ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin

     Fourth of July in Watertown, an overview

Fourth of July, 1901


Click to view complete program



Watertown Gazette, 05 31, 1901


Last Tuesday night the different committees having in charge the Fourth of July celebration met at the City hall and discussed plans in detail, and all were enthusiastic and expressed the desire to make the celebration a “whopper.”  It is proposed to have a comic or burlesque parade, in which all classes of citizens are invited to take part, to have sports of various kinds on Main streets [West Main and Main streets] and the principal side streets, and a grand illumination of the city at night, to close with a grand display of fireworks.  The meeting adjourned until 2 o’clock next Sunday afternoon at the same place, when the different committees will be ready to report on a detailed outline of that program.  Two of the best bands in the state have already been secured for the occasion, the Columbus band of 18 pieces, and the Lake Mills band of 20 pieces.  Other musical attractions may be arranged for.


Watertown Gazette, 06 07, 1901


The phantom parade and dance at 11 o’clock on the night of July 4th by the local lodge of Elks will wind up festivities of that day.  This will take place on West Main and Main streets, the entire length of the paved portion of the streets.  The Elks will be attired in white sheets and masks and will dance to the music of a brass band.  The street will be darkened for the occasion, but a various points along the line of the dance, green fire will add interest to the spectacle.  Don’t fail to see this feature of the celebration.


Watertown Gazette, 06 21, 1901


Weather permitting, the Fourth of July celebration which will be held in Watertown this year will surpass all previous events of a like nature ever gotten up in Watertown and bids fair to be the biggest event of the kind ever attempted in Wisconsin.  New features are being added until the program will include enough features to fill in every hour from morning until midnight.  The program proper will begin at nine a.m. when the visiting bands, military companies and visitors will be received at the depots and escorted to the city.  This will be followed by a concert of the bands, after which a parade will form and escort the orator to the platform. . . . In the evening a fire run will be given on Main Street by the local department, followed by fireworks and a sham a battle on the river. . . . It will be seen from the foregoing that it will be a big day in Watertown and if you want to enjoy yourself thoroughly, come early and stay all day.


Watertown Gazette, 07 12, 1901






A Fine Program Most Agreeably and Satisfactorily Carried Out

An Immense Crowd of People in Town


Fully 10,000 strangers visited our city last week Thursday to unite with our people in enjoying the big celebration prepared for them by the newspaper men of the city, who were ably assisted and encouraged in their efforts by the following named committees:



President of the Day—Mayor J. J. Brusenbach

Vice-President—President of Council H. Wertheimer

Director of Arrangements—Major G. P. Traeumer

Marshal of the Day—Dr. A. H. Hartwig

Aides-de-Camp—Oscar C. Wertheimer, Dr. O. Wolfrum




M. F. Blumenfeld, President

J. P. Holland, Secretary

J. W. Moore, Treasurer

G. W. Norris, Financial Secretary



Mayor Brusenbach

H. Wertheimer

Lieut.-Gov. Jesse Stone

C. Manz

Ex-Mayor H. G. Grube

Col. A. Solliday

Chas. Mulberger

C. H. Jacobi

Ex-Sen. Wm. F. Voss

F. E. Woodard

George W. Webb.



Max Wegemann

George Spohn

Eli Fischer

John W. Schempf

Edward Knaak

Harry Krier

G. H. Hastings

Dr. F. C. Werner



George J. Weber

C. J. Salick

W. F. Gruetzmacher

A. R. Vaughan

Fred Thies

John Bruegger



F. M. Eaton

John Chapman

G. A. Stallman



Oscar Wertheimer

Paul Thorn

C. R. Blumenfeld

Richard W. Emerson

Will Brandt

Eugene Meyer

Otto Krisch

Dr. U. N. Barber

Fred Weber

Chas. Kohn



F. M. Eaton

Carl Manz

George P. Traeumer

Edward Schempf

Otto Wegemann


The day opened bright and cheerful looking, but at about 7 o’clock a.m. the heavens began to darken and by 7:30 o'clock a heavy rain sat in and the enthusiasm of the managers of the celebration began to dampen a little, and for a time it looked as though the day would be too wet to carry out the fine program in all its details.


Before the time arrived, however, for the beginning of the program in earnest, the clouds rolled by, and the day was bright, sunshiny and hot enough to suit everybody, especially the dispensers of liquids and ice cream.


Early in the morning, and in fact all the day and evening of July 3d, crowds of people arrived in the city, and by the time of the morning parade on July 4th our streets were thronged with thousands of people, and they remained throughout the day and evening until at the close of the Elks' parade at 11 p.m., and they no doubt would have remained until early next morning had it not been for the heavy rainstorm that set in at that time, scattering them in all directions, and putting an end to further festivities.


Goddess of Liberty (Miss Clara Shasky)


At 9 o'clock a.m., members of the executive and reception committees and other officers and the German old soldiers headed by the Sinnissippi band, met visiting delegations at the St. Paul depot, coming from the east and west, including the Columbus band, and Company M, W.N.G., of Oconomowoc.  From the depot the line of march was north on 5th Street, then west on Main and West Main streets to Church Street, where the procession was re-formed by the addition of the Lake Mills band, the Goddess of Liberty (Miss Clara Shasky) in her chariot and her attendants, and the living flag composed of 200 girls under direction of Paul Thom. This was one of the finest and most beautiful attractions ever seen here, and Mr. Thorn is entitled to great credit for the manner in which he presented it.


Mayor Brusenbach, president of the day, M. F. Blumenfeld, president of the executive committee; Joseph E. Davies, orator of the day, and Rev. W. Fritzemeier, reader of Declaration of Independence occupied a carriage, and other carriages were occupied by members of the city council.


Marshal of the day, Dr. A. H. Hartwig and his aides, Oscar Wertheimer and Dr. O. Wolfrum, then took charge of the procession, with Messrs. H. Wertheimer, Carl Manz, Dr. A. Solliday, Jas. P. Holland and Jas. W. Moore leading.


The procession was loudly cheered along the line of march the "Living Flag" composed of 200 little girls attired in the national colors, representing "Old Glory" being the cause of the cheering.  This parade disbanded on Main Street fronting Racek & Jones store at the speaker's stand.  Promptly at 10:30 o'clock Mayor Brusenbach delivered a short address of welcome to our visiting friends and introduced Rev. W. Fritzemeier, the reader of the declaration of independence, and Joseph E. Davies, the orator of the day.  Mr. Davies delivered the finest 4th of July oration ever heard here, and received great applause.  It was one of the great attractions of the day and was much appreciated.  It will be found in full below.


The different sports and attractions as advertised in last week's Gazette were carried out as advertised without a hitch, and everybody was kept entertained all day long in various sections of the city.  The grand callithumpian parade [a ceremonial procession including people marching] started promptly on time from North Church, east on West Main and Main streets, south on College Avenue to Dodge Street, west on Dodge to 8th, north on 8th to Main, west on Main and West Main to North Water, north on North Water to West Cady, east on West Cady and Cady streets to North Second, south on North Second to Madison, west on Madison to Concordia opera house, where it disbanded.


The parade was an imitation of the Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill wild west parades, and created a great deal of amusement and interest.  In fact it far exceeded the expectations of everybody, and many remarked that they thought no one but a professional showman could put on such a parade.  The success of this parade is owing principally to the parade committee, and especially to Major George P. Traeumer, Carl Manz and Frank M. Eaton, who attended strictly to every detail as laid out.


The sports continued throughout the afternoon until the fire run at 8:45, led by Chief of the Fire Department Jas. Roy.  This was very exciting and was considered one of the very best ever witnessed in the state.


Then followed the fireworks on Main Street bridge, and the naval battle on the river north of Cady Street bridge.  This was in charge of the Crescent boat club, and was considered one of the very best of the day's attractions.  The boys surprised their friends very much, and all the spectators were more than pleased at their efforts.  The burning ship was especially attractive.  The day's celebration was wound up at 11 o'clock with the Elks' phantom parade, "The Flying Dutchman" being in the lead.


Rain interfered somewhat with this feature of the day's program.  The line of march was illuminated with green fire, and as the Elks attired in white robes,(skull and crossbones painted on their backs,) peaked caps, and most hideous-looking masks, paraded West Main and Main streets headed by the Sinnissippi band playing a dirge, they presented a most unearthly appearance, and it very truly represented a phantom parade in all that it implies, excepting that of course the ghosts were earthly instead of unearthly.


And thus closed one of the greatest celebrations Watertown has ever had.  It is very gratifying to the management to learn that there was not a single accident, that there was no drunkenness, that everybody without a single exception was well satisfied, and that the, donators to the enterprise felt well repaid for their contributions.  The members of the press feel gratified to all the contributors to-the enterprise, to all who assisted in carrying out the undertaking, as well as to all who encouraged them in their efforts to make the affair a success.  There are always some unpleasant experiences in managing an affair of this kind, but as the pleasure of appreciation greatly over-balances the displeasures of non-appreciation, the members of the press feel well repaid for their efforts, and rest satisfied that the public in general appreciate that they successfully carried out no small undertaking.  To all who gave assistance in this work, the members of the press return their most sincere thanks.


Below is Mr. Davies address:  [chapter on Joseph Davies]


Fellow Citizens: We have just heard read in an eloquent manner those immortal truths, whose declaration gave to the colonist’s independence, to the world a new nation, to the whole human race a new Magna Charta.


It was the adoption of this Declaration of Independence that gave this nation birth; and July the Fourth, the day when it was first formally declared to the nations of earth, has become the national fete day throughout the land.  It is the day. when in commemoration of the valiant deeds of the Revolutionary Fathers, Young America snapping his crackers and booming his cannon, burns to a crisp his enthusiasm; and quite as often his fingers.  Despite the dust, grime and noise, it is good. 


It was twenty-four hundred years ago, that an old Greek philosopher, Anaxagoras, shocked his world by maintaining the blasphemy that the sun was after all only a big red hot ball, and not the glorious Apollo driving his resplendent chariot through the heavens. For this blasphemy he was banished from Athens and, when about to die, Anaxagoras was asked, what should be done to honor his memory after death, the answer of the old philosopher was. "Give the boys a holiday.'"


Anaxagoras was a wise man, albeit, he was a philosopher.  When the Grecian peasant trudging over Thermopylae and Marathon forgot the deeds of the fathers, the beginning of the end was at hand; and I cannot but feel that so long as the noise and fire of the "Strenuous Fourth" stir the enthusiasm of the American youth there will be grounded more strongly and tempered more firmly into growing manhood the lesson of veneration for the fathers of Lexington, Valley Forge and Yorktown, and a strong regard for the principles there established, that make institutions that regard first and always the welfare of all the people.


Today is the day of days in the national calendar.  Humorist, senator and even judge of the highest tribunal in the land, all agree that he who does not do a bit of national boasting today is a man unworthy of his birth right.  And all over the country from such rostrums as these, men are today recounting the story of our independence and while wishing old Uncle Samuel many happy returns of the day, the old eagle is no doubt abused with considerable vehemence.  In many a jurisdiction today "Old Abe" is doubtless made to soar and soar and soar, until the poor old fellow is too sore to do any more soaring for a year to come.


But beneath the foam, froth and humor of it all, there is an abiding seriousness of a strong people, setting a day apart for commemoration of the great principles in which this nation was conceived; that to national understanding, national conscience, and national life, there shall come a fuller knowledge of the great truths that after all this government stands for; that while men and women may contemplate anew the blessing of a government of the people, thoughtful citizenship may appreciate more fully the dangers of a government of the people, and conceive more earnestly the duties to be done by the people, that this nation shall continue a government for all the people.


The occasion to those men who were assembled at the old State House at Philadelphia 125 years ago was anything but humorous.  The meeting was fraught with ominous seriousness.  It has well been said, "In der Unabhangigkeit-Erklaerung haben die Vertreter der 13 Staten einander Leben Eigengthum und Ehre zum pfande gesetzt zur Erkaempung der Unabhaengigkeit und der Grunsdaetze, welche die Erklaerung in so kuehner und stolzer Sprache aufstellt."


The days there spent were anxious and troubled.  It was a serious proposition as well as a piece of grim Humor, that Franklin expressed in that oft quoted epigram, "If we don't hang together, we will all hang separately."  Upon the decision in that State House depended not only their property and their lives, but the happiness of prosperity to come. 


Jefferson, with clear head and fearless mind; Henry with the eloquence that fills the eye, chills the blood, and turns the cheek pale; the same Patrick Henry, whose immortal declaration ''Give me liberty or give me death," has rung out the diapason of the ages; Washington, "the strongest of them all; Franklin's philosophy; Adams' logic: Hancock's impetuosity; all were there.


For days and nights the convention Iabored; back and forth the pendulum swung, but on the fourth day as you all know from the throes of that mighty debate there came shouted up the tiding to the old bell ringer of the State House "Ring, Ring.”  And how mightily the old bell was rung, proclaiming "liberty to all the world, and all the inhabitants thereof."


What had been debated at every town meeting, and whispered at the fireside of every merchant, mechanic and farmer throughout the colonies, had become a fact; allegiance to the mother country had been severed, a new nation had been born. All over the earth the old bell rang.  To the governed of all civilization its echoes brought new dignity and consciousness of power.  To governments it brought a fresh impulse to conscience.  To Englishmen it brought the written constitution of Englishmen across the seas, and it gave a mighty impulse to the forces that made the England of today a democratic state, all but in form.


To the rulers of earth that Declaration of Independence was the bill of rights of the human race; to tyranny over the earth it was the handwriting on the wall.  Monarchs have come to know that man too is endowed with certain inalienable rights by the Creator; and those rights today are conserved through cabinets, parliaments, and constitutional institutions throughout the civilization of the world.


Over the troubled waters of old world tyranny this declaration came like the dove from the ark, bringing tidings of a new land.  To the oppressed of all countries, to the martyrs of every creed, it brought promise of a refuge, where industry would be encouraged, where religion would be respected, where men could live free from all restraint, but that which a just government imposed upon them by just laws that were the same to all men alike.


With the prophetic eye of genius Goethe recognized the meaning of this new world. His  Faust "traeumt sich als hoechstes Glueck, ein frisch entdecktes Urland fruchtbar und bewohnbar zu machen. Er wuenseht zu oeffnen:


Raeume vielen Millionen,

Nicht sicher zwar doch thaetig frei zu wohoen.

Das ist der Weisheit letzter Schluss

Nur der verdient sich Freiheit and das Leben,

Der taeglich sie erobern muss

Und so verbringt, umrnngen von Gefahr,

Hier Kindheit, Mann and Greis sein tuechtig Jahr,

Solch ein Gewimmel moecbt ich sehen,

Anf freien Grund mit freiem Volke stehen.


The elements that came to make this new nation were the best in the national character of the old world.  Men of religious conviction strong enough to think honestly; men of political wisdom aggressive enough to speak openly and act fearlessly; men of high station and men of lowly birth, men of the peasantry with the sturdy virtues of generations behind them, with the virile ambition to better themselves and their families; men all with courage to dare and energy to do; they came to this land to make homes among the Puritan, the Quaker and the Cavalier.


From the mountains of Tyrol, from the green meadows of Ireland, from the Rhine, and from the Scottish highlands, from the crags of Cambria and the fjords of Norway, came the stalwart vigor and the strong virtue of the pioneer.  Then to the young nation came the mighty work of molding a cosmopolitan people into a compact nationality.


Not more than three generations ago into these Wisconsin wildernesses, into these oak openings and fertile valleys came a race of sturdy Germans, Celts and Puritans.  Here as everywhere the quiet unseen forces that work for national unity went on.  The free-hearted song loving German firsts shocks the severity of the New England Puritan, then writes his hymns; and the solemn words of John Knox are perchance set to the rollicking air of some good old university melody of the fatherland.  The energy of Norway and the brilliance of the Celt are tempered with Scotch conservatism and German philosophy.


Day in and day out, year in and year out, through the small trials and successes of community life, through the mighty throes for preservation in national life, these mighty forces of common interests, kinships and institutions were at work until at last from all these elements of cosmopolitan strength and virtue there was wrought a compact and homogeneous Americanism.  But a hundred years ago they came to conquer the new world.  Today they have conquered also the old.


For behold, in the race for the commercial supremacy of the world, the energy and practically of the American people have placed them in the forefront.  The American tinker has become the master mechanic of the world.  Over all the earth the genius of the American spirit wanders.


In a world competition American engineers bridge Egypt.  In the center of the world's finance, in the world's greatest metropolis, it remained for American mechanics to conceive, and American energy to dare, to revolutionize the traffic of the sensitive commercialism of the London metropolis.  American keels and American rails girdle the earth in a system of such finesse in execution and such magnitude in conception that the money changers of the world stand aghast at the daring and skill of the American financier.


Behold here at home even in our very midst; shoes for princes of the royal blood, made here in a town on the Rock; electric motors for London manufactured here in our capital city; the finest brand of -'Imported" (?) Swiss cheese, made here in our Wisconsin valleys, monster lathes for the manufacture of the Krupp guns of Berlin., cash registers for the commercial centers all over the earth, made here in our Wisconsin towns among us.


Wisconsin is but a single state in the Union.  Its history is but the history of all.  Our exports have already become the greatest of any nation in the world, and this mighty foreign trade is but a twentieth part of our interstate commerce.  Our resources practically unlimited, embracing everything but diamonds, industrial independence is assured.  In the logic of events our imports shall grow less, our exports shall continue to grow.  The meaning of all this is that a mighty balance of trade shall come streaming into our country to make our industrial and social life larger, our standard of living higher.


With a territory three million square miles, greater than all Europe barring Russia, with a wealth greater than Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Africa and South America, with a people representing the virtues of all nations, energetic, practical and homogeneous, the advanced thought of England and Germany has good reasons fox fearing as it does fear; that while they have reached the height of maturity, this young nation has its race yet to run.  Verily the fathers built better than they knew.


All this prosperity reminds one of what the old negro preacher said of his fellow blackman who in a watermelon duel had comfortably disposed of six watermelons, "Dat niger sho am in Heben," said the old man, "Dem seben melons is enough to gib him religion de rest of his nachcral life."


But with this greatness there have come also all the dangers of greatness.  While growing great and rich and strong, there is danger of having departed slowly from the principles of our fathers.  The vices of our virtues are upon us.  Industrial and business activities have induced civic apathy.  Civic apathy has too often allowed our legislatures and even halls of justice in our cities to become places for barter.  Civic apathy has too often converted a government for all the people into a dispenser of special privileges for but a few of the people.


The dangers of a foreign foe we need not fear; but if there is one way by which popular government may be overthrown most speedily and dishonored most ignobly it is that by which our public service is made the feudal retainer of greater wealth.  This is an age of tremendous capitalization in corporate form.  Consider the capitalization of the large corporations of this country, a capitalization of over ten billions of dollars; consider that one half of one per cent levied upon the stockholders of these organizations would net over five million dollars to further corporate ventures.  Consider that raising the price of sugar but one cent beyond the price that yields a just and reasonable dividend would net an illegitimate profit of over one hundred and fifty millions of dollars in but one year.  These mighty interests are not vicious in themselves . . .  [remainder of article not available on microfilm]





Table of Contents 

History of Watertown, Wisconsin