Sunday, July 4, 2010

Marietta, Ohio, Celebrated Its First 4th of July In 1788

From THE NEW NATION GROWS, Volume Two, Selected from The American Reader by Paul M. Angle, Pub 1960, Copyright of the Rand McNally Co.

As soon as the Ordinance of 1787 organized the Northwest Territory, groups of settlers moved to establish themselves there. [See the Wisconsin Historical Society's link here]

In the spring of 1788 the Company's advance parties chose a site at the juncture of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers and started to build the town of Marietta. Colonel John May, one of the Company members, arrived from Boston and commenced the first frame house to be erected in the new settlement. His diary describes life in this outpost of New England, not omitting an elaborate celebration of the Fourth of July."

Colonel May's Diary: 4 July 1788 [also here]
Friday, 4th. Warm, moist, and a brisk wind from
southwest. At 11 o'clock it rained hard. The cloud,
black and heavy, shakes the rain out easily. All labor
comes to a pause to-day in memory of the Declaration
of Independence
. Our long bowery is built on the
east bank of the Muskingum ; a table laid sixty feet
long, in plain sight of the garrison, at one-quarter of a
mile distance. At 1 o'clock General Harmer and his
lady, Mrs. McCurders, and all the officers not on duty
came over, and several other gentlemen. An excellent
oration was delivered by Judge Varnum, and the
cannon fired a salute of fourteen guns. At 3 o'clock,
just as dinner was on table, came a on heavy shower,
which lasted for half an hour. However the chief of
our provisions were rescued from the deluge, but in-
jured materially. When the rain ceased, the table was
laid again ; but before we had finished, it came on to
rain a second time. On the whole, though, we had a
handsome dinner: all kinds of wild meat, turkey, and
other fowls of the woods; gammon, a variety of fish,
and plenty of vegetables ; a bowl of punch, also grog,
wine, etc. Our toasts were as follows:

1. The United States. •
2. Congress.
3. His Most Christian Majesty the King of France.
4. The United Netherlands.
5. The Friendly Powers throughout the World.
6. The New Federal Constitution.
7. General Washington and the Society of Cincinnati.
8. His Excellency Governor St. Clair* and the West-
ern Territory.
9. The Memory of Heroes.
10. Patriots.
11. Captain Pipes, and a Successful Treaty.
12. The Amiable Partners of our Lives.
13. All Mankind.

Pleased with the entertainment, we kept it up till
after 12 at night, then went home and to bed, and slept
sound till morning.
*St. Clair papers

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