July Fourth, 1900 Diary Entry

A detailed diary of the day written by the father of a family, might read something like this.

Awakened not by cock's crow but by Junior's largest firecracker being set off beneath the bedroom window. Spoke to Junior.

After chores and breakfast, everyone dressed for the doings. Junior, Sissie and Clara marched with the school children who all carried flags. Mother (ie:wife) had Buster dressed in his sailor suit and Baby in the carriage which was decorated with bunting, flags and flowers. I played with the Fife and Drum Corps. Our new uniforms are white trousers, red jackets with gold braid and brass buttons, and high red hats with white plumes. All looked very smart with the possible exception of Andy B who is as stout as his bass drum.

Very hot by parade time at ten. Line of march from the school house to the Square and then to the Park for the speeches. Main speech lasted an hour and a quarter. Home by twelve thirty.

Sister Belle and her family, two or three dozen inlaws (exageration) and Ma and Pa at the house for dinner. Had set tables on the lawn last night. Lucky no rain. Had the usual fare, fried chicken, three kinds of baked beans, potato salad, salt-risin bread and yeast bread, ten kinds of pickles that I tried but probably missed a few as they went bye. Belle's man brought two watermelons. Had cake, pie and such. Ma brought me a sour-cream cake. My favorite.

Afternoon quiet. Boys ran out of firecrackers about two thirty. Beat Belle's man at three games of horseshoes. Had supper about six. Children impatient for dark to set off fireworks. Boys helped set up boards to launch rockets, nailed Catherine Wheels on trees etc. Started shortly after eight. Everything gone in twenty minutes.

Went to the Square to see the bonfire. People still shooting off fireworks. Stopped several times on the way to watch. Helped finish piling boxes on bonfire and threw on two rockets, three roman candles, a fountain and one string of snappers I hid from Junior. Most of the town there to watch. Ryan got out all the fireworks he had left along with what others had brought and lit off the pile.

Firemen had the pumper full of water and buckets of sand all around. Had wet down the store roofs so's not to repeat last year's incident. Ryan needed a new roof anyway. One team took fright when the display got going. Lem H caught them. No harm. Women oh'd and children hollered. Real pretty sight.

Goin to bed late. Ma and Pa stayed over with us. Sister Belle's family went to her man's folks on the other side of the river. Lucy stayed with Sissie and Clara. Will be here a week then I'll take the girls to stay with her a week.

Fine day. Mother still in the kitchen setting bread and griddle cakes. Junior admitted to a burned hand when I went to hear his prayers. Put on salve and wrapped it in a handkerchief. Didn't tell Mother. Women don't cotton to the Fourth the way men do for some reason. Don't like the noise, maybe.