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Oklahoma Journeys

July the 4, 100 Years Ago


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The 4th of July in 1910 was described as the grand and glorious holiday celebrated around our state with vaudeville, fireworks, bands and picnics, and some tragedy as well; the great American holiday one hundred years ago on Oklahoma Journeys from the Oklahoma History Center.

From the Oklahoma History Center, this is Oklahoma Journeys. I'm Michael Dean.

One hundred years ago, July 4, 1910, was on a Monday. It was as, maybe even bigger than, the event that we celebrate today. The Oklahoman listed a number of events in the new Capitol city; Oklahoma City had just become the state capitol only three weeks earlier. For most residents of Oklahoma City there was plenty to do. The headline read "Holiday Offers Great Opportunity...Various Forms of Sport and Many Picnics are Planned." The Oklahoma City baseball team had a doubleheader against Shreveport at Colcord Park, first game at 10:30 a.m., second game at 4 p.m. In the words of the Oklahoman, "The grand and glorious American holiday, the fourth of July, will be celebrated by the people of Oklahoma Monday, much as in former years. Parks, summer resorts and different societies have added special attractions to the usual allurements, and those who spend the day at any one of the picnics given by organizations or at the local parks is assured of a good time."

More than two hundred members of the Grand Army of the Republic, Union veterans from the Civil War, gathered at Wheeler Park where they read the Declaration of Independence, enjoyed music, and had a big basket lunch. Meanwhile the state's Confederate veterans were spending the 4th of July making final preparations for their state convention that began a day later on July 5th. More than 6,000 were expected in Oklahoma City for the annual convention of the United Confederate Veterans.

Tragedy struck Edmond on the 4th; a section of a grandstand with about 300 people seated watching vaudeville collapsed, resulting in two people being seriously injured. Scores more escaped with minor injuries. In Muskogee, an assistant cashier at Muskogee National Bank and a young society woman drowned in the Grand River. The young woman stepped in to what she thought was shallow water only to plunge in over her head. The young man jumped in to save her. Witnesses said the woman grabbed the man, then both went under and were not seen again.

Governor Charles Haskell spent the day in Clinton and Elk City where he was delivering orations in the interest of his party. Other state officials, according to the Oklahoman, were spending the day quietly at home. A day after the 4th, Oklahoma Commissioner of Charities and Corrections, Miss Kate Barnard, returned from Colorado and immediately was asked about the Women's Suffrage movement. Her response: "I don't consider the women's suffrage question within the jurisdiction of my office; however if the gallantry of Oklahoma were to grant the women of Oklahoma the right to vote, you can bet that Kate Barnard will do her best to cast an intelligent vote."

Those articles in the Daily Oklahoma from July 4 & 5, 1910, are part of the newspaper collection at the Oklahoma History Center, NE 23rd Street, just east of the state capitol in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma Journeys is a production of the Oklahoma History Center, dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing our state's past. I'm Michael Dean.