On the 8th day of March 1877 at a regular meeting for drill and other purposes, the Salem Rifles determined to make arrangements for celebrating in a patriotic manner the one hundred and first anniversary of our national Independence and at once set about appointing committees to select grounds, make out a programme of proceedings, &c. The committee to select grounds, at the next meeting day of the company, reported that Mr. Hosea Porter had kindly consented to let them have the free use of his beautiful little grove, which was of easy access and abundantly supplied with water.
The Cycles of time in their gradual revolution brought the 4th of July to hand, and the company was busy in making preparations. They erected stands for speakers, benches for the accommodation of visitors, and a booth to dispense refreshments, and patriotic ladies of Salem volunteered to beautify the grounds by appropriately decorating them. In the meantime the proper committees were all at work in their separate capacities, to make the occasion pleasant to all; securing the service of Newton's Cornet Band, from Dexter City, to enliven the time with good music, and everything "went merry as a marriage bell."
The 4th approached. On the 3d the parched earth was called upon to drink in a copious rain, which to many seemed ominous of a wet 4th, but the glorious orb of day was resplendent on the morning of the 4th, and the beautiful morning was only the fore-runner of a more beautiful day.
At nine o'clock the company formed under the command of Liet. Lindamood, receiving his orders from Lieut. Hallett, officer of the day, and marched to the grove, followed by a gorgeously uniformed troop of Callithumpians, whose laughable antics contributed much to the amusing part of the celebration. Capt. M. C. True, of the Rifles, and a member of the reception committee, proceeded to the station to receive a detachment of the Marietta Zouaves - 25 in number - under the command of Lieut. Asa Beach, and escorted them to the edge of the grove, where Dr. G. W. Blake, in behalf of the Rifles, welcomed them, and preceded by the Dexter Band, escorted them to seats in front of the stand.
Mr. H. Kilmer was appointed President upon the stand, and Dr. Blake in a neat little speech, extended on the part of the Rifles a cordial invitation to every one present to enjoy themselves to the fullest extent, which invitation was literally accepted, every one seeming to enter into the occasion with full zest.
Addresses were delivered by W. F. Wire, F. P. Ames, Sydney Ridgeway, and Mr. Mulhane of the Marietta Zouaves.
The Declaration of Independence was read by Mr. Wire. Declamations by Perry Moore, Miss Parker and others. Thus was celebrated in a good old fashioned, comfortable, pleasant manner, the 101st anniversary of American Independence. The sham battle in the afternoon was an important feature of the day.
Not a single unpleasant thing occurred to mar the pleasure of anyone, as the Rifles were determined that no disorderly persons should remain upon the ground. The company was successful at their refreshment stand adding some dollars to the company fund.