The Vinton Semi-Weekly Eagle,
Vinton, Benton Co., Iowa
June 3, 1884
CEREMONIES AT VINTON AND IN HARRISON TOWNSHIP.
While Decoration Day has been observed every year in Vinton since its
inception, the establishment of a G. A. R. Post at this place has given it a new
impetus, and the Decoration of Friday was far ahead of any of its kind
heretofore; and we believe the people will every year devote themselves more sacredly
to the duty of paying this noble tribute to our departed heroes. The day
opened beautifully and the weather was as fine as though it had been especially
set apart for this particular day. Early in the day people began to arrive, and
continued arriving until noon, when the streets presented an animated
appearance. Estimating the people from the country and town there must have been
fully 2,500 people taking part in the exercises. The Post had everything
admirably arranged and the exercises were carried out without the least perceptible
jar. In the morning a committee from the Post went to the west cemetery
[Evergreen Cemetery] and decorated the graves of the soldiers buried there. In the
afternoon the stores were generally closed and the time given up to listening to
the exercises which were held in the court-house yard and the east cemetery.
Between 1 and 2 o’clock the different orders marched from their rooms to the
court-house. The exercises were opened by Cyprus Commandery Band, after which
the audience was called to order by Hon. John McCartney who spoke a few words
appropriate to the occasion. This was followed by martial music, singing, and
prayer by Rev. Eldridge. Rev. Hays, of La Porte, was then introduced by the
President of the Day and proceded to deliver a very able address peculiary
fitted to the occasion. Mr. Hays spoke for about an hour, and we regret that our
space forbids giving even a synopsis of his address. After the oration the
audience was favored with music by the G. A. R. Band. After the exercises at
the court-house, Marshal Merideth and Assistant Marshal Sheets formed the
procession in the following order: President of the Day and other officers in
carriages, Cyprus Commandery Band, Odd-Fellows Encampment, Knights of Pythias,
Cap. Starks’ Battery, P. M. Coder Post and ex-soldiers, citizens in carriages.
On arriving at the cemetery the order was reversed and P. M. Coder Post filed
into the cemetery followed by the other organizations. The decorating
committee fulfilled its duty of decorating the various soldiers’ graves scattered
through the cemetery. The G. A. R. exercises were conducted around the graves of
those soldiers buried in the G. A. R. lot, and were very impressive. After the
exercises were over the column formed and proceeded on its march to town.
Before the procession left the cemetery it was halted and the Knights of Pythias
left the column and decorated the grave of E. P. Stedman, one of its charter
and most faithful members. After this graceful act the K. of P.’s resumed
their position and the column marched to town. Thus ended the beautiful custom
of decorating for 1884, and we hope as time shall last to see it faithfully
DECORATION DAY IN HARRISON TOWNSHIP.
The people of Harrison township were a patriotic people during the war,
amply shown by the voiceless graves of their dead soldiers as well as by the
long list of those who went into the army. And the generation which has since
come upon the stage, and the strangers who have cast lots with them have caught
the spirit and inspiration of the old fires of patriotism. To be convinced of
this one needs but to attend the Decoration ceremonies performed yearly at Bear
It would surprise many townspeople to see the large crowd which gathers
there--not once in a while, on some special occasion, but every Decoration Day.
The number present on last Friday was estimated at twelve to fifteen hundred.
The people of that section practically drop business, on that day, and whole
families go to the cemetery and engage in the ceremonies.
Our space will not permit a detailed account of the programme. It is
sufficient to say that the exercises were very interesting, if one can judge from
the patient and earnest attention given by the large company, many of whom were
on the grounds several hours.
The exercises commenced with prayer, by Rev. B. A. Wright, followed by
reading of the names of soldiers who went from the township, those now in the
township, and those buried in the township.
Gen. J. L. Geddes then gave an excellent address, full of patriotic
sentiment, which was followed by short speeches by Rev. Littler, of Brandon, Matt.
Brown, E. M. Evans, L. S. Keagle and the writer hereof. Music was furnished by
the Harrison township band.
At the close of exercises at the stand, a procession formed and marched to
the cemetery, where the ceremony of decorating graves of soldiers was
performed by a company of young ladies, under direction of Mrs. L. J. Taylor. The
procession marched back to the church, when the election of officers of the
township association for the ensuing year took place, as follows: J. G. Warriner,
Prest.; J. C. Marsh, Vice-Prest.; John Buntin, Sec’y.; Jas. Buntin, Treas.; J.
N. Van Skike, Captain.
Before dispersing, the Brandon martial band favored the audience with
several stirring pieces.
Sue Trout Reisdorph