Monday, July 22, 2019

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - Flora and Zephyr by Jan Brueghel the Elder & Peter Paul Rubens, 1617

Flora and Zephyr, by Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens, 1617

The Floralia was a public festival to honor the goodwill of Flora. Created in the 6th century BC by the Romans, it took place in spring  & lasted 6 days, the last 3 days of April  & the first 3 days of May. The festival consisted of games  & theatrical performances. Chariot races  & circus games took place  & everywhere were the symbols of Flora. It was traditional to have goats & hares scampering about the landscape where flowers of lupines, beans, & vetch were scattered about. The Romans walked around holding bouquets of flowers or wore wreaths of flowers around their neck or in their hair.

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - 1482 Goddess Flora, Goddess of Flowers

Detail of Flora from Primavera by Botticelli, c. 1482

From Roman times through to the Renaissance, Flora became equally known for her ties to the natural world as for her ties to prostitution & lewd self display. In paintings she would be portrayed either as the goddess of spring surrounded by plants  & flowers with the emphasis on nature & abundance, or in contrast, as a seductive woman.

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - 16C Goddess Flora by Bartolomeo Veneto

Idealized Portrait of a Courtesan as Flora by Bartolomeo Veneto, c. 1520.j

Flora is the Roman goddess of flowers but at one time also over fruit trees, vines, & grains. Her name comes from the Latin floris, meaning flower. It is known that Flora was honored by the Sabines an old Italic tribe of the Appennines, before the founding of Rome. The Italic people celebrated her as a fertility goddess. A statue of Flora existed in Greece where she was worshiped ( & known as Chloris), prior to the time of Roman worship.

Many Roman tales portray Flora was a woman of pleasure, wealthy due to her popular occupation, who left her wealth to the Roman senate on the proviso that the money was used to celebrate her birthday. TheRoman politicians senators agreed to this donation, gave Flora the title of goddess,  & thereafter held the Floralia on her birthday.

The Floralia was a public festival to honor the goodwill of Flora. Created in the 6th century BC by the Romans, it took place in spring  & lasted 6 days, the last 3 days of April  & the first 3 days of May. The festival consisted of games  & theatrical performances. Chariot races  & circus games took place  & everywhere were the symbols of Flora. It was traditional to have goats & hares scampering about the landscape where flowers of lupines, beans,  & vetch were scattered about. The Romans walked around holding bouquets of flowers or wore wreaths of flowers around their neck or in their hair. The theatrical performances were known to be 'lewd' or 'bawdy'  & repotedly contemporary prostitutes (who were devoted to Flora) might remove their clothing when called upon.

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Friday, July 19, 2019

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - Two 17C Symbols of Flora & Flowers

Jean-Baptiste de Saive II (Flemish artist, 1597-c 1642) An Allegory of Spring at a Market Scene with a Boy offering Strawberries to Girl surrounded by Flowers

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Lucas van Valckenborch (1535-1597) Spring, 1595

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - 17C Flora by Jan Brueghel II (1601-1678) & Abraham Govaerts (1581-1642)

Jan Brueghel II, (1601-1678) and Abraham Govaerts (1581-1642) Flora Seated in a Wooded Landscape Surrounded by Flowers

Here, Flora, the ancient Italian goddess of flowers, is draped in luxurious cream & scarlet robes & contrasting with the blue landscape behind her. Set in a secluded wooded clearing filled with an astonishing variety of wild flowers, the classical subject matter blends with Flemish realism in the 2 rustic huts depicted on the hill at the right.

Flora is framed by flowers. At her left side, rests a myriad of luscious pink roses, narcissi, buttercups, violas, primroses & poppies; while on her other side, tulips & bluebells mingle together. Nestled in the lush grass next to a wicker basket overflowing with blooms are 2 small rabbits. Throughout the ages the rabbit has been a symbol of fertility & lust. Perhaps these rabbits allude to the licentious nature of Flora’s ancient Roman festival, the Floralia which was held in April & included theatrical entertainment featuring naked women.

Both Ovid & Lucretius describe the goddess Flora in their works. Lucretius, in his explanation of the origins of nature, De Rerum Natura, describes how Flora followed in the footsteps of Zephyr (the east wind) strewing his way with blossoms.1  Ovid, from whom Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) later drew inspiration for his Primavera (Uffizi Gallery, Florence), tells of Flora fleeing from Zephyr: "When he at length embraced her, flowers spilled from her lips; & she was transformed into Flora."2

Abraham Govaerts’ paintings typically incorporate mythological or biblical subjects within a mannerist landscape. Figures, in this case flowers, were often added by other artists.  Brueghel II & Govaerts frequently collaborated on works, particularly those with mythological subject matter. Govaerts arranged the landscape, & Jan Brueghel II painted the flowers. The tradition of lush flower painting was established by Brueghel II’s father, Jan Brueghel I (1568-1625).

¹ Lucretius, De Rerum Natura V.736-739.
² Ovid, Fasti V.193-214.
See original article plus more information here.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - 17C-18C Goddess Flora by Rosalba Carriera (1675-1757)

Rosalba Carriera (Italian artist, 1675-1757) Flora

Rosalba Carriera (Italian artist, 1675-1757) Flora

In Roman mythology, Flora (Latin: Flōra) is a Sabine-derived goddess of flowers - a symbol for nature and flowers (especially the may-flower). While she was otherwise a relatively minor figure in Roman mythology, being one among several fertility goddesses, her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime, as did her role as goddess of youth. She was one of the fifteen deities who had their own flamen, the Floralis, one of the flamines minores. Her Greek counterpart is Chloris.

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - 17C Goddess Flora

1685-90 Lady as Flora, by Jan van Haesbergen

In Roman mythology, Flora (Latin: Flōra) is a Sabine-derived goddess of flowers - a symbol for nature and flowers (especially the may-flower). While she was otherwise a relatively minor figure in Roman mythology, being one among several fertility goddesses, her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime, as did her role as goddess of youth. She was one of the fifteen deities who had their own flamen, the Floralis, one of the flamines minores. Her Greek counterpart is Chloris.

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - 16C Allegory of Ceres Goddess of Abundance (or Goddess Flora?)


1580 School of Fontainebleau Portrait of a Lady labeled as Ceres but looks like Goddess Flora to me...

In Roman mythology, Flora (Latin: Flōra) is a Sabine-derived goddess of flowers - a symbol for nature and flowers (especially the may-flower). While she was otherwise a relatively minor figure in Roman mythology, being one among several fertility goddesses, her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime, as did her role as goddess of youth. She was one of the fifteen deities who had their own flamen, the Floralis, one of the flamines minores. Her Greek counterpart is Chloris.

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - 18C Flora - Angelica Kauffman 1741-1807

Angelica Kauffman (French artist, 1741-1807) Flora

In Rome, her festival, the Floralia, was held between April 28 and May 3 and symbolized the renewal of the cycle of life, drinking, and flowers. The festival was first instituted in 240 B.C.E, and on the advice of the Sibylline books, she was also given a temple in 238 B.C.E. At the festival, with the men decked in flowers, and the women wearing normally forbidden gay costumes, five days of farces and mimes were enacted – ithyphallic, and including nudity when called for – followed by a sixth day of the hunting of goats and hares. On May 23 another (rose) festival was held in her honor.  Flora's Greek equivalent is Chloris, who was a nymph. Flora is married to Favonius, the wind god also known as Zephyr, and her companion was Hercules.  Flora achieved more prominence in the neo-pagan revival of Antiquity among Renaissance humanists than she had enjoyed in ancient Rome.

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - Three 18C Floras - Jean-Marc Nattier 1685-1766

 Jean-Marc Nattier (1685-1766) -  Portrait of a Woman as Flora

  Jean-Marc Nattier (1685-1766) - Henriette of France as Flora

Jean-Marc Nattier (1685-1766) - Louise Anne de Bourbon Comtesse de Charolais 1731

In Rome, her festival, the Floralia, was held between April 28 and May 3 and symbolized the renewal of the cycle of life, drinking, and flowers. The festival was first instituted in 240 B.C.E, and on the advice of the Sibylline books, she was also given a temple in 238 B.C.E. At the festival, with the men decked in flowers, and the women wearing normally forbidden gay costumes, five days of farces and mimes were enacted – ithyphallic, and including nudity when called for – followed by a sixth day of the hunting of goats and hares. On May 23 another (rose) festival was held in her honor.  Flora's Greek equivalent is Chloris, who was a nymph. Flora is married to Favonius, the wind god also known as Zephyr, and her companion was Hercules.  Flora achieved more prominence in the neo-pagan revival of Antiquity among Renaissance humanists than she had enjoyed in ancient Rome.

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - Three 17C Goddess Flora by Rembrandt 1606-1669

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669) - Portrait of Hendrickje Stofells as Goddess Flora

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669) - Portrait of Saskia as Goddess Flora

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669) - Portrait of Saskia as Goddess Flora

In Rome, her festival, the Floralia, was held between April 28 and May 3 and symbolized the renewal of the cycle of life, drinking, and flowers. The festival was first instituted in 240 B.C.E, and on the advice of the Sibylline books, she was also given a temple in 238 B.C.E. At the festival, with the men decked in flowers, and the women wearing normally forbidden gay costumes, five days of farces and mimes were enacted – ithyphallic, and including nudity when called for – followed by a sixth day of the hunting of goats and hares. On May 23 another (rose) festival was held in her honor.  Flora's Greek equivalent is Chloris, who was a nymph. Flora is married to Favonius, the wind god also known as Zephyr, and her companion was Hercules.  Flora achieved more prominence in the neo-pagan revival of Antiquity among Renaissance humanists than she had enjoyed in ancient Rome.

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - 17C & 18C 4 Goddess Flora by Nicolas de Largillierre 1656-1746

Nicolas de Largillierre (French, 1656 - 1746) - Marie Therese Bloneldharau as Goddess Flora

Nicolas de Largillierre (French, 1656 - 1746) - Portrait Of Françoise D'Escravayat, Marquise De La Barrière, As Goddess Flora

Nicolas de Largillierre (French, 1656 - 1746) - Porträt der Marquise de Gueydan als Goddess Flora

Nicolas de Largillierre (French, 1656 - 1746) - Marie Louise Élisabeth d'Orléans as Goddess Flora

In Rome, her festival, the Floralia, was held between April 28 and May 3 and symbolized the renewal of the cycle of life, drinking, and flowers. The festival was first instituted in 240 B.C.E, and on the advice of the Sibylline books, she was also given a temple in 238 B.C.E. At the festival, with the men decked in flowers, and the women wearing normally forbidden gay costumes, five days of farces and mimes were enacted – ithyphallic, and including nudity when called for – followed by a sixth day of the hunting of goats and hares. On May 23 another (rose) festival was held in her honor.  Flora's Greek equivalent is Chloris, who was a nymph. Flora is married to Favonius, the wind god also known as Zephyr, and her companion was Hercules.  Flora achieved more prominence in the neo-pagan revival of Antiquity among Renaissance humanists than she had enjoyed in ancient Rome.

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - 17C Goddess Flora

1620 Cornelis van Poelenburgh, (1594-1667) Young Woman as Flora

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - 17C Goddess Flora

Justus Sustermans (Flemish painter, 1597-1681) Vittoria della Rovere, Grand Duchess of Tuscany in an idealized portrait as the Goddess Flora

In Roman mythology, Flora (Latin: Flōra) is a Sabine-derived goddess of flowers - a symbol for nature and flowers (especially the may-flower). While she was otherwise a relatively minor figure in Roman mythology, being one among several fertility goddesses, her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime, as did her role as goddess of youth. She was one of the fifteen deities who had their own flamen, the Floralis, one of the flamines minores. Her Greek counterpart is Chloris.

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - 17C Goddess Flora

John Payne (British printmaker, fl 1620 - 1642) Flora with flowers fruits, beasts, & birds.

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - 17C Goddess Flora

Juan van der Hamen y (Gómez de) León (1596-1631) - Offering for Flora, 1627

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Monday, July 8, 2019

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - 17C Goddess Flora

Jean Leblond 1605-1666 Jeremias Falck Holding a wreath of flowers and a staff.

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - 17C Goddess Flora

1630s Claude Vignon (1593-1670)  - Goddess Flora

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Celebrating The Earth's Beauty - 17C Goddess Flora with a Rose on her Hat

Paulus Moreelse (1571-1638) - Portrait of a Young Woman as Flora 1633

Spring & Summer are the perfect time to celebrate Earth's Beauty & Bounty.  Flowers gave beauty & inspiration to mankind's basic struggle to live & to populate & to protect his home-base, The Earth.  Holding on to The Sweet Divine - The Lord God took man & put him in the Garden of Eden to work it & to keep it...You shall not pollute the land in which you live...You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people. Genesis 2:15 & Numbers 35:33-34. 

Friday, July 5, 2019

Symbols - Celebrating Independence - Already in battle, George Washington reacts to 1776 Declaration Days Later

George Washington (1732-1799) By Charles Willson Peale Dated 1772

By the summer of 1776, American & British forces had been engaged in armed conflict for 15 months. The Declaration came 442 days after the opening shots of the American Revolution at the Battles of Lexington & Concord in Massachusetts. General George Washington was Commander of the Continental Army defending New York City on July 4, 1776; when the Declaration of Independence changed the purpose & nature of that conflict. On the evening of July 9, 1776, thousands of Continental soldiers who had come from Boston to defend New York City from the British marched to the parade grounds in Lower Manhattan. Washington had ordered them to assemble promptly at six o'clock to hear a declaration approved by the Continental Congress calling for American independence from Great Britain. Only 19 years old in the summer of 1776, Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) was a face in the crowd of the Continental Army in New York City, when the Declaration of Independence was drafted, approved, & signed.

Mount Vernon tells us that Washington, like many others in the army, had been waiting for this declaration for some time. He had grown impatient with representatives who hoped for reconciliation with the mother country. To those who believed peace commissioners were on their way to the colonies to effect this reconciliation, Washington responded that the only people heading to the colonies were Hessian mercenaries. Even as his men waited to hear the proclamation read aloud to them, Washington knew that thousands of Hessians & even more redcoats were landing on Staten Island, preparing for an attack on New York.

The Continental Congress had voted for independence on July 2. Two days later on July 4, a declaration explaining the reasons for independence, largely written by Thomas Jefferson, had also been adopted.  Jefferson was credited with writing the first draft, but the "Committee of Five" actually worked on  it, including: Thomas Jefferson(1743-1826), Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Robert Livingston (1746-1813), John Adams (1735-1826) & Roger Sherman (1721-1793).  Washington received official notification when a letter dated July 6 arrived from John Hancock (1737-1793), the president of the Continental Congress, along with a copy of the declaration.

Hancock explained that Congress had struggled with American independence for some time, & even after making this momentous decision many members were worried about its consequences. He concluded that Americans would have to rely on the "Being who controls both Causes & Events to bring about his own determination," a sentiment which Washington shared.  For the commander-in-chief, who needed to lead his untrained army against Great Britain, the decision for independence came as welcome news, especially since his men would now fight not merely in defense of their colonies but for the birth of a new nation.

Washington sent out orders that all the troops should be assembled on their parade grounds at 6pm on July 9th. The parade grounds were on New York's Commons, which is very near today's City Hall. As Washington's soldiers stood ready for the brigadiers & colonels of their regiments to read the Declaration of Independence, they first heard words written by their commander. Washington explained that Congress had "dissolved the connection" between "this country" & Great Britain & declared the "United Colonies of North America" to be "free & independent states."

With hundreds of British naval ships occupying New York Harbor, revolutionary spirit & military tensions were running high. Commander Washington had the document read aloud in front of City Hall. Numerous citizens came out for the reading as well, which sparked a celebration through the streets. Part of the crowd, including many soldiers, rushed to the Bowling Green where a large equestrian statue of King George III stood. Lieutenant Isaac Bangs (1752-1780) wrote a description of the statue in his journal: “Near the Fort, is the Equestrian Statue of King George … The Man is represented about 3 feet larger than a natural Man; the Horse, in proportion, both neatly constructed of Lead gilt with Gold raised on a Pedestal of White Marble, about 15 feet high, enclosed with a very elegant Fence about 10 feet high; the enclosure was oval.” 

The 4,000 pound lead statue was torn down. The iron fence surrounding the Green had posts topped with little crowns, all of which were sawed off as well. The horse statue was cut in pieces. The crowd hacked King George's head off of the statue. After the statue was broken up, Captain Oliver Brown's (1753-1846) troops hoisted the lead pieces, except the head, onto wagons & headed for a schooner which delivered it to the foundry at Litchfield, Connecticut to be melted down & transformed into musket balls. Washington expressed displeasure at the destruction of property, writing in his diary the next day he hoped in the future people would leave this sort of thing "to the proper authorities."  Pulling down a statue of the King was a symbolic gesture indicating that the time had come to change from the rule of a monarchy to the rule of a democracy.

George Washington issued these General Orders, July 9, 1776. "The Hon. The Continental Congress, impelled by the dictates of duty, policy & necessity, having been pleased to dissolve the Connection which subsisted between this Country, & Great Britain, & to declare the United Colonies of North America, free & independent States: The several brigades are to be drawn up this evening on their respective Parades, at Six OClock, when the declaration of Congress, shewing the grounds & reasons of this measure, is to be read with an audible voice. The General hopes this important Event will serve as a fresh incentive to every officer, & soldier, to act with Fidelity & Courage, as knowing that now the peace & safety of his Country depends (under God) solely on the success of our arms: And that he is now in the service of a State, possessed of sufficient power to reward his merit, & advance him to the highest Honors of a free Country."

Washington wrote to the  Continental Congress, New York, July 10, 1776. "Sir: I am now to acknowledge the receipt of your two favors of the 4th & 6th instants, which came duly to hand, with their important inclosures. I perceive that Congress have been employed in deliberating on measures of the most interesting Nature. It is certain that it is not with us to determine in many instances what consequences will flow from our Counsels, but yet it behoves us to adopt such, as under the smiles of a Gracious & all kind Providence will be most likely to promote our happiness; I trust the late decisive part they have taken, is calculated for that end, & will secure us that freedom & those priviledges, which have been, & are refused us, contrary to the voice of Nature & the British Constitution. Agreeable to the request of Congress I caused the Declaration to be proclaimed before all the Army under my immediate Command, & have the pleasure to inform them, that the measure seemed to have their most hearty assent; the Expressions & behaviour both of Officers & Men testifying their warmest approbation of it. I have transmitted a Copy to General Ward at Boston, requesting him to have it proclaimed to the Continental Troops in that Department...If our Troops will behave well, which I hope will be the case, having every thing to contend for that Freemen hold dear, they will have to wade thro' much Blood & Slaughter before they can carry any part of our Works, if they carry them at all; & at best be in possession of a Melancholly & Mournfull Victory. May the Sacredness of our cause inspire our Soldiery with Sentiments of Heroism, & lead them to the performance of the noblest Exploits. With this Wish, I have the honor to be, etc."

Washington ordered that all Continental Army soldiers hear the document read, but the reading required sufficient copies to be made & distributed to the headquarters of the various Continental Army commands. Even with dispatch riders, the troops had to wait to celebrate the Declaration until Continental regiments in the faraway south could actually hear the momentous words. The Declaration made it to Captain Joseph Bloomfield (1753-1823) of the 3rd New Jersey Continental Regiment on July 15th. He recorded the orders of the day in his journal, which read: "The Declaration of Independency being read, the whole present signifyed their hearty & sincere Approbation by Three Cheers and cheerfully drinking the following Patriotic Toastes, Harmony, virtue, Honor and all Prosperity to the free and independent United States of America, Wise Legislatures, brave & Victorious Armies, both by Sea & Land to the American States." It took until August 5th, for the text of the Declaration to be read in South Carolina. Henry Drayton (1742-1779), in John Drayton's (1767-1822)Memoirs of the Revolution¸ stated that it was received in Charleston "with the greatest joy" by "all officers civil and military, making a grand procession in honor of the event." 

General Washington believed that the Declaration would serve as a "fresh incentive" for his men to stay committed to the fight against Great Britain. His troops were now fighting for the birth of a new nation. Washington also knew that the only countries with the motivation & the military & naval capabilities to defeat Britain were France & Spain.

While Washington & John Adams & Thomas Jefferson certainly intended to motivate the troops & the early American colonials, they also hoped that the Declaration of Independence would spur the French & Spanish to join the battle. And they did.  Comte of Vergennes (1719-1787), foreign minister of France, directed the resulting European alliance both with America & Spanish minister Conde de Floridablanca (1728-1808). The French admiral the Comte de Grasse (1722-1788) kept the British from reinforcing the usually successful British General Charles Cornwallis (1738-1805) in 1781 Virginia. And Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau, (1722-1807) commander of all French forces in America during the War for Independence, actively assisted American military leaders & troops. Washington & Rochambeau covered 680 miles of roads with the Continental Army under the command of Washington & the Expédition Particulière under the command of Rochambeau during their 1781 march from Newport, Rhode Island, through New England, Pennsylvania, & Maryland to victory at Yorktown, Virginia.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Symbols - Celebrating Independence - July 4th in a Small 19C Midwestern Town

I have not seen another account of a century's year-by-year compilation of a small mid-western American town celebrating the 4th of July in public spaces across the 1800s.  This rather amazing journey was written about 1800s Evansville, Wisconsin by Ruth Ann Montgomery.
Evansville, Wisconsin. 104 West Main  High Victorian Gothic The home of Dr. John M. Evans (1819-1903), the city’s first physician, first postmaster, first mayor, and namesake of Evansville

Evansville, Wisconsin, was settled in 1839,  by New Englanders who were attracted to the area by its pristine wooded landscape & the placid Allen Creek.
Evansville, Wisconsin.

By 1855, the city recorded its first plat and was building homes, shops, and churches.  In 1863, the Chicago and North Western Railway came to Evansville, accelerating growth. At this point, Evansville's economy was based on industry and manufacturing of carriages, wagons, pumps, windmills and iron castings. The economy was also based on agriculture: dairying; farming (production of wheat and tobacco; and stock raising.)
Evansville, Wisconsin. Seminary

In 1856, the Wisconsin Methodist Episcopal Conference reported that the Evansville Seminary was one of their new interests. The report stated that by the winter of 1856, the building was partially completed.
Evansville, Wisconsin. 103 West Main  – circa 1858 – Greek Revival

The Evansville Seminary, a high school & later a junior college, first operated by the Methodist Church and later by the Free Methodist Church, was a training institution for 100s of students.
Evansville, Wisconsin.  Downtown

By the turn of the 20C Evansville had over 1900 residents.
Evansville, Wisconsin. 128 West Main – 1863 – Italianate

The town has been celebrating the 4th of July since at least 1844, when a young Byron Campbell moved to Evansville with his family.   The first 4th of July that Campbell could remember was a Sunday School picnic in a grove of trees on South Madison Street.  At an early 4th of July celebration, Campbell & others remembered a small parade.  Children from a school in Green County & their teacher participated.  In preparation for the event, the children purchased fabric & sewed their own flag.   On the morning of the 4th, the father of one of the girls hitched a team of large oxen to a lumber wagon with a hay rack.   The wagon was decorated with green boughs.  The children & their teacher waited for the wagon at the school house.  The girls wore white dresses with red sashes & a blue bonnet.  With the wagon loaded & their homemade flag flying in the breeze, the group headed for Evansville’s parade.
Evansville, Wisconsin. 128 West Main – 1863 – Italianate

Evansville’s 4th of July celebration usually started with a gun salute at dawn.  Later in the morning there was a parade to a picnic area where a stand & seating was built for the comfort of the crowd.   For many years, the celebration was held in the grove of trees north of the home of Dr. John M. Evans, Evansville’s namesake.  His home faced West Main Street & extended to the mill pond.
Evansville, Wisconsin. 114 West Main and 120 West Main – 1893 – Picturesque

In 1870, the Evansville Review newspaper described the location as “a most delightful spot.  A stand had been erected & seats provided, but not half sufficient for the crowd assembled.  Friendly trees afforded good leaning posts besides cooling shades to compensate for the lack of seats.”
Evansville, Wisconsin. 117 West Main – 1896 – Queen Anne

Another popular location for the 4th of July activities was Leonard’s Grove, the land behind Levi Leonard’s house at the northeast corner of West Main & Second Street.  In the 1880s, the northern most portion of the land was sold to the Village of Evansville for the first park.
Evansville, Wisconsin. 44 West Main – 1881 – High Victorian Italianate

Evansville’s 4th of July parade began at 10 a.m. & often included a company of “ragmuffins” dressed as animals & birds.  The Evansville Cornet band, provided music.  The parade also included carriages carrying local dignitaries, parade marshals, men on foot & on horseback.  Following the parade was the reading of the Declaration of Independence, a three gun salute, a prayer, music, patriotic resolutions & speeches by local ministers, village trustees, & professors from the Evansville Seminary.   After the speeches, there was a picnic & each family or group provided their own food.   During the noon meal the band played & sometimes a community choir provided music.  When the picnic was done, there were games of croquet, rope swings for swinging & boat rides on the mill pond.
Evansville, Wisconsin.  Downtown

Tub races were a popular afternoon event.   The 1870 tub races were described in the Evansville Review“The tub race, which was set down at two o’clock, came off in fine style, witnessed by the whole audience, who lined the banks of the pond & crowded upon the dam to witness the sport.  The race was entered by Messrs. Gray, Hamilton & Newton, for a purse of ten dollars, & won in fine style by Mr. Gray.  The performances were exhilarating in the highest degree & carried out in fine style both by the winner & the defeated.” 
Evansville, Wisconsin. 111 West Main – American Foursquare

When the events at the picnic site & the activities at the mill pond were completed, another parade was formed to march the units back to the corner of Main & Madison Streets where the parade originated.  In the evening, there was a public dance with dinner served at the hotel at the corner of Main & Madison, followed by fireworks.    The Evansville Review described the conclusion of the 4th of July celebration in 1876, the Centennial of the Declaration of Independence:  “Noisy boys & detonating fire crackers, loungers, & snarling curs, with a drenching midnight rain closed up our Centennial Fourth.”
Evansville, Wisconsin. 137 West Main – 1886 – Home built for George Pullen (1860-1938).

Early in the spring of 1878, the Evansville Review began calling for a planning committee for the 4th of July.   “Evansville has not had a real national celebration for some years,” the Evansville Review editor complained.  “Now let this our second centennial year, 1878, be characterized with the burning fire of patriotism that will take the wings right off the old eagle & make her scream with rapturous delight.”  The call for a 4th of July celebration in 1878 was met with a good response from the community.  Several committees were formed to find speakers, organize the parade & provide other entertainment.  The Evansville Cornet Band agreed to furnish the music.  Vendors were on the grounds with food for those who did not bring a picnic.  Tub races were replaced with baseball games & glass ball shooting.  At 8 o’clock in the evening there was balloon ascension & the Evansville Fire Department demonstrated their equipment.  The owner of the Spencer House hotel held a dance & dinner.   The day was declared a success.  “In all, the crowd was the largest & the most orderly we have ever seen in Evansville on an occasion of this kind,” the Evansville Review noted in reporting the event.
Evansville, Wisconsin. Lenonard-Leota Park & Lake Leota

There was enthusiasm for continuing the annual celebrations.  It was good for local businesses & was widely supported.   In 1882, the finance & soliciting committee had no trouble raising $200 to pay for the festivities.   The hardware firm of Snashall & Mygatt & another local businessman, Charles H. Hollister were in charge of getting a cannon, powder & cartridges that could be fired during the celebration.  The committee reported that “a thing of that kind could be had in payment of cost of transportation.”  Five years later, the enthusiasm had worn down & there was no celebration in 1887, except the tolling of the church bells at midnight, as the day began.   Many sleepy townsfolk mistook the bells for fire bells, but when fully awake realized that it was the 4th of July.  With no events planned for Evansville, the local newspapers reported that a good sized crowd, 200 people, went to Janesville to enjoy the festivities.
Evansville, Wisconsin. 138 West Main – circa 1865 – Greek Revival  This home was built by pioneer settler Levi Leonard (1815-1908) who came to “The Grove” in 1840.

Evansville business & civic leaders regained their community spirit & held a celebration in 1888.  Local residents decorated their homes & yards.  The residence of C. B. Morse was declared by the Evansville Tribune, “the most beautifully ornamented for the 4th.”  However, the celebration was marred by one of the few fireworks accidents reported in the 1800s in Evansville.   A special platform had been built to shoot off the fireworks.  No one noticed that Ray Clifford, the little son of Mr. Charles Clifford, was hiding under the stand.  Ray was seriously burned by the debris from the fireworks.  There were also complaints about the cannon that the 4th of July committee had rented for the celebration.   The big gun was fired from the Church Street bridge.   Allen S. Baker reported to the weekly newspaper, the Tribune, that 36 windows were broken out of the Baker Manufacturing Co’s., machine shop & foundry.  There was no report of whether the 4th of July committee paid Baker’s for the damage.  However the Tribune said in the July 7, 1888 issue, “The cannon was an expensive luxury to our Fourth, without any pleasure or comfort to the day.  It seemed to detract from it.”
Evansville, Wisconsin. 1899

The following year, in 1889, there was no Fourth of July celebration in Evansville.   The Evansville Review reporter lamented that fifty years ago, (1839) the first settler had arrived.  “Their children & grandchildren are with us today, & it would have been a fitting tribute to their memory & patriotism could we have commemorated the event with a formal gathering.”  The Evansville Review suggested an Old Folk’s Picnic, but there was no one enthusiastic enough to volunteer to organize it.  Evansville residents had to go elsewhere to find the usual activities.  "Before you go, don’t forget to hang out the bunting & to give every boy you see a nickel to buy the fire crackers & the pop guns—young America’s emblems of patriotism,” the reporter advised.   Citizens apparently followed his advice as the next issue of the newspaper reported “Young kids kept up an incessant fusillade of firecrackers.”  In the evening some private parties set off some rockets & Roman candles for fireworks.
Evansville, Wisconsin. Elephant crossing Main Street  1898

There was a small celebration in 1890.  The main gathering took place in the park at the end of Second Street.  The Rev. E. L. Eaton delivered a lecture that lasted 1 hour & 15 minutes.   The first 45 minutes was devoted to the history of the United States & the remaining half-hour to an anti-liquor & anti-tobacco speech.   Women sold homemade ice cream to earn funds to cover the expenses of the day.  Celebrations during the 1890s were more elaborate with a planning committee starting early to plan for National Independence Day.   Local business & professional men established a finance committee to solicit donations & other named other committees to plan music & set up the stage & seating at the park.   According to reports after the event, the fireworks for the 1891, “were grand.  There were many new pieces never before seen here.”   The Episcopalians sold dinners & lemonade at the celebration & earned $26 to repair the bell on their church steeple.  In June 1894, there were plans for a street parade, floats that represented the 13 original colonies, & industrial exhibit on a float drawn by a steam locomotive, bicycle riders, a re-creation of Coxey’s army.   The marshals for the 1894 celebration represented not only Evansville, but many of the townships & villages in the surrounding area.
Cooksvillestore, just outside of Evansville, established 2 years before Wisconsin became a state

The 1898 festivities were especially patriotic as the nation was at war for the first time since the 1860s.  Evansville’s young men were being asked to serve in the United States Army for the Spanish American War.  There was a rousing send off for the young men.   The event was described in the local newspaper:  “When the band gave the notice, with some of their most patriotic music, that the boys were about to start.  A large crowd gathered upon the public square to bid them God-Speed & a safe return, but it was hard for mothers, relatives & friends to restrain their feelings & tears flowed freely, as all realized that not all of these boys would ever see their homes & friends again.”  Sixteen young men reported for duty on the same day all joined the Army & went in a group to the depot for induction.

See The Library at the University of Wisconsin here.

Symbols - Celebrating Independence - July 4th & Some Unexpected 19C Results

This chronology offers a glimpse at how The 4th of July was celebrated with sometimes tragic results in 19C America.  Some of these celebrations turned into unexpected calamities.

William P. Chappel (1800-1880) Tammany Society Celebrating the 4th of July, 1812, 1869

1815- In New York, a group of "patriotic tars" tries to "haul down the British colors" but they are dispersed by the police.

1831- Fourth of July celebrations near Washington DC, going nearly unnoticed, A tribe of Pequoad indians celebrate the Fourth of July with a series of war dances at a wigwam, south of Alexandria, Va.


1837 Cartoon of a 4th of July celebration

1840  In Portsmouth, N.H., a large pavilion erected in the form of an amphitheatre for 4th of July celebrations collapses throwing nearly a 1,000 people to the ground, resulting in many injuries but no deaths.

1841 At Parrott's Woods, near Georgetown (D.C.), the speaker's platform collapses, throwing celebraties D.C. Mayor William W. Seaton, George Washington P. Custis, and others dignitaries to the ground, but no one is injured.

1843- In Poughkeepsie, N.Y., a church burns to the ground as a result of a firecracker "carelessly thrown by a boy."

1845- In Washington, D.C., on the grounds south of the Executive Mansion, 12 rockets are accidentally fired into the crowd, killing James Knowles and Georgiana Ferguson and injuring several others.   In Ithaca, N.Y., 3 persons are killed by an exploding cannon.

1853-  Some 500 residents of Baltimore go on an excursion to Annapolis, MD., and while there, some of them fight with a group of Annapolitans resulting in 2 persons killed, and several injured.

1854-  The mayor of Wilmington, Delaware, is mobbed by a group of angry citizens after putting City Council member Joshua S. Valentine in jail for setting off firecrackers.

1855- In Worcester, Mass., angry citizens demonstrate against the city officials there who had refused to fund the town's Fourth of July celebration; in Columbus, Ohio, a parade of firemen, Turners and other societies, turns into a huge riot, resulting in one dead and several injured.

1856- The first Fourth of July celebration "west of the Big Woods" in Minnesota occurred and consisted of a bear hunt by several hunters. No report of any bears being killed or maimed.

1857- In Boston at the Navy Yard, the frigate Vermont is set on fire when "a wad" from an artillery salute "was blown on board of the hull"

1858-  At Niagara Falls, N.Y., at the celebration of the opening of the hydraulic canal, the dam gives way and water floods the area, but no one is critically injured.
Alfred Cornelius Howland (American painter, 1838-1909) Fourth of July Parade

1860- In Jamestown, N.Y., the Museum Society, made up of children between the ages of 10 and 15, take charge of the celebration there, because most of the adults are not in town, but in Randolph, N.Y., celebrating without their children.

1863-  In Gettysburg, Pa., as the Rebel troops are making their escape from the great battle just fought there, when someone throws firecrackers among the ambulances carrying the wounded and causes a stampede of the horses and panic among the troops. 

1864- Secretary of State William Seward, riding in a carriage celebrting the 4th, narrowly avoids fatal injury when a rocket, set off by a young boy, strikes him above his eye.

1866- One of the worst fires ever to occur on Independence Day takes place in Portland, Maine, the blame was placed on an errant firecracker.

1867- In Washington DC, two members of the House of Representatives are arrested for violating a city ordinance prohibiting the setting off of firecrackers in the public streets. And a freight train carrying a "large quantity of fireworks" on route to a celebration in Springfield, MA derails near Charleston and the train is completely wrecked.

1868-  In Groton, Mass., the Lawrence Academy, is destroyed by fire due to a firecracker "thrown on the piazza by a boy." In Buffalo, NY, St. John's Episcopal Church burns to the ground due to a rocket that exploded in its spire.

1870-  In Marysville, Pa., at a picnic held by black military companies, a riot ensues with several persons shot.

1875- Several blacks and possibly one white are killed when a fray erupts at a Fourth of July celebration held at the Court House in Vicksburg, Miss.

1876- In Hamburg, South Carolina, an incident results in a massacre of African-Americans occurs.

1880- The first Fourth of July celebration held in Uintah County, Utah, occurs and "only eight men and women were present."

1884- In Swan City, Colorado, angry miners blow up the town's Post Office, because they are not supplied with fireworks.


July 4th Parade with Goat Cart - Hayne Street in Monroe, NC

1893- In the Battery in New York, a gunner is put under arrest for inaccurate counting of a 21-gun national salute in which 23 rounds were fired.

For much, much more on July 4th celebrations, see:
The Fourth of July Encyclopedia by James R. Heintze (2007)