Tama County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Star Clipper Supplement
Traer, Iowa, February 4, 1887
History of North Tama
By Daniel Connell

Chapter XV
Fourth of July

The people of the settlement from the very earliest day were patriotic-American. Whether native or foreign born they knew no country but the United States-the land of their allegiance if not nativity. The Fourth of July was a great day to them, always to be observed in a suitable manner. Accordingly the National anniversary of 1853-the first when there were twenty-five inhabitants within twenty miles-was duly noticed and suitable celebrated with all their enthusiasm and patriotism. I have in my possession, kindly loaned me by Joshua C. Wood, the subscription paper used to raise money to observe that anniversary. At that time there was nothing to be obtained in the settlement, not even flour. The money was raised to send a man to purchase the necessary refreshments for the celebration. The list contains twenty names, some of whom no more is heard in the settlement. The preamble is in the hand writing of John Connell, and is in a good state of preservation, but some of the names are fast fading. One name cannot be deciphered, but I learn it is that of Alvah L. Dean. Those of Joseph Connell and L.E. Wood are nearly obliterated. The list in rotation is John Connell, Allan R. McArthur, Joshua C. Wood, Jonas P. Wood, W.A. Daniel, Robert Connell, Daniel Connell, Nelson Usher, Alexander Usher, Joseph Connell, Alvah L. Dean, Lyman E. Wood, Norman L. Osborn, Samuel Dunkle, Joseph Dunkle, Andrew 1. Dorr, Wm. D. Hitchner, Ira Taylor, Giles Taylor, E. Taylor. Only six of them are known to be living. J. C. Wood was the collector. He collected ten dollars and went to Cedar Rapids, a journey of 100 miles, to spend the money for lemons, sugar, flour and other necessities where with to have an enjoyable day. There were no speakers from abroad. Each one did his best for the occasion. There was no celebration in 1854, but in 1855 and every succeeding year without an interruption "This Day" has been properly observed in this community. Probably there is not a town or community in Iowa that can show so patriotic a record. I have the minutes of a meeting held at Buckingham, May 24, 1856, to arrange for the proper celebration of the Fourth of July of that year. W.A. Daniel, TF. Clark and F.R. Church were a committee on finance. H.F. Gaston, J.P. Wood, L.S. Cope, Cornelius Gay, George Lyman, committee of arrangements.

T. Walter Jackson, a young lawyer of Toledo and the most eloquent speaker in Iowa at that time, was the orator. There was a ball in the evening. A remarkable circumstance in connection with these celebrations was the large number of people who attended, coming for many miles. In 1860 there were by actual count upwards of a thousand persons on the ground. These gatherings were usually held in National Grove. In 1860 and 1863 they were in what is now Traer Park, and in 1861 was in Four Mile Grove. Prominent men were often procured for orators from Toledo, Waterloo, Vinton and Cedar Rapids, yet home talent was the reliance. Of the speakers of the early day we recall a Mr. Bates, of Cedar Rapids, in 1860; William Fawcett and Dr. S.C. Rogers in 1861; Tom Free, Capt. Curtis, Judge Trainor and Joseph Dysart in 1862; Judge Bradford and Dr. Brice in 1863. Judge T. F. Bradford, a lawyer of Toledo and a native of Tennessee, enlisted, and was massacred at Fort Pillow.

With patriotism as seen in their natures they were imbued with political doctrines that found expression in the creed of the Republican party. Intelligent men that were habitual readers and deep thinkers and close observers of the political movements of the day were not unprepared for the action of the South. The firing of the first gun at Fort Sumpter found the citizens of the Buckingham settlement in full sympathy with the government. I have in my possession the muster roll of a company formed under the provision of chapter 84 of the Tenth General Assembly and reported to the Adjutant General of Iowa. The company met weekly for drill in the manual of arms. The officers were: Captain, West Wilson; 1st Lieut., W.C. Reed; 2d Lieut., J.C. Wood; 1st sergeant, James Wilson; 2d sergeant, Enos Barrett; 3d sergeant, G. Jaqua; 4th sergeant, Cornelius Gay; James M. Camery, Samuel Reed, D.C. Ladd, Allan Gordon, corporals; two musicians and thirty-eight privates. Thirty-nine of the whole number are known to be living.

Chapter XVI

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