The Twin Cities Did Themselves Proud; Was this 1893 event the biggest ever held in Lutesville, Marble Hill?

“The Twin Cities Did Themselves Proud”, this was the headline published in the July 6, 1893 edition of the Marble Hill Press, referring to a July 4, Independence Day celebration.

The celebration was a coordinated event between the cities of Marble Hill and Lutesville, Missouri (which were separated only by Crooked Creek).

By all accounts the event could only be described as a very “big deal”. According to the Marble Hill Press:

“Wrapt in admiration of the grand thoughts of that immortal document, the Declaration of Independence, and contemplation of the heroism that established its demands the people of Bollinger, Madison, Cape Girardeau, Wayne, Scott and Stoddard counties, to the number of perhaps, 7500 assembled at Conrad’s park, between the Twin Cities last Tuesday to celebrate the Nation’s Birthday.

At 4 o’clock in the morning the cannon from the two towns boomed out the glad tidings that just 117 years ago America was declared a free and independent government. The salute was a beautiful one in its significance. The Twin Cities jointly did honor to America’s Independence. Twenty- two guns were fired in Marble Hill and twenty-two in Lutesville, alternately, one for each of the grand states that form this union. At the conclusion of the salute every bell in the cities pealed forth the merry chimes of gladness.”

The Marble Hill Press also noted that at an early hour people started arriving in the Twin Cities , “In every kind of conveyance” and “the trains brought in hundreds, and they kept coming until noon.”

The Marble Hill Press listed the following organizations as taking part of the parade:

Sons of Veterans

The Grand Army of the Republic (Union veterans)

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Ancient Order of United Workmen

Sunday Schools

Information found in the September 30, 2017 issue of The Missouri Unionist (the newsletter for members of Missouri’s Sons of Union Veterans chapters), states that another event was planned by the Franklin Shanks Camp 100 (Lutesville), Grand Army of the Republic was planned and held 7 years prior and lasted from July 3-5, 1886.

In the article, meeting minutes from the Franklin Shanks Camp 100, Grand Army of the Republic were published:

“In the March 17, 1886, meeting minutes, the post discussed uniting with the Erich Pope (Pape) Post to decorate the graves of their fallen comrades and meet at the Lutesville Pavilion Grounds on July 3, 4 and 5.

This would involve all local GAR Posts. Hiram Gavitt Post 174 at Fredericktown was involved in at least one Decoration Day. In the April 14 minutes, the post commander reported sending invites to 13 other posts to attend. Invitations were also sent to Reverend B. St. James and J.J. Marks of St. Louis and B.L. Boman and J.J. Russel of Marble Hill.

The invitation committee was authorized to send invites to Ex- Governor Thomas Fletcher and Governor John Marmaduke. Ex Confederates J.V. Slinkard, W.B. Hawkins and L. Brinks were also invited.

While you had comrades planning the event you also had some who agreed to haul lumber and I assume build a stage for the dignitaries.

The July minutes report what a success the celebration was. It’s mentioned that representatives from several Missouri and Illinois posts attended.

Music was provided by the Marble Hill Cornet Band. On Saturday, the celebration was opened by a speech from “the Honorable H.N. Philips of Malden, MO. Known as the (Silver Tongued) orator of S.E. MO”

On Sunday after church sermons were given by Dr. J.J. Marks of St. Louis and Rev. B.L. Boman of Marble Hill, MO. They also mention delegations of “Federal and Confederate soldiers” but they don’t give any names.”

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