Residents who went to Philadelphia for the 1876 Centennial Celebration

March 27, 2002

As the close of the first century of the independence of the Untied States approached, it was generally considered desirable to celebrate the centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in a manner worthy of the occasion. The eastern cities (Boston, New York, Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia) competed for the honor of being host to the celebration. Philadelphia, as the birthplace of the Declaration, was deemed the most appropriate choice and on May 10, 1976, the Untied Sates held its first major international exposition on a 236-acre site in Fairmount Park. This “Mighty Cosmos,” as it was called, consisted of 167 buildings that together housed over 30,000 exhibitors. Thirty-five foreign governments accepted the invitation to participate issued by the secretary of state on behalf of the president.

The building of the railroad to Albion in 1874, made it possible for many of the Noble County citizens to attend the exhibition. An item in the New Era newspaper stated that travel to Philadelphia was very great. Every passenger train was crowded with passengers. The low rates have induced many to go who otherwise would not have gone.

June 20, 1876, those departing to Philadelphia from Albion were Mr. Owen Black, and his three brothers, Amos, Davis, and Cyrus, Mr. Walker, Mr. Leonard and lady, Judge William M. Clapp and daughter, Professor J. B. Leslie, and Mr. Earnhart from Sparta Township. Upon their return they informed the editor of the New Era that the exposition at Philadelphia was simply grand and well worth the visit. “The grounds are so extensive,” they said, “that notwithstanding the fact that there are from 40,000 to 50,000 visitors daily, there is seemingly no crowding to make it unpleasant.”

In October, Charles Wright and daughter, Mary who lived about four miles west of Albion, and Col. William C. Williamson, left for Philadelphia It was said by the editor that Col. Williamson was a critical observer and would, no doubt, return well posted in regard to the centennial.

In November the following story appeared in the paper. ‘It was no “common” crowd that left Albion on Tuesday evening for Philadelphia. They flocked to the depot on that evening like the boys to a “free lunch” and unsuspecting stranger might, perhaps, mistake them for delegates to a Sunday school convention, as some of them carried their “testaments”. The scene at parting was such a one as would melt a heart of stone. The following named persons are among the number:

Fielding Prickett, William Trump, A. J. Kimmell. R. L. Stone, Frank Prickett, Levi Diller, Isaac Mendenhall, S. T. Ward, L. G. Worden, John C. Swett, William Broughton, P. A. Sunday, Alex Harvey, William Buchan, J. P. Prickett, of the New Era, O. Barnum, Platt Bassett, Reub Shirk, John Singrey, Jr., John Braughman, Owen Black, Charles Weed, John Weed, David Madden, C. P. Kreager, J. D. Kreager, Jonas Bowman, Ed Engle, Connell Cox, and William Henderson.

Lifted from The New Era, August 16, 1877

One of the most distressed looking tramps of the season passed through Albion one day last week. He was ragged, dirty, and bare-footed, while in his hand he carried the indispensable club. He wore the patriarchal beard of a prophet, while his unshorn and unkempt locks fell in matted ringlets from his noble brow. His appearance upon the street incited much comment. Eels suggested that it was the “Wandering Jew”, while some one else thought that he might possibly be the “Flying Dutchman”, but Dan Love set all these speculations at rest by remarking that he had know him for 200 years, and that he was none other than the veritable Aesop, of fable fame.


December 14, 1887

Buffalo Courier Belle, a twelve-year old public school girl, said yesterday, to Charley, her chum: “Just think---do you recollect what Miss Smith taught us this morning, about that nasty, dirty old alcohol---and how it ruins the heart, liver, brain, stomach, and makes drunkards? Now just imagine Charley, how I was paralyzed at dinner today when papa opened the big bottle, and he and ma and Uncle Grover, who had just arrived before dinner, drank that awful stuff and laughed and talked and enjoyed dinner as if tie was Thanksgiving! Now, I always loved my papa and mama and Uncle Grover, but, as I told you, I am disgusted, and do not know what to make of it but this: Nowadays children can not be careful enough in the selection of their parents.”

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