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Boone County Missouri - Fourth of July at Ashland

The following is quoted directly from The History of Boone County Missouri by W.F. Switzler originally published in 1882, page 519-521.

Fourth of July at Ashland.

The town was full of people and flags gaily glittered in the breeze in every direction. A brass 24-pounder, made to order at Sedalia for the occasion, and paid for by the citizens of Ashland and vicinity, woke the hills and plains for miles around by its national salutes. A long procession, under the command of Chief Marshal Jos. W. Johnston, with James W. Conly, Ev. M. Bass, Wm. Stone and J. C. Carroll as assistants, and headed by the Fulton brass band, marched to Westbrook's grove in the vicinity of town, where an abundant and elegant basket dinner, more deserving the name of banquet, was served to about one thousand persons.

About 2 o'clock at a signal given by the band, the large assembly came together around a platform which had been erected in the grove for the accommodation of the Continental Congress, which it was proposed to personify. Mr. A. G. Payne called the concourse to order, briefly explained the object of the meeting, and invited the members of the Congress, fifty-six in number, to seats on the platform. It was an imposing, unique demonstration. About half the members appeared in the costume of the revolutionary period and excited much interest. There sat Gen. Knox of the army, in the person of John M. Samuel, and Benjamin Franklin in the person of James C. Orr, of Columbia. R. B. Price personated and looked like Thomas Jefferson; Wm. F. Switzler, in costume for which he was indebted to the courtesy of Mr. David Emmett, personated John Hancock and presided over the conference. The following were the

Members of the Congress.
Richard Henry Lee ..... Absent
Thomas Nelson ..... P. J. Puffner
Thomas Jefferson ..... R. B. Price
Francis Lightfoot Lee ..... Dr. James Kerr
Carter Braxton ..... S. T. Mustain
George Wythe ..... W. J. Warren
Benjamin Harrison ..... E. Penter
John Hancock ..... W. F. Switzler
John Adams ..... J. W. Johnston
Samuel Adams ..... J. R. Burks
Robert Treat Payne ..... D. D. Murphy
Benjamin Franklin ..... James C. Orr
Robert Morris ..... Col. Thad Hickman
Benjamin Rush ..... T. H. Roberts
John Morton ..... John H. Sappington
George Clymer ..... D. M. Burnam
James Smith ..... Green B. Sappington
George Taylor ..... L. L. Lindsey
James Wilson ..... Seth Whitfield
George Ross ..... W. C. Scott
North Carolina
William Hooper ..... B. A. Christian
Joseph Hughes ..... Dr. H. M. Chevans
John Penn ..... Edmond C. Forbes
South Carolina
Edward Rutledge ..... W. H. Wiggins
Thomas Heyward ..... Amos Nichols
Thomas Lynch ..... Foster Martin
Arthur Middleton ..... H. T. Wright
Button Gwinnett ..... John Barger
George Walton ..... Dennis Forbis
Lyman Hall ..... J. G. Wiseman
New Jersey
John Witherspoon ..... David Brinegar
Richard Stockton ..... John M. Edwards
Francis Hopkins ..... W. H. Bass
John Hart ..... Reuben Forbis
Abraham Clark ..... Eli M. Bass
New Hampshire
Josiah Barlett ..... J. G. Jones
William Whipple ..... Amos T. Nichols
Matthew Thorton ..... James Pilcher
Samuel Huntington ..... Gen John Ellis
William Williams ..... Joel Hubbard
Oliver Wolcott ..... William Sapp
Roger Sherman ..... Walter S. Maupin
New York
John Willing ..... John L. Burnam
William Floyd ..... Robert Emmons
Francis Lewis ..... Ed. Burnett
Lewis Morris ..... George Hubbard
Philip Livingstone ..... J. W. Grannis
Caesar Rodney ..... John W. Sappington
George Reed ..... Ev. M. Bass
Thomas McKean ..... R. E. Sappington
Samuel Chase ..... Alexander Gibbs
Thomas Stone ..... Robert Jones
William Paca ..... A. G. Harrington
Charles Carroll ..... Dr. F. G. Sitton
Rhode Island
Elbridge Gerry ..... Esq. H. T. Britt
Stephen Hopkins ..... E. R. Westbrook
William Ellery ..... John Baker
David Humphrey ..... John T. Johnston

Pursuing the history of the proceedings, the Congress was called to order by Charles Thompson (A. G. Payne), and was opened by prayer by Rev. Robert White, after which Col. Switzler, as John Hancock, the President, address the Congress and people.

Benjamin Harrison, of Virginia (Eli Penter), from the committee, reported and read with the spirit and the understanding the Declaration of Independence, and the question being on its adoption or rejection, Samuel Adams, of Massachusetts (J. R. Burks), opened the ball in a speech in its favor. He was followed on the same side by Charles Carroll, of Maryland (Dr. F. G. Sitton), and in speeches against it by John Willing, of New York (John L. Burnam), and David Humphrey, of Rhode Island (John T. Johnston). These were succeeded by speeches in favor of its adoption by Roger Sherman, of Connecticut (Walter S. Maupin), and John Adams, of Massachusetts (Jo. W. Johnston), after which a vote was taken and the Declaration adopted. No sooner was the vote announced by the President than the fact was succeeded by the firing of cannon, the ringing of the bells of the village and the applause of the people assembled.

Some of the speeches delivered were improvised for the occasion. All of them, especially the well-known speech of John Adams, were delivered with a fervid eloquence eminently befitting the occasion and worthy of all praise. To sum up in a word, the Centennial Fourth at Ashland was a grand success, and one to which the people of Ashland and Cedar township may well refer with pride and satisfaction.

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Last updated 10 June 2000