1808 Fourth of July

Created: Monday, 14 September 2015 Last Updated: Monday, 14 September 2015 Written by Administrator Print Email


The year 1808 witnessed a memorable Fourth-of-July celebration in Somerset, an account of which was written at Somerset, July 9, 1808, and published a few days later in the Bedford Gazette.

The day which gave liberty to America and a nation to the world was celebrated at this place on Monday last in a manner truly patriotic; the day was ushered in by a discharge of musketry by the infantry, commanded by Captain Leeper. At 11 o’clock an oration was delivered at the court-house, by Abraham Morrison, Esq., to the general satisfaction of a large and respectable audience; after which the infantry, accompanied by a number of the citizens, marched to Pine Spring in sight of town, where they partook of a very appropriate and plentiful entertainment, prepared by a committee of the infantry. The young lads who had marched out in perfect order to martial music, to the number of sixty, dined at a second table, after which the following toasts were drank, each accompanied with a general discharge of musketry.

Seventeen regular toasts— one for each state then in the Union— were drank, entitled as follows:
"The day we celebrate"
"The memory of General Washington"
"The United States"
"The patriots who signed and supported the declaration of independence"
"The patriots of ‘76"
"The revolutionary armies of the United States"
"The constitution of the United States"
"The day that gave liberty to millions"
"The freedom of the press"
"Education to the rising youth"
"Toleration"
"The American Congress"
"The plough"
"Manufactures, agriculture and commerce"
"The mothers, wives and daughters of the heroes and patriots who effected the American revolution"
"National honor"
"The American fair— may their Domestic labors produce good patriots."

As volunteers, Capt. Leeper toasted the Somerset Infantry, and Gen. Saylor the memory of Gen. Anthony Wayne. After which the company marched to town in regular and perfect order, where the infantry performed various firings with a regularity and exactness that did them great honor. The whole proceedings were conducted with an extraordinary degree of harmony and decorum; a small band of music concluded the entertainment of the day.

(Source: History of Bedford, Somerst & Fulton Counties, PA; 1884)