Fourth of July in Knox County

Fourth of July celebrations in Knox County in 1878 were held at Bazile Mills, Niobrara, and Walnut Grove. The Niobrara Pioneer of July 5, 1878, reported the day’s weather to be “cool, clear and airy, giving the celebrators an opportunity to keep themselves comfortable and no fear of melting away in case of a little extra exertion for amusement’s sake. The morning, clear and cool, broke forth with the banging of guns, both large and small, intermingling with which were the notes of the birds. Our county held celebrations in three different points-Bazile Mills, Niobrara and Walnut Grove-full reports of which we print below.

“At Bazile Mills there were many from Plainview, Creighton, Reidsville, Millerboro and Niobrara, who made the occasion pleasant and profitable. . . . The beautiful day, cool weather and delightful surroundings combined to make the occasion all that could be desired.”

Activities at Niobrara were highlighted by an afternoon baseball game and an evening ball: “The game of base ball between the Spotted Tail [Indian Agency] and Niobrara nine was one of the sports which attracted many people to the grounds south of town. Both clubs did well, and at the eighth inning the game was a tie, but at the ninth inning the Niobrara boys were ‘white washed’ and the Spotted Tail boys made six, resulting in the score of 16 to 10.

“The ball in Messrs. Bonesteel & Turner’s new building was largely attended in the evening, about 175 numbers being out, besides many others who failed to take part in dancing. It was a fine affair­probably the largest and grandest ever before held in Niobrara. The steamer Wasp brought up 82 from Springfield, and 20 others came by teams. There were about ten couples from Paddock and as many more from Spotted Tail agency besides the soldiers. The Fort Randall string band made excellent music for the occasion, and all seemed to enjoy themselves under its inspiration. We hope to hear this band again in the near future.”

Dancing was also a part of the Walnut Grove celebration, “closed by a grand ball in Grim’s new house, the boys dancing all night and then going home with the girls in the morning.” Those attending were so pleased with the arrangements that it was proposed to meet at the same site on the next Fourth of July.

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