Sunday, July 3, 2011

1880 Fourth of July Celebration

As our village celebrates the 175th anniversary of the arrival of Ralph Fowler to this area, a grand celebration will be held over this Fourth of July weekend. It has been said that Fowlerville knows how to put on parades and celebrations and, no doubt, this will be as glorious as ever with Fourth of July and the centennial events being combined into one major party.

In looking back over Fowlerville's history, recaps of earlier celebrations were reported in the local newspaper. Others will be posted but for this year's recap, I have chosen the one from 1880, as published in The Fowlerville Review. Of particular note in this article, mention is made of the ever-present Fowlerville Cornet Band, R. Fowler's orchard was put to good use, and W.W. Starkey's shook-makers were part of the celebration.

The early part of the morning of this auspicious day was ushered in by burning the usual amount of powder and noise. At an early hour, people from all parts of the country came pouring in in large numbers, and as the weather was all that could be asked for, it was soon a conceded fact that the celebration was to be a success, a thing which is always a certainty at this place. At about 9:30 o'clock, the Fowlerville Cornet Band -- 19 strong -- in their beautiful uniforms were formed in front of the Commercial Hotel by Marshal G.L. Fisher and marched out on the Grand River road west, to meet the Webberville delegation, which consisted of a troop of horsemen and a Modoc band, headed by G.H. Markle of that place.

As the delegation came in, the ranks were swelled by Protection Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1, in full uniform, with their wagon beautifully decorated with the evergreen and headed by Ayres' Martail Band, followed by the usual amount of carriages, wagons and other vehicles.

Next in the van came a large wagon bearing several shook-makers from W.W. Starkey's manufacturing establishment, who gave the people an exhibitation of the way in which said shook was made at that establishment. This was followed by a string of carriages, wagons, reapers, mowers, etc., etc., by J. Dodge and others.

After marching on several of the streets, the procession headed for the orchard of R. Fowler, where good sitting had been prepared for those who wished to listen to the oration, delivered by Hon. Sylvester Larned, of Detroit. The oration was a masterpiece of historical events connected directly and indirectly with our National independence which would have stirred the heart of a soul; and we would say, right here, that we believe a better and more fitting oration was never delivered in old Livingston county.

After the speaking, the procession again formed and headed for the Commercial Hotel, where a liberal amount and innumerably variety of edibles received ample justice at the hands of the hungry people. People kept continually pouring into the village during the afternoon until the crowd was enormous. The 'spirits from the vasty deep' failed to put in their appearance, owing to the failure of the person in whose charge it was placed to perform his part of the contract, and thus the victims who was to have fed this mighty band lived to enjoy the pleasures of the day and return to their homes unharmed.

The band, rope walking, dancing, fireworks, etc., furnished ample amusement for the afternoon and evening, and all went home pronouncing the celebration of the grand old Fowlerville a success.

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