The Old Settlers Picnic
Summertime is picnic time. Family get-togethers, high school reunions, and town
homecomings dot the summer calendars of many Nebraskans. At the turn of the century,
many picnics honored the "old settlers" who had founded communities not that many years
before. One Cherry County gathering was described this way:
"The old settlers picnic at Britt last Saturday was a success. About 500 people gathered to
talk over old times and enjoy a day together in sport. They came from the surrounding
country 15 to 20 miles around and met as a great family with greetings and social
conversation. The day was perfect and the program was carried out as billed without a jar or
discord. Music was furnished by the McIlhon family for the dancers which was highly
appreciated by everyone who heard them play. The purse ball game between the Valentine
nine and the boys on the Table resulted in a draw, the score standing 8 to 8 tallies in 7
innings. The purse was divided and everyone was happy. The horse races were entered by
several contestants. 1st money was won by the best horse or best rider and they started off
first dash. Smaller sports and dancing closed the day and the people went home satisfied
with having spent an enjoyable day. Every available rig in Valentine was used and some
stayed home for want of transportation."
The day was so delightful that the local editor was inspired to pen:
"Full more we'd write in verse or rhyme, in praise of all that is sublime,if we could rhyme and
verses fix, we'd write this up and sign it, Bix.
"The editor and boy were there, to swell the crowd of people where
they all are cheerful playing ball and people courteous to all.
"We'd like to write about the game, because we umpired for the same,
"We'd mention those that played baseball, but hang it, we'd don't know them all."
"We'd also bring in every name of those who came to see the game, or spent the day upon the
ground in shaking hands or walking 'round."
--Valentine Democrat, 9/24/03
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