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July 6, 1887 - North Vernon Plain Dealer

    The fact had gone out to the world that the North Vernon Fire Company were arranging for a grand celebration at this place, and as was to be expected the people of this county and of adjoining counties flocked here on the morning of the Fourth to see the attractions offered by the "Fire Laddies." They came from all directions and they came by every way. Early the town was full of them, and the town was glad to welcome them, and the members of the company were highly gratified at such interest taken in their celebration. At ten o'clock the procession was formed and shortly after that time moved along the route previously selected, Mr. P. C. McGannon, Marshal of the day, with sash and sword, mounted on a spirited horse led the way. Then followed the Hardenburg band; it was a band for any town to be proud of, and we are assured that the people of Hardenburg and Spencer township are proud of it. The boys are all young in years, and had but a few months practice with their instruments, but they made splendid music under the conduct of Prof. Ludwig, and their praises were and are sung by everybody. (We expect a serenade by mail or telegraph for this, boys). They were strong of lung power and used it for all it was worth to make the day a stiring one and help make the celebration a grand success.
    After the band came the Fire Engine, and the two hose reels, the entire company in attendance. The boys were uniformed with white shirts, red belts and souwester hats and made really a fine display. The engine was drawn by George Gottwalles' span of gray horses, high steppers, who felt their mettle and apparently sniffed the battle from afar. The leaders were Kolheier's bays. The alarm bell, mounted on a wagon driven by J. M. Rash, came immediately arter the company.
I was not able to find an actual picture of our Fire Engine Wagon but this is an example of what one type looked like, I believe ours was not as fancy, but this one even has a span (pair) of gray horses pulling it.

     The industrial feature, for which our business men had been preparing for some days past, followed closely after the bell and reels, and was an actual wonder and surprise to all. Nothing of the kind had ever before been attempted here, and its success until the line was formed was in doubt. But our people are nothing if not enterprising, and the effort surpassed all expectations. The van was led by a traction engine, drawing a train of wagons loaded with supplies and from Tripp Bros implement and hardware store, handsomely arranged and profusely decorated with flags, streamers and banners. The decorations were numerous and pleasing all along the line. We will not attempt to give the proper place in line of the wagons. Tripp Bros., besides above mentioned, were represented by several other wagons containing sewing machines, agricultural implements, etc. J. D. Cone & Co. by a large wagon filled with carpets arranged in fanciful shape. P. C. McGannon & Co. by a wagon loaded with sacks of flour. Dixon Bros. showed their egg and poultry business with a neatly arranged wagon loaded with such produce. L. H. Hill by a magnificent display of fine furniture made himself a host of future customers. All the young unmarried couples and some of the older ones had an observant eye upon his wagon. The Cincinnati Cheap Cash Store had a huge painting mounted on a dray, representing the "taking of the cake" in the matter of prices. Everybody saw it. Gagen & Thornton showed their feed business nicely. Joseph Alexander moved along in a wagon representing a blacksmith shop with smoking forge, and lustily rang blows on his anvil. The North Vernon Brick and Tile Co. had a wagon upon which were piled tier upon tier of the best make of tile of different sizes which are to make Jennings county lands worth twice the price they are to-day, and make crops come almost without effort and almost without fertilizers. Jim King's was a splendid burlesque on the dairy. Jim is propriietor of one of the best and supplies regularly, through heat and cold, calm and storm, our citizens with pure, good milk. In his burlesque (he is really a funny fellow by nature) he carried from a little house buckets of lime water or a chalk mixture and poured it into cans in the rear part of the wagon, where also was seen a buxon colored girl (?) churning. His mottoes were as funny as Jim. His wagon was labeled "Deep Well Dairy," and a well curb "The best cow on the farm." E. S. Whitcomb's display was a line of Studebaker wagons. These were filled with boys carrying flags and banners. There was a representation of a barber shop with the artist, Henry Loscent, at work with a razon with a blade two feet long on the soapsudded face of a callow youth whose base ball mustache had not yet budded. By a strange coincidence a wagon carrying Dr. McGinty, a lean man and a fat man, representing ill health and good health, with a packing box full of bottles and a bushel of base balls, was followed by B. W. Hobson's copy of a hearse, and this in turn was followed by White & O'Toole's marble shop on wheels, the principal feature being a huge monument. Wolf Gumble was out with a moving stock of clothing and dry goods, Henry Loscent with groceries, and Mose Ferris as an auctioneer. Kutchback and Schwake had fitted up a grotesque drum band, with banners. John Redmond's wagon carried paints, oils and patent medicine signs. Geo. Verbarg had two wagons in the line in one of which was George himself breaking off chunks of ice and throwing them to the thirsty ones in the crowd, and in the other was Lou Reichle slicing beefsteaks. Hayman & Stenger showed fresh meats and carried a decorated crate in which was a live calf. The Schierling boys made a good display of their business. There was in the procession a team tandem, other wagons and vehicles, and a host of boys carryinng banners and business signs, and a number of other attractions that fail now to come to our memory. All were handsomely decorated, and presented such an appearance of the industry, energy and enterprise of North Vernon as was never attempted before. It was highly pleasing to the thousands of visitors.
    Moving to the Fair Grounds the whole procession moved once around the race-track and disbanded.
    After dinner the multitudes gathered about the evergreen-festooned speaker's stand. Mayor Lawrence delivered a brief address of welcome and then introduced the Orator of the Day, Hon. Marshall Hacker, of Columbus. Our duty called us elsewhere and it was not our privilege to hear more than the opening remarks, we were told however by old citizens who sat on the stand that it was one of the best speeches ever delivered here, full of patriotic expressions. Mr. Hacker has a wide reputation as a very able talker on any subject. After the speech the various other entertainments were offered according to programme, including the horse races and a Texas pony race.
    The crowning feature of the day's entertainments, for which the people were on tiptoe of expectation (seems to us we've heard these three last words before,) was the Fire Company at work extinguishing a fire. A rude structure having something the appearance of a two story frame house had been erected several days before, and was filled to the top with light wood and other inflammable material, saturated with oils, and at four o'clock the building was set on fire in several places. When the flames had a good start, the alarm was sounded and away flew the engine to the well, making steam as it went, followed by the hose reels drawn by the men. The run to the well was a short and quick one, the hose was attached on each side the engine and away went the reels whirling to the fire where the nozzles were attached and in a minute or two, though it seemed much longer, two steady streams were playing on the ever increasing blaze. In a moment the fire was subdued and many thousands had seen for the first time in their lives a real fire extinguished systematically and without the confusion they expected and almost necessary on all such occasions where the work is done by other manner than by a steam engine. The engine was stopped and for a while the fire was allowed to gain headway. It was soon roaring as loudly as ever. Many thought this a failure or a fault of the company, but in a moment the two streams were playing again and the blaze at once went down and the fire entirely put out. The exhibition was a grand success, and we heard many compliments passed on the competency and efficiency of the company and apparatus, the chief, George Stenger, coming in for a good share of praise.
    The celebration, as a whole was the best ever held here and gave more general satisfaction. All the visitors were simply delighted and long to come to North Vernon on other occasions of like character. And they will be heartily welcomed, and the effort ought to be and doubtless will be to as highly entertain them.

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