Postcards: Not much has changed in Fourth festivities

By Linda Emley

Since the Fourth of July is only a few days away, I decided to visit a year from our past and see what was going on around town. I opened up the 1914 Missourian and found a few stories that could have been written today and a few more that were tales of the good old-days.
“COME HERE THE 4TH and spend a day of real recreation and pleasure. Many visitors are expected to take a part in Civic Improvement Club’s Grand Celebration. You are cordially invited to spend the Fourth of July in Richmond – and attend the big picnic at the Zuklin Park in the southeast part of town, which is to be given under the auspicious of the Civic Improvement Club.
“Forget the cares of life for a day and come here and meet your neighbors and friends, eat a good old-time picnic dinner in the woods, listen to eloquent orators, hear some fine music and enjoy a days outing.
“Bring your families and invite your neighbors and don’t forget those baskets filled to the top with good things for the big feed at noon.
“The Richmond gun club will have a public shoot, there will be an interesting ball game in the afternoon, prominent speakers will be present and the band music will last throughout the day.
“The Civic Club has been assisted by the town’s businessmen in making the 1914 Fourth of July celebration the best that has ever been held in the town. The array of amusements will interest people of all ages and a great crowd from all sections of Ray County is expected to come to Richmond on Saturday and celebrate.
“Let us trust that our honorable mayor will order and make safe for a ‘safe and sane Fourth’ that no home need to be darkened because of damaging accidents. Let every citizen stand up strong with Mayor Hubbell in this connection.
“In passing let it be hoped that The Civic Club will add a visiting nurse in the emergency hospital that they have already established, that be expert and may ever bepresent and that the homes of the poor may be reached alright. Who approves the suggestion?
“Finally remember Independence Day and celebrate it in Richmond – you will be glad of the coming, you will be better off because of this patriotic holiday. Welcome to each and every one. Let the Glad Hand Be Extended. May old fashioned Hospitality preva!”
This celebration sounds a lot like the one we had in Richmond last Friday night except for the part about “eloquent orators,” “visiting nurses” and bringing your own food. I find it amusing that many of these old-time events lasted all day and you were never advised what time the party was going to start. I guess everyone just showed up and spent the whole day.
I found a really interesting ad in the 1914 newspaper. “COOL FOOTWEAR FOR THE FOURTH. Now for the great and glorious Fourth. Every loyal member of Uncle Sam’s large family is supposed to celebrate in some way either by keeping quiet or by making a noise. In either way you’ll want your faithful feet to be cool and comfortable. How about your shoes for the Fourth? Don’t you need something cool in the way of Oxfords, Pumps, Outing Shoes or easy shoes of some sort? Patents, Gun metal, black satin and white canvass pumps and Oxfords. Shoes for Men, Women and Children. Some of the styles have rubber soles and heels. We’re everything that is good in summer footwear.”
The shoes ranged from $2 to $5 and you could call them at phone number 158 with your questions. They offer a variety of colors, but you sure wouldn’t find any sandals in William Marshall and Sons shoe store.
My favorite part of this ad was the comment about everyone would either be “keeping quiet or making a noise.” Yes, I think that still applies today.
There were two stories in this newspaper about upcoming items that are still a very big part of our everyday life.
The first one was, “Daily News Plant sold. The plant of the Richmond Daily News was sold by the trustees of the Ray Publishing Company on Saturday afternoon to the highest bidder. Mr. John E. Prickett, former editor of that paper, was here from Kansas City and had charge of the sale. The highest bid was that Mr. Geo. A. Trigg will commence the publishing of a newspaper here in the not far distant future.”
I was happy to find this story but then I realized it proves that I was wrong about the date the Richmond Daily News started. We might have to dig a little deeper to prove our claim to fame, “The Voice of Ray County since 1914.”

Have a Fourth of July memory or old photo for Linda? You can contact her at

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