Monday, June 28, 2010

Reedsburg- 1st 4th of July Celebration

On July 4th we celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence with picnics, parades and fireworks. But the first 4th of July celebration in Reedsburg happened July 4th, 1849. The following account is quoted from Merton Krug’s “History of Reedsburg and the Upper Baraboo Valley”.
“The first thing that was done in way of preparing for the day, was to raise a liberty pole, regretting very much that they had no flag to fly. While the men pondered gravely the women resolved that the village should not pass a flagless Fourth, and set their wits to work to devise a plan to get sufficient material for the Star Spangled Banner. The men wore blue denim and so did many of the women, but this, after much wear, was not very blue, so it was put upon a white background. The men wore buckskin reinforcements on seats and knees, and to economize as well as to get pieces that were of a brighter blue, the women cut out denim patches under the buckskin and made them into stars. A woman’s undergarment furnished a square of white and some stripes, while by a little shortening of the men’s shirts some red strips were obtained.
When the flag was completed, and before attaching it to the pole, the women determined to confide the secret of their achievement to a young man whom they all highly admired. “Horace Croswell was the ladies’ man at that time and the general confidante. They spread the flag before him. He looked at it skeptically. “That won’t do” he immediately declared, glancing at the six-pointed stars. No doubt his admiration for the women’s resourcefulness was immense. Yet he chose to tell them of their mistake, so it could be corrected without any of the other men learning of it. “The national flag” he continued, “has only five points!” The stars were all ripped off; and as there was no material with which to make new ones one point of each was cut off, and the others twisted into place. Then the millwright’s daughter, Miss Agnes McClung, embroidered on a piece of cloth this charming couplet: “The Star Spangled Banner, long may it wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave”. This was stitched to the flag and the work was pronounced complete. Such is the story of the first flag unfurled over present site of the city of Reedsburg, July 4, 1849.”
They combined their possessions to form quite an array of food that no one person could have provided. A program followed the meal and after that boards were put down for dancing. This was the first dance held in Reedsburg. When settlers spoke of the dance years later they said, “It was the most enjoyable 4th of July they ever spent.”

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