Decoration Day Celebrations 1883

The following news article is transcribed (with misspellings) below:1

Flowers for Dead Hereos.


How It Was Observed in This Vicinity Yesterday — The News From the Surrounding Towns and Cities.

Bright stars for the country’s glory,
And stripes for the nation’s weal,
A song of the gallant story,
Of cannon and of steel;
For the heart oppressed with sorrow,
Let a tender prayer be said,
But love will ever borrow
Fair flowers for the hero dead.

The custom of decorating the graves of deceased soldiers, although perhaps not observed with equal ferver in this city this year, was carried out with even more than usual favor and enthusiasm in surrounding towns and cities; especially is this true of Buffalo and Rochester. The reports from the different towns of this county also indicate that Memorial Day was well remembered, and that the brave boys, whether they marched in blue or in gray, who now sleep beneath the green sod, were each covered with a mantle of flowers by the loving hands of those who can never forget.


The day, while observed by no formal parade or oration, was yet fully as acceptably and sincerely commemorated by the members of Sprout Post, who were able, thanks to the kind donation of flowers from a number of patriotic ladies, and the donation of a large number of small flags by Mr. A. I. KNOWLES, to suitably mark and decorate the last resting places of the retired veterans, whose names were published in the JOURNAL of Tuesday. They also very appropriately and tenderly spread their floral offerings upon the grave of Lieut. W. Q. MOSES at Cold Springs, who was formerly an officer if the confederate army.

No exercises were held in the afternoon at Cold Springs, owing to the rain.


Decoration day passed off with a military display, flags at half mast, etc. The weather was rainy part of the day. A majority of large places suspended business at noon. The orator of the day was Rev. W. S. HUBBELL.


decoration day was appropriately observed. The attendance was large at the exercises and Senator PITTS delivered an able and appropriate address. The people of Albion always have well remembered the noble deeds of the men they sent to the front, and annually strew with flowers the graves of the fallen heroes.


quite an extensive celebration of Memorial day occurred yesterday, under the auspices of the Grand Army Post, the music for the parade being furnished by the Newfane cornet band assister by Messrs. MONTFORD and GLASSFORD of this city. A find original poem was delivered by Mrs. Dr. GILBERT, and the oration of the day, which was an eloquent one, well delivered, was by the Rev. Mr. ACKERMAN. The attendance was large at the cemetery where the exercises occurred.


Decoration day was solemnized by Scott Post 129, G. A. R., Col. GOODRICH commanding. At sunrise minute guns were fired. The streets presented a gay appearance. Many business places and private residences were decorated with flags and bunting, and there was a profusion of flowers. At 10 o’clock the Post met in Kent’s Hall, their armory, and a very large audience assembled to hear the orator of the day, the Rev. Wm. ALFRED GAY, who delivered a masterly and appropriate address. The Niagara quartette assisted by the different church choirs rendering some fine music. At 11:30 all the veterans repaired to the basement where a bountiful repast was served by the ladies of the Scott Post G. A. R., society. At 12:30 P. M. over 75 old veterans marched to the public square and were divided in squads with a wagon load of flours for each squad. The visited twenty-five different cemeteries when the graves of the fallen heroes were decorated.


One year ago yesterday the graves of the six fallen heroes in Chestnut Ridge cemetery were decorated by Miss MARION FLAGLER. It was suggested at that time by the JOURNAL that young ladies living in the vicinity of cemeteries where no Grand Army posts were organized, containing the graves of our noble dead, organize societies for the purpose of each Memorial day strewing the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers, and a pretty custom it would be, too. This year Miss MARION and Miss MARY FELLOWS formed themselves into an association and decorated the graves of those six fallen heroes with wreaths, bouquets, etc. It is to be hoped that recruits may be added to them next year, and that the same may be done in other like places.


there was no formal parade, but at 2:30 o’clock there was a large concourse of people assembled at the opera house to listen to the following program: Prayer by Rev. W. B. BANDOLPH, singing by a large choir composed of members from the several churches, an address by Professor S. A. WHITCOMB.

“The Star Spangled Banner: was then sung by the choir, after which Dr. J. D. WARREN read an original poem entitled “In memory of the gallant brave who fought and bled for a nation’s cause.” The exercises closed by singing “America.” During the afternoon a drizzling rain set in and marred somewhat the original program. A few of the members of Barnes Post proceeded to Boxwood and St. Mary’s cemeteries in carriages and over each grave, decorated by the veterans, an iron shield was placed in the ground in which the colors of a miniature flag, which the sleepers so fervently loved and for which he so bravely fought floated to his memory.


Notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather the day was observed in a becoming manner. Gen. A. W. BISHOP of Buffalo was the orator of the occasion. His speech was a masterly effort. The graves of fallen comrades were decorated by a detail consisting of members of the Grand Army Post, and the friends of the deceased heroes.

The oration was delivered by Hon. Wm. RUMSEY of Bath. At the conclusion of Judge RUMSEY’S address, Lieut. SHERMAN D. RICHARDSON read a poem, entitled “The Soldier’s Day.” The Buffalo City Guard Cadet Corps, Capt. W. H. CHAPIN, were present and attracted considerable attention by their fine appearance and soldierly bearing.


Decoration day was observed by the Sidney C. Hayes Post, G. A. R., No. 258.

The John Hodge Band from North Hartland arrived, and after some music, the procession formed and marched to the cemetery, led by the band, which played a dirge. After the white-clad girls decorated the graves of the deceased comrades the procession returned to the hall where the exercises took place. It was fortunate to be under shelter for the rain then began to gently fall, and increased all the rest of the day.

The Post read the ritual for Decoration day. The singers engaged, failed to appear for “reasons not to be given here,” Comrade ELMER FOX said, so he read the poetry of one selection, “Cover Them Over with Beautiful Flowers,” and sang another alone, being accompanied with the organ by Miss MARY KING.

Mrs. ARMSTRONG recited in a very impressive manner, with distinct enunciation, an original poem, which was a very fine one. and ought to find a place in the printed Decoration Day literature.

The main feature of the occasion, however, and, according to many testimonies, the principal attraction, was the address by Comrade JAMES COMPTON, of Middleport, who is personally a great favorite with Somerset people. We all knew he could talk well, but he really outdid himself this time

Votes of thanks were returned to Mr. COMPTON, to the citizens for their contributions towards the expenses, and to the ladies who had assisted in the decorative labors.

The people went home in the rain.



Decoration day was fully observed here under direction of Dudley Donnelly Post No. 133. At 2 o’clock P. M. line was formed at post headquarters, Suspension Bridge, in the following order: Niagara Falls Philharmonic Band, De Veaux college cadets, forty in number, under Captain Low; Dudley Donnelly Post No. 133, thirty-five comrades; carriages with clergy and citizens. The line moved promptly at 2 o’clock at Oakwood cemetery, where the special G. A. R. service was observed at the grave of Col. PETER A. PORTER, 8th N. Y. H.A. A firing party of eight cadets fired three volleys over the grave.

The other graves, to the number of 26, were then appropriately decorated by comrades of the Post. The decorations consisted of crosses, anchors, wreaths, stars, hearts, shields and other forms filled with flowers by the ladies of Suspension Bridge and Niagara Falls, and they were very beautiful and attracted much attention. At the conclusion the march was resumed to Niagara Falls, the Post marching down falls street in two platoons and making a very find appearance, being uniformed and carrying swords. At the Soldiers’ Monument a halt was made and the roll of honor read by Comrade JAMES LOW. The roll is made up of the names inscribed upon the monument, 61 in number, together with the name of the organization in which they served.

These were all from the town of Niagara. At 4 P. M. the following seruices were held at the Pavilion in the Park:

  1. Music by the band.
  2. Reading Memorial Orders by the Post Adjutant.
  3. Singing by a large choir under the direction of W. L. Lamont.
  4. Prayer by Rev. Mr. Stowitts.
  5. Singing.
  6. Oration by C. E. Crowley, of Niagara Falls.
  7. Singing.
  8. Benediction.

The oration of Mr. CROWLEY was a fine effort, delivered without the use of manuscript, and called forth well-merited applause. The singing, which was very fine, was received with marked approval.


The following program was the order of the day, under the auspices of Samuel B. Kemp Post: The “boys in blue” gathered in the morning at their Post hall in Olcott, and proceeded to Charlotte, where they were met by a goodly number of the citizens from the center of the town. At eleven o’clock the procession was formed, led by their Post martial band, comrades RICHIE, JOHNSON, BIXLER and MILLER, proceeding to the Corwin cemetery, on the Creek road, therein forming in squads, moved to decorate the graves, assisted by the following young ladies: Misses STELLA MUDGE, JESSIE FERGUSON, MARY BURNS, MARY HALSTEAD, BELL and ELECTA HOTCHKINS, whose fair hands scattered the flowers and mementoes of kind remembrances. Then gun squads encircled and fired their volleys over the grave of Comrade ROLLIN C. STEELE, who died December 8, 1865, aged 24 years.

At the close of their solemn ceremonies at this cemetery, the line of March was again formed, and proceeded to Olcott, halting at the Universalist cemetery and honoring in like manner the graves of the few soldiers buried there.

Next came the bountiful and heartily partaken dinner, served up in the basement of the Universalist church. In the afternoon the many graves of those buried in the Olcott cemetery received their marked attention, and in the same order were strewn with sweet scented flowers. At 3 o’clock the Universalist church was well filled by an appreciative audience, who attentively listened to the following


  1. Vocal music–“Memorial Day.”
  2. Prayer–By Rev. W. B. Pickard.
  3. Singing–“Let Them Softly Sleep.”
  4. Poem–By Dr. Huggins.
  5. Martial Music–By the Drum Corps.
  6. Address–By Dr. Palmer.
  7. Vocal music.
  8. Benediction

The fine poem given by Dr. HUGGINS and the able address of Dr. PALMER were masterly and brilliant efforts. We think we voice the general sentiment in saying that Dr. PALMER’S address gave the very greatest satisfaction. It was not only appropriate and in sympathy with the occasion, but handsomely worded and effectively rendered.

The following are the names of the solders of the late war buried in the Corwin cemetery:

James Hill, Wm. D. Price, J. LaFloer, David Halstead, Elijah Dodge, Frank Eschbaugh, Rollin Steel, J. H. Lewis, Tenos Tracy, David Jones, Martin Gage, Nathan F. Peck, Scott Hovey, Frank Green.

War of 1812 (not complete)–Arthur Patterson, George Prentice, John J. Outwater, Daniel G. Lewis, J. McMichael, Samuel Demorest, Jas. A. Tice, J. R. Richardson, Andrew Reynolds, Wm. Parker, Joshua Folsom, —- Morey, —- Mather, —-Demora, —-Hule, —-Gaylord.

The following were Revolutionary soldiers: E. WILMONT and CHRISTOPHER LEWIS.

The following are the names of soldiers whose graves were decorated at the Olcott cemetery:

Martin Andrews, Eugene Price, Serg’t. S. B. Kemp, J. VanNorton, Wm. Murray, S. A. Birdsell, Lewis Smith, Lieut. David Philips, Wm. James, Morris Harrington, John Wentworth, W. H. Bennett, Simeon Outwater, Don Smith, Isaac Lockwood.

These veterans of Kemp Post are under ed the graves of the deceased comrades the command of P. H. MESEROLE.


C. L. Skeels Post, G. A. R., a new organization, only four weeks in existence, had charge of the exercises of the day and the success which corwned their efforts. is well deserving of high praise. The parade was formed at 1 o’clock, with the G. A. R. veterans in line, headed by the Harland Brass Band, and those who took part in the exercises in carriages. The old war horse of the lamented Capt. C. L. SKEELS, which he rode through many battles, was also in the line of march. The procession went to the Hartland cemetery and after visiting the soldiers’ graves which had been decorated in the morning, returned to the church where a program of music by the band, singing, and an eloquent and able oration by Mr. E. M, ASHLEY of this city, was listened to by as many as could obtain entrance into the edifice, the crowd being so large that more than half those present were obliged to remain outside.

The effort of Mr. ASHLEY was especially commended for its patriotic sentiments and the able and earnest delivery of the speaker, the attention being very marked during its delivery.

An occurrence not usually down on the program for decoration day exercises, was the presentation of a beautiful flag to the new Post by Past Commander FRANK E. SEELEY in behalf of the donors who are well-known ladies and gentlemen of the town of Hartland.

The rain did not commence to fall until 3 o’clock in the afternoon and did not materially effect the services of the day.

The following is a list of the deceased soldiers whose remains are in the Hartland cemeteries:


Lieut. Geo. Skeels, Lieut. Carlos Smith, Capt. B. Foote, Lieut. T. Paires, Privates Anson Paires, Geo. Sheriff, Iliram Armstrong, D. M. Bedwell, T. Taylor, A. George, Col. Richard Weaver, Col. P. Areson, Privates James Cook, H. Timmerman, B. Wall, John McCandlish, and A. Fisher.


Privates S. Nichols, P. Nichols, D. Waterman, and P. Spers.


C. P. Arllis, and J. H. Keeler.


Richard Vedder, H. W. Wright, Charles Henning, D. B. Richards, —- Drake. —- Vreeland, J. Vedder, and H. E, Birdwell.


The day was celebrated with exceeding great enthusiasm. McCollumn Post, of Ransomville,met at headquarters at 8 A.M., and detachments of men were sent to the cemeteries in Cambria, Porter and Lewiston to suitably decorate the graves of the deceased soldiers in each. The procession of the day occurred at 1 o’clock P. M. at Youngstown, where two companies of Regular soldiers from Fort Niagara, commanding by Capt. DOVE, Major BROWN and Lieuts. WOODS and BARTH, joined the procession with McCollumn Post and the A. O. U. W. Lodge of Ransomville. The crowd assembled by this time was said to be about 4,000, and exceeded in numbers any ever before assembled at Youngstown. The line of parade was to the Youngstown cemetery, when the graves were decorated and the following program was then rendered:

Reading of orders by Post Adjutant.
Remarks by Commander Cornell.
Music–“A Grateful Nation”–by the Ransom Glee Club.
Prayer–Rev. Mr. Woodruff.
Music by Ransom Glee Club.
Calling of the roll of honor.
Response by O. D. Fowler, Esq.
Poem by Comrade McCollum.
Music by the Youngstown Glee Club.
Recitation by Commander Cornell.
Remarks by Hon. J. W. Brown.
Poem–“The Boys in Blue.”
Music by the Ransom Glee Club.
Oration–Capt. W. W. Bush, of Lockport.
National air by the band.
Music by the Ransom Glee Club.
Benediction by Rev. O White.

The address of Capt. BUSH was highly eulogized by the large concourse of people present, and was well worthy of these encomiums, it being one of the best efforts of the worthy old veteran.

The day passed off finely, and will be long and gratefully remembered by the residents of Youngstown and vicinity.


The appropriate and beautiful custom of decorating the graves of the soldiers whose remains are buried in the cemeteries in the locality of Henry L. Smith Post No. 178 G. A. R., was observed by the members of that Post yesterday. A committee detailed for the purpose in the morning visited the Middleport, Stewart and Harrington cemeteries. The Post in a body then proceeded to the Mountain Ridge cemetery, and decorated the graves of the comrades who have “gone before,” fifteen in number. They also deposited upon the resting places of all the revolutionary and 1812 war soldiers–a token of remembrance–in each of the cemeteries. The stores on the main street of the village displayed considerable bunting and flags. The citizens generally manifested an interest that deserves well for the occasion. They are entitled to and will receive the gratitute of the members of the Post for the substantial aid of engaging and paying the Compton & Odell Band, who gave music just adapted for the occasion, and very materially added to the exercises. Also, the following named gentlemen volunteered their services to make a martial band, that just filled the proper place and was duly appreciated by everybody, viz.:

James FitzGerald, R. W. Briggs, Wm. H. McKee and Mile E. McKee–the latter known as the “old Slusher Patriot.”

The Post assembled on State street, about fifty in line, at 2 P. M., and took up the line of march, led by the Compton & Odell band and the martial band, and marched through the principal streets to the village park. A cenotaph, very finely decorated, was placed upon the large platform around which the Post assembled for the regular Memorial Day exercises. Before the close of the reading of the Post General Order by acting Adjutant L. E. Chubbuck, it commenced to rain. It was soon evident that the program could not be carried out as arranged in the open air. Mr. A. D. Rich very kindly offered the use of his hall, and the assembly soon tilled the large hall, and the following program was carried out:

Prayer–Rev. J. T. Humphrey.
Quartette, “Our Soldiers Brave”–Mrs. W. J. Sterritt, Miss Lou Spalding, and Messrs. Dr. C. W. Gould and E. Bliss.
Oration–Rev. W. H. Pease.
Solo, “Barbara Fritchie”–Mrs. E. B. Delano.
Poem–C. W. Laskey, Esq.
Music–By above quartette.
Recitation–Miss Lilly Barnes.

A vote of thanks by the audience was extended to the orator and all others who assisted in the exercises. We should utterly fail to attempt a synopsis of the address by Rev. Mr. Pease. It was replete with fine thoughts and instructive and eloquent words. and was delivered, without notes or manuscript.

Great credit is due to the ladies and gentlemen who gave such fine singing. They sustained their former reputation, and held the marked attention of the audience.

Credit is also due to Commander D. H. Montana, despite the bad weather and disturbance, under whose direction the exercises were planned and carried out, making the third annual Memorial Day observance at Middleport a complete success. A very large assembly was present.

  1. “Flowers for Dead Heroes,” Lockport (NY) Daily Journal, 31 May 1883, p.3, cols. 2-4; digital images, Old Fulton New York Post Cards ( : accessed 27 August 2022), Historical Newspapers United States and Canada: Lockport NY Daily Journal 1883 Mar-Jul – 0328.pdf.

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