Fully 1000 people gathered at the beautiful groves on Mule Creek near Capt. C. C. Peppard's, known as Wilmore, to celebrate the 4th. They came from all directions and assembled under the leafy shade trees which grow so thick along the creek, the speakers of the day were O. L. Tichenor, of Coldwater, and Rev. McWilliams of Nescatunga who made some eloquent and able speeches, also the Nescatunga Cornet Band rendered some very fine music, after speaking and an all around good time, dinner was spread and the roasted ox was free to all who eat meat and most all did. The table set by Curly Hatcher and Wife relieved the wants of a good many, for people seemed to forget about such a thing as dinner until it began to smell like a Nescatunga restaurant around there and been eaten, Jim Gillen, and Pauly got on the scent when they finally stumbled on to Curly's headquarters as did many others who say thanks for his kindness and trouble.
A sparking spring of clear cool water quenched the thirst of the assemblage, while Mule creek with its pure, clear water, full of little fish, its banks lined with beautiful flowers, went trickling by.
After dinner a purse was made up for a horse race and a foot race, after which several races were run, Wm. Robinson of Coldwater winning in the foot race of 200 yards.
Wilmore lies across the creek from the grove on a beautiful spot in the Mule creek valley and a horse shoe bend in the creek. The railroad at Wilmore is completed west from town but east of the town is some of their heaviest work in the county and will probably be two or three weeks before it is completed. There are a couple of business houses already completed at Wilmore, and several others under contract.
The procession began to wind their way in the different directions about 5 o'clock and on the roads for miles could be seen wagons, and buggies making their way toward home. All can say that they had a happy time and enjoyed themselves highly in the beautiful, and shady groves of the Mule creek valley, and when we have occasion to visit that section again we hope to see that town covering 8 or 10 blocks.
The Western Star, July 9, 1887.
The crowd was variously estimated at from 1000 to 1250 people, which was a good showing when we remember the large crowds that were celebrating at other places in the county. Wilmore is located some ten miles east of here on Mule creek, a bright, sparkling stream and its banks are heavily skirted with trees of different varieties, making it one of the loveliest spots on earth for a genuine picnic and barbecue. At 10 o'clock the exercises of the day were opened with music by the Nescatunga band, which was followed by the opening address by O. L. Tichenor, which was delivered in a clear forcible manner, characteristic of the speaker. He spoke of the grand, glorious American Eagle and the struggles of America under the oppression of Great Britian in the early days of our country's history; commented upon the pure spirit and principles of freedom laid down by Washington and Jefferson, passing on to the present generation with sixty millions of happy, prosperous people with a large country yet to be developed. S. A. Vankirk, of Nescatunga, delivered an able address, in which he showed the great state of Kansas as one of progress and represented Comanche county as following in its foot steps; also dwelled in some length upon the labor question as one of importance in our national affairs. J. W. McWilliams passed over the critical periods of our country in a fine manner and showed the present privilege of our people to be beyond price.
The exercises being over, Capt. Pepperd, our hospitable entertainer, announced dinner and all repaired to the shade to partake of the substantials and luxuries of life. A bountiful supply of barbecued meat was distributed among the crowd and enjoyed by all. In the afternoon the crowd gave themselves up to amusements, such as dancing, shooting at targets, horse racing, courting, laying in the shade, etc. The picnic at Wilmore was a perfect success in every way, and the thanks of the people are due Capt. Pepperd for his excellent management in making up and carrying out the program.
Footnote: The above Coldwater Echo article used the correct spelling of the Irish surname, but the spelling used by "Cap" Pepperd himself was "Pepperd". For documentation, see: Comanche County Cowboy: A Case Study of a Kansas Rancher by C. Robert Haywood, published in Kansas History, Autumn 1981. It is a exhaustively researched and excellent biography of Captain Pepperd.
FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION AT WILMORE
The Western Star, June 18, 1887.
Photograph: Wilmore Train Depot, an undated photograph from the collection of Kim Fowles.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news articles and scan of the Coldwater Echo colophon to this web site!
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