Nebraska was a rough-and-tumble place in 1876. But many women settlers here did their
best to live a “genteel” life–as much as conditions would permit. Great energy and effort
went into the planning of refined social gatherings, such as this July lawn party held in the
infant Capital City:
“One of the happiest affairs it was ever our pleasure to attend was the lawn party given last
evening at the residence of Mrs. J. D. Monell on 18th Street, corner of H. We doubt if there
are any grounds in the city as suitable for an entertainment of this kind as those of Mrs.
Monell and the way in which they were laid off on this occasion showed excellent
management on the part of the ladies.
“The ice cream and other refreshments were kept on the north side of the lot, and tables were
placed along the side, where all kinds of suitable refreshments were served. A plank walk
was put down leading around the south side of the house, and there a fine platform for
dancing, 30 x 50 feet in size, was erected. On the east side of the lot was a brilliantly lighted
promenade. In fact the whole of the grounds were brilliantly lighted by railroad station lamps
and locomotive headlights. Dr. Converse, of the Midland, Mr. Hamblin, of the B. & M., and
Mr. Millar, of the A. & N. were each pressed into service, and loaned a locomotive headlight
for the occasion. These shed abroad over the grounds a brilliant light, which was further
heightened by the aid of a number of Chinese lanterns hanging from the trees.
“A quartette consisting of Misses Candee and Irwin and Messrs. Alford and Jones sang some
pleasant selections in the open air, Miss Carrie Sessions presiding at the organ. Little girls
sold bouquets and nearly all the ladies and gentlemen took advantage of the opportunity and
provided themselves with button hole bouquets.
“On the south side of the house a neat representation of Rebecca at the well was erected with
a handsome Lincoln Rebecca presiding thereat, and many a Lincoln Jacob drank therefrom.
Only the fair hands of the Rebecca aforesaid gave him lemonade instead of water.
“Dancing commenced at a seasonable hour, a portion of Pryor’s orchestra furnishing the
music. The evening was so pleasant and the scene so beautiful outside, that nearly everybody
remained outside, and nearly everybody in the city was there. Mrs. Monell and the other lady
conspirators are to be congratulated over the brilliant success of their undertaking.”