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1865 July 4: Northwest Wisconsin Celebrates the 4th of July and the End of the War in Grand Style

July 4, 2015

The following articles about the 4th of July, 1865, in northwest Wisconsin come from the July 1 and July 8, 1865, issues of The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal.

From The Polk County Press of June 24th:

Proceedings of the 4th of July Meeting at Osceola.

At a meeting of the citizens of Osceola and Farmington, held at the school house in this village on Friday evening to take into consideration the celebration of the 4th of July, WM. KENT, ESQ., was chosen Chairman, and SAM S. FIFIELD, JR., Secretary.

The object of the meeting being stated by the Chairman, the following resolution was presented and unanimously adopted :

RESOLVED, That the citizens of Osceola and Farmington accept the invitation of our neighbors at Taylor’s Falls, and join them in celebrating the coming Fourth of July in a becoming manner.

An Executive Committee of five was appointed to make suitable arrangements for the trip to the Falls, as follows :

Joel F. Nason, Geo. Wilson, and Robert Kent, Osceola ;  James Cording, Chapin Kimball, Farmington.

On motion SAM. S. FIFIELD, JR., was elected Marshal.

The following Committee of ladies were appointed to superintend the Comissary [sic] Department :

Mrs. Ashael Kimball, Mrs. Wm. A. Talboys, Mrs. W. C. Guild, Mrs. Benj. Jones, Mrs. M. C. Goodwin, Mrs. S. S. Fifield, Mrs. A. Ramsey, Mrs. H. H. Hanscom.

The Sabbath Schools of Osceola and Farmington were invited to accompany the citizens as an organization.  The invitation was accepted.

The meeting instructed the Executive Committee to procure fire works for the evening at Osceola.

The meeting then adjourned.

WM. KENT, Chairman.
S. S. FIFIELD, JR., Secretary.

There will be a meeting of the Executive Committee at the school house next Friday evening.

A cordial invitation is extended to the citizens throughout the county, to join in the celebration.  The citizens of Polk county will meet at St. Croix Falls, and stables for teams will be furnished by the citizens of that place, for all that come.  The Enterprise has been chartered to transport the citizens of this place and will meet the St. Croix delegation at the Toll Bridge.  The bridge will be free during the day.

It is expected that our citizens will turn out en masse and go in for a glorious time.

ST. CROIX.—At a meeting of the citizens of the Falls St. Croix, held on Thursday the 22d inst., for the purpose of taking into consideration the celebrating of the 4th of July, it was resolved that we join with the people of Taylor’s Falls in the celebration on that day.  On motion of H. D. BARRON a Committee was appointed to confer and make arrangements with the citizens of Osceola to join us at Falls St. Croix in procession to march to said Taylor’s Falls on that occasion.

WM. J. VINCENT, Secretary.

From The Polk County Press of June 24th and again on July 1st:

4 T H   O F   J U L Y !


Order of Exercises, Ect. [sic]

At a meeting of the Committee to make arrangements for celebrating the coming Fourth, held at the Post Office, in Taylor’s Falls, June 21st, 1865, the following business was transacted :

The officers for the day were appointed, as follows:


President.—Hon. W. H. C. FOLSOM.

Vice Presidents.—N. M. HUMPHREY, Taylor’s Falls ;  C. H. STAPLES, Osceola ;  SAM’L EMORY, Saint Croix Falls ;  ANDREWS HOLM, Chisago Lake ;  PAUL MUNCH, Franconia ;  SMITH ELISON, Sunrise.

Orator of the day,

Hon. S. H. CLOUGH, Osceola.

Reader Declaration of Independence.

Hon. H. D. BARRON, St. Croix.

Chaplain.—Rev. WM. McKINLEY.

Toast Master.—C. B. WHITING.


The following resolution was adopted :

Resolved, That a general invitation be extended to the citizens of Chisago and Polk Counties to meet at Taylor’s Falls July 4th, 1865.  All are requested to meet between the hours of nine and ten o’clock A. M. to celebrate the glorious old Fourth as in former days.

Resolved, That we have a picnic dinner and that all are requested to bring along a little of the “hardtack.”

Resolved, That we meet and celebrate at Wyman Folsom’s Grove.


1st.  Salute at Sunrise.

2d  Procession will be formed at ten o’clock near the Methodist church under the direction of the Marshals and march to the grove in the following order :


Peace-Fourth of July, 1865, from “Harper’s Weekly”¹

1.   Band of Music.
2.   Color Bearer.
3.   Returned Soldiers.
4.   President and Chaplain.
5.   Vice Presidents.
6.   Orator and Reader.
7.   Ladies.
8.   Children of Schools and teachers.
9.   Independent Societies.
10. Ladies and gentleman.
11. Citizens.


1.   National air—tune America.
2.   Prayer by the Chaplain.
3.   Martial Music by the Band.
4.   Reading Declaration of Independence.
5.   Singing—Star Spangled Banner.
6.   Oration.
7.   Martial Music.
8.   Drummer.
9.   Toasts and firing of cannon.
10. Singing by Children.
11.  Address to children by Chaplain.
12. Music by Band.

Resolved, That a copy of these proceeding be published in the Taylor’s Falls Reporter and Polk County Press.

By order of Executive Com.,
.                                .Secretary.

From The Polk County Press
of July 1st:

Programme for the 4th.

A procession will be formed at the School House in this village [Osceola] at 7 o’clock, headed by a martial band, and march to the steamer at the levee.—The column will start for the boat at  past 7 o’clock, punctually.

The order of the procession will be as follows :

1st.  Music.
2d.  Ladies and gentlemen.
3d.  Union Sabbath School.
4th. Citizens.

On the arrival of the steamer at Taylor’s Falls the procession will form in the same order and march to form a junction with the St. Croix delegation, after which a place will be assigned the county delegation by the Marshal of the day.

The excursionists are requested to send their donations of “hardtack” to Dresser, Wilson & Co.’s store on Monday evening and Tuesday morning earlyby 6 o’clock.

There will be a committee to superintend the provision stores, and see them safely delivered on the grounds.

The color bearers appointed are Robert Downend, late of the Second Wis. Cav., and Joseph Nutter, late of the 4th Wis. Cavalry.

Per order Executive Com.

Stillwater [Minn.] is to celebrate the coming Fourth with a pic-nic² dinner, etc., etc.

— The citizens of Prescott are to celebrate the coming Fourth at Hastings.  Hon. A. J. Jones, of Anoka, Minn., is the orator of the day.

— Owing to the fact that we wish to celebrate the 4th of July with the rest of humanity, we shall publish but a half sheet next week.

FOURTH OF JULY BALL.—There is to be a grand ball at Taylor’s Falls [Minn.] on the evening of the 4th of July.  Supper at BALLARD’s.  A general invitation is extended.

From The Prescott Journal of July 1st:

THE FOURTH.—Arrangements are being made for celebrating the Fourth at Hastings [Minn.] in fine style.  A large number of our citizens intend going there.

From The Prescott Journal of July 8th:

The Fourth.

There was no fromal [sic] celebration of the Fourth here, but the places of business were closed, and many of our citizens went to other places.

At Hastings [Minn.] there was a creditable celebration, and a large party in the evening, which was attended by a large number from here.  DRAPER conducted the ceremonies in his usual affable manner, and the supper at the HERNDON HOUSE was a very excellent one.  The fact is, HERNDON “knows how to keep hotel.”  No one while boarding with him, if a person of any taste, would sing the hymn,

“I would not live alway.”

The best remedy we know of for “the hollowness of life,” is such fare as HERNDON provides.

At Trimbelle there was a fine pic nic² celebration.  About two hundred were gathered together, the tables were tastefully decorated and bountifully supplied, and all enjoyed a good time.  Capt. O. T. MAXSON [Orrin T. Maxson] did the talking.

A large number of the people of Clifton attended a pic nic² celebration in the adjoining town of Troy.  They had a good time, STEPHEN COLLINS, Esq., speaking the principal piece.

In this Valley, there was less “pomp and circumstance” than is common to the day, but not less of pride in the “OLD FLAG,” nor of heartfelt satisfaction that it has come to its own again.³

The Fourth of July, Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-Five, from "Harper's Weekly"

The Fourth of July, Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-Five, from “Harper’s Weekly”³

1.  “Peace—Fourth of July, 1865,” from the July 8, 1865, issue of Harper’s Weekly. The University of Wisconsin-River Falls’ Chalmer Davee Library has microfilm copies of Harper’s Weekly for 1858-1865 (UWRF online catalog).
2.  Frequently spelled pic-nic or pic nic, it seems to rarely be spelled as one word—picnic— the way we do today.
3.  “The Fourth of July, Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-Five,” from the July 8, 1865, issue of Harper’s Weekly. The University of Wisconsin-River Falls’ Chalmer Davee Library has microfilm copies of Harper’s Weekly for 1858-1865 (UWRF online catalog).

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