This page part of chapter on series of annual Homecoming Days
Home-Coming Day a Great Success
Plan for Homecoming
04 23 There was an enthusiastic meeting of citizens last Monday evening at the office of the Watertown Grain Co. and plans were made for the 1909 homecoming celebration, which will be on Saturday, July 31st and Sunday, August 1st. The Thirty Year Club will hold its annual meeting here on the former date. The following officers and committees were appointed:
Vice President—Max G. Kusel
Secretary—John J. Brusenbach
Corresponding Secretary—Emil Tanck
Treasurer—H. G. Grube
Vice Presidents by wards—John Schatz, Edward L. Schempf, Otto A. Wegemann; S. Molzahn, Charles Lutovsky, T. F. Shinnick; Ferd. Schmutzler, Charles Mulberger, M. J. Burke; William Hartig, R. M. Hahn, Charles E. Straw; William Schimmel, Edmund J. Seifert, J. C. Seager; William F. Voss, John L. Kehr, F. C. Hartwig; C. A. Vaughan, Louis Knick, Frank Kalina.
Executive committee —Mayor Arthur Mulberger, Theodore Zick, Garret M. Gahlmann.
Publicity committee —J. P. Holland, P. H. Swift, Otto R. Krueger, James W. Moore.
Decorating committee—Eugene Meyer, Fred. G. Keck, C. A. Comstock, Henry Scheplak, Joseph Raue.
Amusement committee—G. J. Nichols, O. C. Wertheimer, W. E. Brandt. WG
Homecoming Day, 1909 assumed, C & NW Railroad Depot
06 18 The Watertown Thirty Year Club. [Office of the Secretary, Minneapolis] July 31st and August 1st the generous people of Watertown are going to give a homecoming celebration and invite us to all be on hand . . . There will be reunions, receptions, picnics, parades and altogether a good time. The beacon fires will be lighted on the hill tops welcoming us back once more. We can’t live but once and look at the old Rock River where we used to fish for perch and red horse, Boomer’s dam, the old flat rock swimming hole, Main Street, and a lot of other familiar places will do us more good than a trip to the Falls of Niagara.
Bring the boys and girls; they will never forget the trip and besides dear old Mother Watertown wants to see her children again and is getting ready to see us, so remember the old home. Remember the old days when we roamed her streets, care free were we. Then members of the Thirty Year Club, attention, left dress, steady, forward march, on to Watertown. WG
07 23 There will be plenty of music on Homecoming Day. Two local bands of music, the Watertown Military Band and Imperial Band will be supplemented by the Veteran’s fife and drum corps of Milwaukee, a famous organization which has played at all the Grand Army of the Republic gatherings for many years. In their letter of acceptance to the officers of the Homecoming Club, one of the members, Ed. Aldridge, writes as follows, showing the proper spirit:
Milwaukee, Wis., July 18, 1909.
Mr. H. Wertheimer
Dear Sir: Your kind letter of July 15, accepting my proposition received. You can rest assured that we will be on hand at the appointed time Sunday morning, August 1.
We will give you the finest fife and drum music you have ever heard. Now we want to be on hand bright and early Sunday morning, August 1st, so would you have any objection if we came by railroad? I don’t know anything about the new electric road to Watertown. I am afraid it being Sunday the cars will be so crowded that they won’t make very good time. Now we will be entirely at your service from the time we get there until any hour of the night. If you have any program mapped out for us kindly let me know what it is so that I can keep posted. We are going to play at a large gathering in Racine next Sunday, so if you have any buttons or badges or advertising matter of any kind, send them along, and we will boost the Watertown Homecoming all we can, and if you can suggest any way that we might do you some good here in the city we are willing to aid you all we can. We expect to make one or two turnouts here in the city before August 1st.
Thanking you for accepting my proposition, I beg to remain,
Very truly yours,
Plans are under way for handsome street decorations and there will be something doing on Saturday evening, July 31, which will include an illuminated parade, while on August 1st there will be additional amusements for the large gathering at Tivoli Island. The publicity committee has issued 2100 invitations which have been sent broadcast all over the country. WG
07 30 A Fine Program Arranged and a Large Attendance Assured
The local committees have all arrangements completed for Home Coming on July 31st and August 1st, and weather permitting, Saturday and Sunday next will be red-letter days for Watertown in the Home Coming line, for hundreds of people all over the United States have sent word they will be here to join in the reunion. They are coming from nearly every state in the union and many who have no friends or relatives here with whom they can stay have telegraphed for quarters at the hotels.
James Nellins, of Minneapolis, secretary of the 30 year club, has received many letters from members of this club, a few of which we publish below:
My Dear Sir:
Your invitation to be present at the Old Settlers’ meeting at Watertown, August 1st, has been received and in answer would say that I expect to be present and to bring my brother, Hon. R. B. Basford of Winona with me. He was also an old citizen of Watertown. I was at Watertown last year in October and learned about their annual meetings and think it a most pleasant and good thing. Hoping the meeting may be a success this year again,
I am yours truly,
H. O. Basford, Austin, Minn.
P.S.—I make my home in Denver, Colo., with my son but come here summers to look after my business property. I remember you in the years that have passed.
Dear Friend Nellins:
Your letter of recent date received and in answer will say that if nothing turns up bigger than a chipmunk, I will be in good old Watertown on the 31st day of July—with my hair in a braid.
I expect this year to be accompanied by Mrs. Z. and my sister, Mrs. McCresker, who resides at Oshkosh.
Until we meet at Watertown,
Very truly and fraternally,
F. C. Zemlika
My Dear Friend:
You can bank on yours truly being with you at the homecoming in dear old Watertown.
W. H. Schaller, Chicago
My Dear Jimmie:
I am eligible for membership in your Thirty Year Club, I think, thereby apply for admittance. My parents settled in Watertown March 17, 1862. I moved from Watertown to Sparta, Wis., December 14, 1872. Could prove the above statement if a man named James Nellins was alive. He was our next door neighbor for many years, and a good one he was.
Joseph McCabe, Providence, R.I. . . . WG
08 06 Home-Coming a Great Success Watertown Gazette
Watertown on Saturday and Sunday welcomed over 4000 of its former sons and daughters to the old hearthstone, made warm and comfortable for the 7th annual homecoming. As each recurring homecoming anniversary is held, it is noticeable that the interest, instead of flagging, grows, and citizens of this, one of the gems in the crown of Wisconsin’s up-to-date cities, vie with each other in extending a warm welcome to the residents of former days who make the yearly pilgrimage to the home of their childhood.
There is a bond of sympathy between former residents of Watertown who annually assemble here that is nothing if not fraternal. The sun had barely appeared on Sunday before the entire town was up and doing. Bands of music met thousands of visitors and returning wanderers at the railway depots and the many electric cars that were loaded to the guards with the returning wanderers.
Main Street was a riot of colors, each business man trying to outdo the other with displays of Japanese lanterns, flags, bunting and every conceivable artistic effect that the mind of the decorator could suggest, seconded by the able efforts of Eugene Meyer, chairman of the decoration committee.
Then there was the Thirty-Year Club, which only includes former residents of Watertown who have been away for 30 years or more. At a meeting of the club Sunday morning all the old officers were re-elected as follows: President, John Bruegger, Williston, N. D.; vice-president, William G. Steger, St. Louis, Mo; secretary-treasurer, James Nellins, Minneapolis.
Mr. Nellins read his annual report. It shows the club to be in a prosperous condition, and on Sunday many new members were added. The secretary’s enthusiastic work puts vim and life into the organization, and his re-election is heartily endorsed by everybody.
At 2 o’clock the big parade started with four bands in line. The parade was made up of the German soldiers organization, local labor organizations, members of the Thirty-Year Club, citizens and prodigal sons. The “big doins” was at Tivoli Island. With a fan-fare of trumpets and the boom of the big bass drum the triumphant procession marched through the leafy bowers of this beautiful island surrounded entirely by Rock River water, and then it rained.
Mayor Arthur Mulberger made a clever speech of welcome and ducked from under the rain to introduce Judge George Grimm of Jefferson, who held the dripping multitude spellbound in a half-hour speech noted for its eloquence, words of good cheer and fraternalism. It was one of the judge’s best efforts and was enthusiastically received.
The entire program scheduled for the afternoon at the island could not be carried out on account of the storm that set in, but that did not detract from the success of the celebration and the pleasure of many reunions. All said they were glad they came—the rain was badly needed, and all guests returned to their homes in the various parts of the country feeling well repaid for their visit.
The order of the afternoon parade was as follows:
Homecoming Club Officers
Veteran Fife and Drum Corps
G. A. R.
Watertown Military Band
Watertown Krieger Verein
Speaker in Carriage
Local Unions—First Division
Local Unions—Second Division
Richwood Juvenile Band
The Boy’s Band of Richwood, attired in white duck suits, was the center of attraction. Frank McCall has charge of these little fellows and he has reason to feel proud of them.
History of Watertown, Wisconsin