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St. Patrick's Day, 1891

"As the years pass on and the Irish emigrant gets farther away from his native isle each succeeding seventeenth of March grows dearer to his heart," said the Lincoln Daily Call on March 17, 1891. The Call went on to describe the day's festivities in Lincoln with flowery praise for "the greatest of Ireland's celebration days-that of St. Patrick."

"The arrangements were not only elaborate, but it partook of something like a state affair, inasmuch as a great number of the cities and towns of this section took part. Delegations began to arrive on the early trains, chief of which was division No. 1, Ancient Order of Hibernians, from Tecumseh, which was accompanied by an excellent band of thirteen pieces, the Tecumseh military band.

"At 10 o'clock the Lincoln division of the same order, under whose auspices the celebration is primarily held, together with the Tecumseh delegation, accompanied by the Union Labor and Tecumseh Military bands, marched to the depot to meet and escort the Douglas county delegations, . . . Upon the arrival of the trains, lines were again formed with the Omaha divisions in the lead, headed by the A.O.H. band of Omaha, followed by the South Omaha and Council Bluffs divisions, the Plattsmouth order with the Burlington railway band, the Tecumseh division and Lincoln contingent closing the line, with the distinguished guests of the day in carriages.

"Thus the march was made to the procathedral at Thirteenth and M, where solemn high mass was conducted in an impressive manner by the Rev. Father Bruen, of Omaha, as high priest. . . . Immediately at the close of mass the line of march was formed for the grand parade, the columns forming on Thirteenth street, westward from M."

The Call described the parade as not only large but inspiring. "The music of the bands in their rendition of Irish airs awakened an enthusiasm that swelled the heart of the Irish patriot and made him feel that he was indeed glorifying the old sod, doing reverence to the land of his birth, while commemorating the deeds of the noble St. Patrick. And thus was the day rounded out, and nothing like was ever witnessed in Lincoln before it."

The day was ended on a high note with a gathering at Bohanan's Hall featuring speeches by Irish American dignitaries, including Governor James E. Boyd, and musical presentations. The mood of the crowd was so expansive that even a non-Irish air, "'The Beautiful Blue Danube' by Mrs. J. G. Wadsworth was received with generous applause and she was presented at the close of her song with a basket of beautiful flowers." Mrs. Wadsworth, "in response to the appreciation of her hearers sang Killarney only to meet with renewed demonstrations of delight."

(March 2008)



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