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Fourth of July in Southeast Nebraska, 1884

The Daily State Journal of Lincoln on July 1, 1884, remarked on the upcoming Independence Day: "As it has been decided that Lincoln will not celebrate the glorious Fourth this year, or rather as it has not been decided that she will celebrate, those of our citizens who are full to overflowing with patriotism which must have a vent will be interested in knowing where will be the best place to visit on that day. For the benefit of these THE JOURNAL has taken some little pains to ascertain what is on the programme at a number of the towns and villages in the state."

Liberty in Gage County was to hold a "grand celebration and basket picnic in what the handbills term the finest grove in the state. Hon. L. W. Colby will deliver the oration, and no pains will be spared to entertain the people. Horse races, wheelbarrow races, a greased pig, potato races, and several other attractions are on the programme. The festivities of the day will close with a grand display of fireworks in the evening."

Grafton, Fillmore County, promised a celebration which included a "salute of 100 guns at sunrise" as well as a later celebration at Shoff's grove. Entertainment included a slow mule race, baseball, and the usual fireworks at sundown. Two other Fillmore County towns, Exeter and Geneva, also planned balloon ascensions as well as fireworks. Greenwood in Cass County included in its Independence Day celebration "a grand shooting tournament for which prizes are offered."

Celebrations in Red Cloud, Webster County, included the usual races and a "base ball match game." At Friend, Saline County, there was to be a "grand reunion of the old soldiers" at the fair grounds on July 4 and 5, sponsored by the GAR of Saline, Seward, York, and Fillmore counties. Hickman in Lancaster County, like Grafton, planned a sunrise salute.

Hubbell in Jefferson County promised a "sham battle," balloon ascension, races, and an oration by Judge W. P. Freeman of Fairbury. Wisner in Cuming County planned three balloon ascensions along with races and fireworks. The Journal also noted plans for celebrations at Holland in Lancaster County and at Osceola, Polk County, which advertised a "gorgeous display of pyrotechnics."

(June 2001)



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