The first Fourth of July
celebration at Blue Springs, Nebraska was held in 1859. For two
months before the holiday everybody who passed was invited to
come to the celebration and bring his skillet.
A committee of three
was appointed to catch catfish for three weeks prior to the celebration.
By the Fourth, these men had over 1000 pounds of big catfish
penned up in the mouth of a nearby creek; stakes had been driven
across the creek above and below, to form a pen.
Another committee of three, built a brush canopy and secured
boards at the sawmill for a forty-foot table and a dance platform.
A large pile of logs was gathered from the timber for fuel. The
promoters sent to Brownsville, 80 miles away, for a two hundred
and fifty pound hog, which furnished an abundance of lard to
fry the fish. A corn crusher was improvised of sheet iron. There
was much good corn bread though the meal was not grated fine
nor bolted. There was a sumptuous feast of catfish and corndodger,
with a little white bread, which a few had bought for dessert.
On the afternoon of
the third, people began to come. By the next day there were one
hundred and fifty people. They came walking, riding in ox wagons
and any way they could get there. The ladies were dressed in
sunbonnets and plain dresses. There was one silk dress in the
whole crowd; some of the men were barefoot.
The flag was run to the top of a seventy foot pole; the Declaration
of Independence was read and after a sumptuous repast had been
served, the fiddles; brought from over an area of eighty miles;
were tuned up and the dance began. This lasted until broad daylight
of the fifth; when the settlers wended their way back to their
lonely homes, thinking of the bright event, the oasis in the
desert of a dreary frontier.
Taken from The Sod House Frontier
by Everett Dick
The drawning of Blue Springs in 1860 was published with Robert
Wilson's obituary in 1919. The large trading post building was
located on the northeast corner of Hazen and Main Street.