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Fourth of July at Tecumseh, 1883

Independence Day activities were reported by the July 7, 1883, Tecumseh Chieftain: "We didn't celebrate very profusely, but still all had a comfortable, quiet, pleasant day of it. . . The Chinese firecrackers busted all around town about as much as usual, but still the noise and confusion which is usually allowed to jar weak nerves, was not so loud and incessant as it has been in days gone before.

"The German population enjoyed themselves in the square in the good old Teutonic fashion, music and the mazy waltz and galup. Everybody had on their soft clothes and quite a large number of people were in from the country, well-dressed and an air of prosperity pervaded all of them. Right here, let it be said that Johnson county can turn out a little the best looking ruralists of any county in the state. The merchants sold a good many goods, and their stores were full of loungers all day (another argument for one of our theories--seats in the park).

"Along about eleven o'clock, just as everything was calm, and the blue arch overhead gave signs of continued calm a young man might have been seen slowly ascending the steps of the band stand, mopping his face with the butt end of a bandanna which was once the property of the Democratic statesman of Ohio, Senator Thurman. Dispensing with preamble, resolutions and introduction," the speaker for the day "proceeded to pour forth a torrent of eloquence which abounded in Greek quotations and Latin similes. . . . The subject matter of the oration was not limited, on the contrary it took a wide range, and we understand touched on history, diplomacy, surgery, anti-monopoly and the tendency of politics to become personal.

"After dinner the crowd was thicker and the weather warmer. At 3 o'clock a good many repaired to the fair grounds where a race took place between Beecher and Vesta Chief, which was won in handsome style by the latter horse. After the third heat the weather became threatening and a good many out of the four or five hundred gathered there left the grounds. About dark a light rain began to fall which had the effect to disperse the crowds on the streets, but which everybody knew was of more consequence to the growing crops than the balance of the Fourth. Thus, with no accidents, brawls, or fires, the curtain was drawn on the Fourth of 1883."

The Chieftain also described Fourth of July activities in nearby Elk Creek. The celebration there was attended by a number of Tecumseh residents, including a Tecumseh band.

(June 2005)



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