Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Centennial Tea Party

The Marietta Register, February 24, 1876

As all expected it would be, the celebration was a success.  The attendance was over a thousand, and all entered into the spirit of the occasion with zest.

There were for the relic room ladies dressed to represent the thirteen States, and the 1776 dining room was furnished with the table ware of early families of distinction.

We give some notes on the Centennial Celebration, taken hurriedly and made brief, because of the late hour and want of space.

1776 Room

Beginning here, we can not more than make mention of a few of the many relics of distinguished association in the earlier times.  We were surprised, on entering, at the extent of the collection.  To a lover of the rare and ancient, a visit to this room was worth a long journey.  Some of the articles were like the following:

A fine cane, presented by Gen. La Fayette to Mr. Nahum Ward, in Paris, in 1823.
A powder horn, presented by Burr to Blennerhassett, the property of John M. Hook.
A horn spoon, that will hold a pint, 100 years old.
Specimens of Continental currency paid Stephen Devol for building sentry boats.
An English watch, 120 years old, by Mrs. Iams.
A Bible of 1681.
A commission, signed by Gen. Washington, now in the Olney family.
Watch fobs and fancy articles of cloth, 100 years.
Silver ladel and spoon, by H. L. Nye, in use since 1760.
Gen. Artemus Ward's pistols, used in the Revolutionary War. Flint locks, of course.
A brace also used by Gen. Putnam.
Linen bed curtain, spun by Mrs. Gov. Meigs, in 1796.
Sword, hat and gloves, worn by Col. David Green, at Bunker Hill.
Silk dress, brought from England, in 1790, exhibited by Mrs. Theo. Scott.
Linen spread, the property of Maj. Thos. Stanley, 1780.
Corset made in 1765, by Miss Rose Jennings, afterward Mrs. Stephen Devol.
A piece of embroidery of 1700, exhibited by Mrs. Ralston, made by her grandmother's grandmother, Mrs. Sloan.
Tables, stands, chairs, &c., of Blennerhassett.
Oil painting of the Stockade or Campus Martius.
A dress, worn by Mrs. Harvey Kilmer 50 years ago, the age of which is not known.
A spinning wheel and reel, on which Mrs. Gov. Meigs used to spin, the property of Miss Daphne.
Oil portrait of Gen. Nath. Greene.
Ancient table ware in profusion, many of which were the relics of Paul Fearing.
The ancient patterns of candle stand, in a city supplied with gas, were a curiosity.
In this room Mr. Bennet, the artist, exhibited portraits, or rather copies of ancient ones.
A map of Federal Creek, 1790.
A painting representing the first Court in the Northwest Territory.
Lock and key of the first jail in Ohio.
Mrs. E. Tenney exhibited a warming pan, an instrument not much seen now-a-days.
A portrait of Mary Dana Emerson.
Old American dollar.
New Jersey penny.
Convex and concave mirrors.
Ancient documents too tedious to mention.
Diary of Col. David Green, 1770 to 1777, and of his son from 1781 to 1802.
An original picture of Gov. Meigs, taken while he was Governor, and presented to Mrs. Wm. Warren, in 1823, by Mrs. Meigs.
A book, the first sermon preached in New England, by the Hon. Judge Foster.
Facsimile of Gen. Washington's account current with the United States.
Stays worn by the grandmother of Mrs. Scott in 1776.
A quilt of Irish linen, stuffed with wool, by Mrs. Scott, made in 1660, brought here by Sarah Alcock, in 1790.
A military coat, presented by La Fayette to Gen. Putnam.
A saw, exhibited by Mary A. Hovey, used by her grandfather, a sea captain, before and during the Revolution.
Two oil paintings 50 years old, the portraits of the father and mother of J. S. Sprague.
The original deed of the Island, given in 1786, by Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia, to Blennerhassett, now in the possession of Mrs. Wm. Pitt Putnam.

The 1876 room was of course what all would expect.  It was modern in appearance.  There was not on exhibition the telegraph, engine, mower, reaper, street car, daily paper, railroad, or any of the business features of the age, but fair women, the work of their fair hands, the imagination of their pure minds, all arrested the attention of the visitor, and pleased the average citizen of good taste, quite as well as anything found across the hall.  There was but room for the exhibition of art, and this was confined to fine art.  There were some forty oil paintings, all done by the ladies young and old, of Marietta.  Many of these received much praise.  Modern photography was well represented by Mr. Cadwallader.

The dining room was furnished with a bill of fare on the "European plan," and "cash boys" and "girls" waited on the cashier for change.  Some of these features were carried out as well as could be expected, considering the hungry crowd.

At a little before 8, the entire company repaired to the audience room above, where the Old Folks concert and Tableaux were to take place.  The stream poured in, and soon filled the Hall, gallery and all.  The announcement that Beman Gates would have the concert in charge was a guaranty of a good programme.  The tableaux were very good, and gave great satisfaction.  In some, the costumes were especially attractive.  The Lady Washington reception was very fine indeed.  Here let us mix our account to the extent of stating that one of the chief features of the afternoon and evening in the 1776 room below was the reception by General and Martha Washington and sister.  The modern Washington looked enough like Gen. George to be his baby brother.

For the concert, the programme was ancient in appearance and style.  The elections were patriotic and hymnic.

Mr. Gates' voice was hailed above all the rest by many a listener, as a sweet echo from the land of old.  A friend, by whom we stood, said "it's twenty years since I heard Gates, and his voice comes to my ear like an old friend."  The singers all did well.  Their rehearsals were few, yet Marietta can get up a chorus on bugle call that will entertain any audience.  Some of the singers were in costume, and the chignons, worn after the style of ye grandmothers, put all the foolishness of modern styles in the background.

Jacob Mueller played the bass viol, his son Louis and Capt. Regnier the violins.  On Auld Lang Syne, Regnier led off on ye horn.  Besides this feature, the music and manner was more of the Old Folks' style.

The sentiment of the evening was calculated to make the old folks happy; and they were.  Gray heads dotted the audience everywhere, and the stillness that prevailed gave some indication of the interest the songs created.  As "Oft in the stilly night" was sung, a friend leaned toward us and asked, "Does your recollection go back to that?  Mine does."

When the melody of another tune chained the audience, a veteran, with white locks, whose recollection goes back three score years, kept time by the motion of his body.  Turning round, he said, "That was my mother's favorite tune," and with it came the words to his mind, on which her voice, though silent for long years, came again as a sweet inspiration, and he quoted in our ear:
                     "Oh, sing to me of Heaven,
                          When I am called to die;
                      Sing songs of sweetest ecstasy
                           To waft my soul on high."

The evening was spent all in the most delightful manner.  If the Quintette Club, with all its art, entertain an audience so well next week, it may consider itself complimented highly.

The receipts of the day and evening were something like $400.  The women may safely be trusted to dispose of it; still we cannot pass the occasion to express the hope that it may not all be sent to Philadelphia.

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