gather at Faneuil Hall in support of a Temperance Reformation; in Norwich, Connecticut, at a sabbath school celebration there, one of the students reads excerpts from the Declaration of Independence wearing "the identical cap" worn by William Williams (of that state) at the time the latter signed the Declaration; the McMinnville Gazette (Tenn.) publishes a Declaration of Independence for an "Independant Treasury" and the text is reprinted in the D.C. Globe; at Norfolk, an elephant "attached to the menagerie" there swims across the harbor from Town Point to the Portsmouth side and back
1840- At Cherry Valley, N.Y., William H. Seward delivers a centennial anniversary oration on the anniversary of that town's settlement; in Congress, in the House of Representatives, Congressman Levi Lincoln of Massachusetts presents a proposal that the House decides on claims by Revolutionary soldiers for their relief; in Portsmouth, N.H., a large pavilion erected in the form of an amphitheatre collapses throwing nearly a thousand people to the ground, but no one is killed; in Providence, R.I., a "Clam Bake" is held and 220 bushes of clams are eaten; Oshkosh, Wisconsin, celebrates its first Fourth of July
1841- In New York, the steamship Fulton is anchored off the Battery and displays fireworks and "glittering lamps" in honor of the day; Charles Wilkes, U.S. naval officer and explorer, gives the first Fourth of July celebration west of the Missouri River in 1841 at a site near Sequalitchew Lake (now Pierce County), Washington
1842- In New York harbor, the U.S. North Carolina, the frigate Columbia, and the English frigate Warspite exchange artillery salutes, and in the harbor as well, Sam Colt's "sub-marine experiment" for blowing up enemy ships is tested successfully; in Washington, D.C., the "History of the Declaration of Independence," by William Bacon Stevens is published in the National Intelligencer, (4 July 1842, 1-4) and the "Grand Total Abstinence Celebration," made up of several temperance societies, takes place there; at Parrott's Woods, near Georgetown (D.C.), the speaker's platform collapses, throwing D.C. Mayor William W. Seaton, G.W.P. Custis, and others to the ground, but no one is injured
1843- The beginning of the annual tradition of lighting the Spring Park with candles in the Moravian community of Lititz, Pa., begins; in Boston, Charles Francis Adams, son of President John Quincy Adams, gives an oration in Faneuil Hall, and is the first celebration in this building; in Washington, D.C., the laying of the cornerstone of the Temperance Hall takes place; in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., a church burns to the ground as a result of a firecracker "carelessly thrown by a boy"
1844- In Charleston, S.C., the faculty and trustees of Charleston College march in a city-wide "Festival of the Teachers and Scholars" parade; "Liberty Pole Raisings" and flag raisings in support of the Whigs political party take place in Louisville, Ky., Wheeling and Harper's Ferry, W.V., and Montrose, Pa.
1845- In Washington, D.C., the cornerstone of Jackson Hall is laid, and on the grounds south of the Executive Mansion, twelve rockets are accidentally fired into the crowd, killing James Knowles and Georgiana Ferguson and injuring several others; in Ithaca, N.Y., three persons are killed by an exploding cannon; ex-president John Tyler gives a speech at William and Mary College; in Nashville, Tennessee, the corner-stone of the State House is laid
1846- The earliest recorded Fourth of July in San Antonio, Texas, takes place; La Crosse, Wisconsin, celebrates the Fourth of July for the first time
1847- The first celebration of the Fourth in California takes place at Fort Hill, near Los Angeles
1848- In Washington, the laying of the cornerstone of the Washington Monument takes place with the President of the United States, Dolley Madison, and other persons of distinction in attendance; Hon. Josiah Quincy presents a speech in Boston (he was the orator of the day there 50 years before on 4 July 1798)
1849- The first Fourth of July celebration ever in Sacramento, California, takes place
1850- The laying of a block of marble by the "Corporation" in the Washington Monument in the District of Columbia takes place; Newburgh, N.Y., dedicates "Old Hasbrouck House," where George Washington had his Revolutionary War headquarters, as a national monument; San Jose & Shasta, California, celebrate the Fourth of July
1851- In Washington, President Fillmore assists in the laying of the "cornerstone of the new Capitol edifice" while Daniel Webster gives his last Fourth of July oration there; in Trappe, Pa., a monument to the memory of Francis R. Shunk, late Governor of Pennsylvania, is unveiled and George W. Woodward presents an address there; Greenville, S.C., holds an anti- secession celebration with 4,000 persons in attendance
1852- In Rochester, N.Y., on 5 July, Frederick Douglass presents his famous speech, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"; Marblehead, Mass., celebrates the Fourth on July 3
1853- At a celebration dinner at Washington Hall in Springfield, Mass., Rev. Jonathan Smith, a chaplain in the Revolutionary Army, is cheered; in Abbington, Mass., a "Know Nothing Anti-Slavery celebration" takes place; in Norwalk, Conn., showman P.T. Barnum opens the ceremony there with an address before a crowd of 10,000; in Philadelphia, at the Chestnut Street Theatre, the comedietta, "My Uncle Sam," is performed, and the cornerstone of the West Philadelphia Institute is laid, while some 10,000 persons visit Independence Hall, especially opened to the public on this occasion, and each person attempts to sit in the chair of John Hancock; in New York, 95-year-old Daniel Spencer, "an old patriot of the Revolution, hailing from Canajoharie, N.Y.," participates in the celebration; Williamsburg, Va., fires off a national salute of 32 guns by Captain Taft's Company of Light Artillery; 500 residents of Baltimore go on an excursion to Annapolis, Md., and while there, some of them fight with a group of Annapolitans resulting in 2 persons killed, and several injured; in Providence, R.I., the original carriage used by George Washington when he was in Providence is used in a parade there; The first Fourth of July celebration in Hartford, Wisconsin takes place. Those assembled sang the "Star Spangled Banner, and "My Country 'tis of Thee"; In Cowlitz, Washington, a liberty pole is raised and the crowd there is addressed in French by "Dr. Pasquirer" who reminds them to thank "Lafayette for aid in our struggle for independence."
1854- Henry David Thoreau gives a "Slavery in Massachusetts" oration at Framingham Grove, near Boston; in Farmingham, Mass., 600 abolitionists meet and watch William Lloyd Garrison burn printings of the Constitution of the U.S. and Fugitive Slave Law, "amid applause and cries of shame"; the mayor of Wilmington, Delaware, is mobbed by a group of citizens after putting City Council member Joshua S. Valentine in jail for setting off firecrackers
1855- In Worcester, Mass., citizens demonstrate against the city officials there who refuse to fund the town's Fourth of July celebration; in Columbus, Ohio, a parade of firemen, Turners and other societies, turns into a riot, resulting in one dead and several injured; Lawrence, Kansas, holds one of the largest celebrations in that part of the country, with a crowd of over 1,500 persons
1856- The "inauguration" of an equestrian statue (29 feet high) made by Henry K. Brown of George Washington is dedicated in New York; The first Fourth of July celebration "west of the Big Woods" in Minnesota occurred and consisted of a bear hunt by several hunters.
1857- In Milwaukee, the Declaration of Independence is read publicly in German by Edward Saloman; in Boston at the Navy Yard, the frigate Vermont is set on fire when "a wad" from an artillery salute "was blown on board of the hull"; near Lexington, Kentucky, a corner stone of a national monument to the memory of Henry Clay is laid
1858- Illinois Central Railroad workers attempt to launch a "monster balloon" called the "Spirit of '76" in Chicago; in Brooklyn, N.Y., the corner-stone of the Armory is laid; Oliver Wendell Holmes gives a speech in Boston; at Niagara Falls, N.Y., at the celebration of the opening of the hydraulic canal, the dam gives way, but no one is injured; Jefferson Davis gives a 4th of July speech on board a steamer bound from Baltimore to Boston and declares "this great country will continue united"
1859- In Grahamville, S.C., Robert Barnwell Rhett gives a speech proposing the creation of a Southern nation; in Washington, a convicted murderer publicly reads the Declaration of Independence at the prison there; Denver celebrates its First Fourth of July at a grove near the mouth of Cherry Creek. Dr. Fox readthe Declaration of Independence, Jas. R. Shaffer delivered the orations, and music was provided by the Council Bluffs Band.
Alfred Cornelius Howland (American painter, 1838-1909) Fourth of July Parade
1860- The Alexandria Gazette publishes a chronology of that Virginia town's notable 4th of July events from 1800-1860; in Jamestown, N.Y., the Museum Society, made up of children between the ages of ten and fifteen, take charge of the celebration there, because most of the adults are not in town, but in Randolph, N.Y., celebrating
1861- President Lincoln sends an address to both houses of Congress regarding the suspension of Federal government functions by secessionists in the South; Galusha A. Grow is the only Speaker of the House of Representatives ever to be elected and take office on the 4th of July; an artillery salute of 15 guns is fired at Camp Jackson near Pigs Point, Va., in honor of the Southern States that have declared and are declaring their independence; in Baltimore, the citizens there present a "splendid silk national flag, regimental size," to the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment; in Washington, D.C., 29 New York regiments are reviewed by the President at the White House; Gov. John A. Andrew of Massachusetts celebrates the 4th with the 1st Massachusetts Regiment at Camp Banks near Georgetown, D.C.
1862- A pyrotechnic depiction of the battle between the Monitor and Merrimac takes place in New York
1863- In Concord, N.H., former president Franklin Pierce addresses 25,000 persons at the "Democratic Mass Meeting" held there; in Buffalo, N.Y., 17 veterans of the War of 1812 march in a parade there; at Annapolis, a "flag of truce" boat filled with Secessionist women from Philadelphia and elsewhere leaves on July 3rd and travels south; in Gettysburg, Pa., as the Rebel troops are making their escape from the great battle just fought there, someone throws firecrackers among their ambulances carrying the wounded and causes a stampede of the horses and panic among the troops; in Columbus, Ohio, Randal and Aston's store has 8,500 American flags to sell for the holiday; in Newport, Rhode Island, the Fourth of July celebration is repeated on Tuesday, July 7, due to the news regarding the Union victory at Vicksburg; Gov. Zebulon B. Vance of North Carolina gives a speech in Granville county, urging "the people to continue their assistance in prosecuting the war until the independence of the Confederate States was established"
1864- Gov. Andrew Johnson of Tennessee addresses the citizens of Nashville; in Washington, D.C., Secretary William Seward, riding in a carriage, narrowly avoids serious injury when a rocket, set off by a young boy, strikes him above his eye
1865- One of the first "Freedmen" celebrations occurs, in Raleigh, N.C.; Lincoln's "Emanicipation Proclamation" is publicly read in Warren, Ohio, and Belpassi, Oregon; the National Monument Association lays the cornerstone of the Soldier's Monument in Gettysburg; in Boston, a statue of Horace Mann is "inaugurated"; the Huntsville Advocate (Alabama) prints news about celebrations in Gettysburg and New York; the celebration by the Colored People's Educational Monument Association in memory of Abraham Lincoln occurs in Washington, D.C. and is the first national celebration by African-Americans in the U.S.; in Albany, N.Y., 100 "tattered" Civil War battle flags are presented to the state and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant is in attendance; in Savannah, Ga., Governor James Johnson addresses the citizens there telling them that slavery is dead and that they should renew their allegiance to the Government; at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., J.C. Hamilton, son of Alexander Hamilton, reads the Emancipation Proclamation; Union General William Tecumseh Sherman participates in a 4th of July civic celebration in Louisville, Ky., and witnesses a balloon ascension there; in Hopewell, New Jersey, a monument to the memory of John Hart, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is dedicated and New Jersey Governor Joel Parker delivers an oration; Helena, Montana celebrates its first Fourth of July, at Owyece Park, with an oration by George M. Pinney.
1866- General George G. Meade watches 10,000 war veterans parade in Philadelphia; General William T. Sherman gives an address in Salem, Ill.; the Nashville Banner, in an editorial, urges its citizens not to celebrate the Fourth; one of the worst fires ever to occur on Independence Day takes place in Portland, Maine, the blame placed on an errant firecracker
1867- The cornerstone of the new Tammany Hall is laid in New York while the cornerstone for a monument to George Washington is laid at Washington's Rock, N.J.; the "Emanicipation Proclamation" is read in Portland, Maine; the Illinois State Association celebrates on the grounds of the Civil War battle field at Bull Run in Virginia; in Washington, two members of the House of Representatives are arrested for violating a city ordinance prohibiting the setting off of firecrackers in the public streets; Friends of Universal Suffrage meet in South Salem, Mass., and Susan B. Anthony reads the Declaration of the Mothers of 1848; a freight train carrying a "large quantity of fireworks" on route to a celebration in Springfield, Mass. derails near Charleston and the train is completely wrecked
1868- President Andrew Johnson issues his Third Amnesty Proclamation in Washington, D.C. directed to those who participated in the Civil War; the Declaration of Independence is read in both English and Spanish at a public celebration in Santa Fe, New Mexico; in Richmond, some black "societies" parade, "but there is no public celebration by the whites"; in Groton, Mass., the Lawrence Academy, is destroyed by fire due to a firecracker "thrown on the piazza by a boy"; in Buffalo, St. John's Episcopal Church burns to the ground due to a rocket that exploded in its spire
1869- A monument dedicated to George Washington is unveiled in Philadelphia; in New York, 350 Cuban "patriot" residents parade "to evoke sympathy for the Cuban revolutionary cause" and the Army of the Potomac Society meets to establish itself as a permanent organization; blacks celebrate the Fourth on July 3rd in Columbia, S.C.; the Declaration of Independence is read in English and German at a public celebration at Diamond Square in Pittsburgh
1870- President Ulysses S. Grant participates in Fourth of July opening exercises in Woodstock, Conn.; in Newark, N.J., 13 young ladies dressed to represent the 13 original states, proceed in a carriage; in Marysville, Pa., at a picnic held by black military companies, a riot ensues with several persons shot
1871- The New Saenger Hall is dedicated in Toledo, Ohio; in Vienna, American Minister Hon. John Jay gives a Fourth dinner hosting the ambassadors of the Vienna Court; the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence on the grounds of Mount Vernon takes place, the reader is John Carroll Brent, a member of D.C.'s Oldest Inhabitants Association; at Framingham Grove, Mass., the Massachusetts Woman's Suffrage Association holds a mass meeting and activist Lucy Stone and others give speeches there
1872- A monument representing an infantry soldier of the Civil War is unveiled in White Plains, N.Y.; Richmond, Va., publicly celebrates the Fourth, the first time in 12 years; Ella Wheeler (Wilcox), a poet, is presented a badge of the Army of Tennessee Society at its meeting in Madison, Wisconsin; in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Vice President Schuyler Colfax gives an oration
1873- In Philadelphia, the transfer of Fairmount Park for use by the Centennial Commission in preparation for the International Exhibition and Centennial Celebration in 1876 takes place; in Salt Lake City, Utah, Mme. Anna Bishop Troupe performs in the Tabernacle before a crowd of 6,000, including Brigham Young and "U.S. officials"; in Buffalo, N.Y., a "large delegation" of native Americans and Canadians attend a ceremony there; Mark Twain gives a Fourth of July address in London
Fourth of July celebration, Snohomish, Washington, c 1874
1874- In Saybrook, Conn., the Thomas C. Acton Library is dedicated; the New York Times publishes an editorial acknowledging the increased interest in the South for celebrating the Fourth and encourages Southern towns to do just that; in Lancaster, Pa., the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at Penn Square is dedicated; Modesto, California, holds its first Fourth of July celebration and music was provided by the Modesto Brass Band
1875- In Augusta, Georgia, the white military celebrates the Fourth, the first time in that town since the Civil War; several blacks and possibly one white are killed when a fray erupts at a Fourth of July celebration held at the Court House in Vicksburg, Miss.; on the Centennial Grounds in Philadelphia, the Order of B'nai B'rith hold "exercises" incident to the breaking of the ground for their proposed statue to religious liberty; at Atoka, "Indian Territory," a celebration of the Fourth by Native Americans takes place with 3,000 persons participating; Homer, Louisiana, celebrates the holiday on Saturday, July 3
1 Grand Army of the Republic in Parade
1876- Centennial celebrations (many are three-day celebrations, 3-5 July) occur throughout the United States and abroad; in Philadelphia at Fairmount Park, two separate celebrations include the German societies unveiling a statue of Baron Alexander von Humboldt and the dedication, including an address provided by John Lee Carroll, Governor of Maryland, of the Catholic Temperance Fountain; also in Philadelphia, Bayard Taylor's "National Ode, July 4, 1876," is read at Independence Square while Susan B. Anthony and others belonging to the National Woman's Suffrage Association present and read their Declaration of Rights for Women at the Centennial Celebration; in Philadelphia as well, General Sherman reviews the troops as they parade; in Washington, D.C., at the First Congregational Church, the poem "Centennial Bells," by Bayard Taylor is read by the poet; the long-standing tradition of Navy vessels participating in July 4th celebrations in Bristol, R.I., begins with the presence there of the U.S. sloop Juniata; in Washington, 11 couples celebrate the Fourth by getting married, Congress appoints a committee of 13 to attend the celebration of the Oldest Inhabitants Association there, and 300 artillery blasts are fired, 100 at sunrise, 100 at noon, 100 at sunset; in Richmond, Va., the U.S. and Virginia flags are raised on the Capitol for the first time on the Fourth in 16 years and the Richmond Grays (an African-American regiment) are in Washington celebrating; in New York, on the eve of the Fourth, an Irish couple name their newborn child American Centenniel Maloney, in honor of the day; in New Orleans, Louisiana, the monitor Canonicus fires a salute from the Mississippi River; in Hamburg, South Carolina, an incident that results in a massacre of African-Americans occurs; in Montgomery, Alabama, the Declaration of Independence is read by Neil Blue, the oldest citizen of Montgomery, and the only survivor of those who voted for delegates to the territorial convention which adopted the Constitution under which Alabama was admitted into the union in 1819; in Joliet, in Quincy, Illinois, the cornerstone of the new Court House is laid; in San Francisco, a mock engagement with the iron-clad Monitor occurs and there is a parade there that is over 4 miles long, with 10,000 participants; in Chicago, at the Turners and Socialists celebration, a revised Declaration of Independence from the socialist's standpoint is distributed; in Freeport, Illinois and Chicago, the Declaration of Independence is read in both English and German; in Evanston, Illinois, a centennial poem "The Girls of the Period" is publicly read by Mrs. Emily H. Miller; in Wilmette, Illinois, a woman (Miss Aunie Gedney) reads the Declaration of Independence; in Savannah, Georgia, a centennial tree is planted, accompanied by appropriate speeches; in Utica, New York, 30 veterans of the War of 1812 join in a parade along with two of Napoleon's soldiers
Confederate Fife & Drum Corps
1877- In Woodstock, Conn., Roseland Park is dedicated and Oliver Wendell Homes reads his poem, "The ship of state, above her skies are blue"; in New York, at a ceremony held at the Sturtevant House, 89-year old Daniel Lopez, who fought on board the frigate Constitution, dances a jig
1879- Frederick Douglass addresses the citizens of Frederick, Md.; at Sunbury, Pa., Gov. Hoyt unveils a statue of Col. Cameron; in Charleston, S.C., the Lafayette Artillery, "a white militia company," fires an artillery salute, the first since 1860; in Montgomery, Ala., a letter from Jefferson Davis is read at the public celebration there; at Lake Walden, Mass., a "grand temperance" celebration is held, with Henry Ward Beecher, speaker
1880- Gen. James A. Garfield, is guest speaker at the dedication of the Soldiers' Monument in Painesville, Ohio; in Boston, a statue of Revolutionary War patriot Samuel Adams is unveiled; in San Francisco the first daytime fireworks ever exhibited in the country takes place at Woodward's Gardens; the first Fourth of July celebration held in Uintah County, Utah, occurs and "only eight men and women [were] present"
4th of July parade float in Huntsville, Alabama
1881- In Washington, D.C., the Chief of Police issues an order banning all fireworks in respect to the shooting of President Garfield while, at the same time, prayer meetings for the President's recovery are held in lieu of Fourth celebrations throughout the country
1882- Buffalo, N.Y., celebrates its 50th anniversary as the laying of a cornerstone for a soldiers' monument takes place there; the chapel of Dutch Neck Church in Princeton Junction, N.J. is dedicated
1883- The Declaration of Independence is read in Swedish at a celebration at Bergquist Park in Moorhead, Minn.; seven hundred Yankton and Sautee Sioux participate in a Fourth celebration in Yankton, S.D.; a monument to George Cleaves and Richard Tucker, "the first settlers of Portland," is unveiled in Portland, Maine; in Woodstock, Conn., John Greenleaf Whittier's poem, "Our Country," is read at the public celebration there; Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show opens at North Platte, Neb.; former President Rutherford B. Hayes is in Woodstock, Conn., attending the ceremony and giving a speech; in Plainfield, N.J., a Revolutionary cannon (dating to 1780), known as the "one-horn cannon," is fired
May 15, 1862, Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Agricultural Act that established the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
1884- The formal presentation of the Statue of Liberty takes place in the Gauthier workshop in Paris; General George B. McClellan is honored at a celebration in Woodstock, Conn.; Samuel Bayard Stafford attends the Veterans of the War of 1812 as a visitor and carries the old flag of the Bon Homme Richard and the boarding cutlace of Paul Jones and Bloodgood H. Cutter; Cambridge, Md., celebrates its 200th anniversary of its founding; in Swan City, Colorado, miners blow up the town's Post Office because they are not supplied with fireworks
1885- Gen. Abraham Dally, 89-year old veteran of the War of 1812 raises the flag at the Battery in New York while the French man-of-war La Flore, decorated with flags and bunting, holds a public reception on board in New York harbor; in Jamestown, N.Y., a mock Civil War battle is fought; municipal officials in Salt Lake City and heads of the Mormon Church there order all American flags flown at half-mast in the city to emphasize their religious freedoms, and Californians are angered by the act
4th of July float on the brick streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma
1886- Portland, Maine, celebrates its 100th anniversary of the town's incorporation
1887- First Fourth of July celebration in Yellowstone National Park takes place; the New York Times issues a call for a new Declaration of Independence for commercial freedom in the world markets; in Providence, R.I., a statue of Union Army General Ambrose Burnside is unveiled
1888- A commemoration of Francis Scott Key and dedication of the first monument of him in the West is unveiled in San Francisco; in Amesbury, Mass., a statue of Josiah Bartlett, the first signer of the Declaration of Independence, is unveiled
Deadwood, South Dakota 1888
1889- President Harrison gives a speech in Woodstock, Conn. and is the third President to be in Woodstock on July 4th
1890- In Chattanooga, Tenn., 2,000 Confederate veterans march in a parade, without Confederate flags, while four generals (Gen. George B. Gordon, La.; Gen. W.S. Cabell, Tex.; Gen. E. Kirby Smith, Tenn.; Gen. "Tige" Anderson, Georgia) give speeches there; in Portland, Maine, General Sherman and other generals attend the Army of the Potomac celebration there
Grange float 4th of July parade in Evansville, Indiana
1891- A Tioga County, N.Y., soldier's monument is unveiled in Owego, N.Y. and a speech by Gen. Benjamin F. Tracy, Secretary of the Navy, is given there; in Plainfield, N.J., a cannon used in the War of 1812 is fired; in Newark, N.J., at Caledonian Park, 5,000 German Saengerbunders, accompanied by an orchestra of 200 pieces, sing the "Star-Spangled Banner"; on this day, Cheraw, S.C., is the first town in that state to celebrate the Fourth in over 30 years; the Seventy-Second Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers from Philadelphia dedicates a bronze monument in Gettysburg; in Buffalo, N.Y., the Society of Veterans parade in honor of the Army of the Potomac; the cornerstone of the new schoolhouse of St. Paul's Parish in New York is laid
1892- In New York, the City Hall and Federal Building inadvertently fly American flags of 42 stars and 35 stars, respectively, not the new flags of 44 stars representing the full number of states; in New York, ground is broken for the statue of Columbus, a gift from Italy to the city; in New York harbor, the Brazilian cruiser Almirante Barroso is gayly decorated with a 40-foot American flag; Quincy, Mass. celebrates its 100th anniversary
Calaveras County, California 4th of July parade
1893- The World's Fair continues in Chicago as a new liberty bell is rung there; Auburn, N.Y., celebrates its Centennial anniversary of its settlement in tandem with the Fourth; Julia Ward Howe reads poetry at a Woodstock, Conn. celebration; in Cape May, N.J., ex- President Harrison gives a patriotic speech on the rights and duties of citizenship; in the Battery in New York, a gunner is put under arrest for inaccurate counting of a 21-gun national salute in which 23 rounds were fired; a bronze statue made by Thomas Ball of P.T. Barnum is unveiled in Bridgeport, Conn.
Deadwood, South Dakota 1890s
1894- In Huntington, N.Y., a memorial to Captain Nathan Hale is unveiled; in Highlands, N.J., a white-bordered flag denoting universal liberty and peace waves for the first time; Vice President Stevenson gives a speech on the historic battlefield of Guilford Court House in Greensboro, N.C.; in Cleveland, the dedication of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument takes place and Gov. William McKinley gives a speech at the ceremony; at the state fair of Illinois, the corner stone of the exposition building is laid; in Montevideo, Minnesota, the Camp Release Monument, commemorating the Dakota Conflict of 1862, is dedicated
1895- At Chautauqua, N.Y., women are dressed in yellow as the first "woman's day" is celebrated in tandem with Independence Day; Katharine Lee Bates' poem "America" is first published on this day in the Boston Congregationalist, a weekly church publication
4th of July parade in Minnesota
1896- In Brooklyn, N.Y., a bronze statue of Maj. Gen. Gouverneur Kemble Warren, commander of the Fifth Corps of the Army of the Potomac, is unveiled; Palm Springs, California, celebrates its first Fourth of July
1897- The New York Times prints a facsimile edition of the Declaration of Independence in its issue of 4 July 1897; American newspaper correspondents are barred from attending a Fourth celebration at the U.S. Consulate in Havana, Cuba; in Avondale, Ohio, Thomas C. McGrath unveils a statue of Thomas Jefferson "on the lawn in front of his beautiful residence on Rockdale and Wilson Avenues"; the U.S. flag flies over the White House on July 5, despite the President's absence (for years the flag which flies over the White House had been hauled down each time the President left the White House; President McKinley is in Canton, Ohio.
Westward Expansion float
1898- At Washington Grove, Md., a few miles outside of Washington, D.C., Mrs. J. Ellen Foster is the orator of the day and gives a traditional Fourth of July address; in Auburn, Calif., the Placer County Courthouse is dedicated; in Waynesburg, Pa., the cornerstone for the Soldier's and Sailor's Monument for Civil War veterans of Greene County is laid
1900 Fourth of July Parade in Salida, Chaffee County, Colorado
1899- "Horseless-carriages" take part in a Fourth celebration in Dyersville, Iowa; in Helena, Montana, the cornerstone of the new State Capitol is laid; Gov. Theodore Roosevelt gives speech at his home town, Oyster Bay, N.Y., as other speakers predict he will be the next President; in Plymouth, England, all the British warships there are decorated with flags and a 21-gun salute is fired; in London, Mark Twain addresses the American Society at their dinner there.
4th of July parade at the turn of the century in Indiana
For much, much more on July 4th celebrations, see:
The Fourth of July Encyclopedia by James R. Heintze (2007)
Music of the Fourth of July: A Year-by-year Chronicle of Performances and Works Composed for the Occasion, by James R. Heintze (2009)