Victory Celebrations in Butler County

Much ought to be said, in however brief a summary of the war, viewed locally, of the noble efforts of those citizens who stayed behind in upholding the hands of the government and in lessening the sufferings of individuals and families. Relief committees were begun at the outbreak of hostilities in almost all localities; and in thousands of families the kindly ministrations of neighbors helped to take off the keen edge of poverty. The relief system lasted through the whole war, fairs being held in connection with it. At one of them, held in Hamilton, ten thousand dollars and over was realized. A committee of citizens was appointed by the government, in each county, to aid in the work of recruiting, and as persons on whom it could rely for assistance. Those in this county in 1863 were: N. C. MCFARLAND, chairman; Israel WILLIAMS, secretary; Alexander F. HUME, Henry BEARDSLEY, and J. M. MILLIKIN. Others were joined with these, and preceded and followed them. To all these the greatest gratitude is due. In the darkest hour of the nation's trouble they formed a rallying point for the faithful.

 

The end was at last to come. The heroic exertions of four years were crowned with success, and Richmond was ours. The Telegraph of Hamilton had the following head lines:

 

"Victory- Richmond Ours and Garrisoned by Negro Troops - Petersburg Evacuated - DAVIS a Fugitive - LEE in Full Retreat - GRANT in Full Pursuit - Four Days' Heavy Fighting - Complete Union Success - The Great Hereafter has Come - Where's VALLANDIGHAM? - Where's the Chicago Platform? - Where's MCCLELLAN?"

 

A celebration was held on the Friday following the evacuation of Richmond. The day rose brightly, and seemed of itself to impart gladness to all hearts. At sunrise a national salute from the court-house square spoke joyfully, and this was followed by man pealing bells for the space of an hour. Very early in the day it was manifest it was to be a jubilee, and soon the streets were filled with people whose eyes and cheerful facs told their gladness.

 

At ten o'clock a very large congregation assembled in the Presbyterian Church, where a sermon was delivered by the Rev. J. J. THOMPSON pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, from Exodus xv, 1, 2, 21. The reverend speaker drew a most striking parallel between the cause of the Confederacy and the cause of Pharoah, and the total destruction which overtook them both, manifestly by the hands of the Lord. He closed by referring to the fact that while they were then worshiping SUMTER's dishonored flag was honored and floated over the battered walls, upon the ocean breeze; Maryland had washed out their stains, Louisiana and Tennessee had found mooring in the Union docks, and Georgia, Virginia, and the old North State desired to join their sisters. A new and higher destiny awaited them. Let all say, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting, and let all the people say Amen."

 

In the afternoon the whole population were abroad, and flags decorated nearly the whole city. At three o'clock P. M. a great crowd assembled at the court-house, where, after the thundering of cannon, music was given by the city band and the glee club, and eloquent addresses of great ability by L. D. CAMPBELL and by Messrs. MILLIKIN and MOORE. They were happily worded and enthusiastically received.

 

At night the whole population were out about the court-house. Men, women, and children swarmed; brilliant fireworks were set off under the direction of Brook SAUNDERS.

 

Scarcely had the nation felt its heart throb with gratitude for the closing of the war and the renewal of peace on a solid and enduring basis, than it was called to mourn the death of Abraham LINCOLN, slain by the hand of an assassin. So monstrous seemed the report that few could believe it, and it was not until the arrival of the morning papers that citizens were willing to give credence to the story But with the perusal of the details came unwilling belief, and soon the tolling bells, the half-masted flags, and the drapery of black gave proof of sorrow.

In the evening a large meeting convened at the court-house, and organized by the selection of Judge SCOTT as chairman, and Mr. SELBY as secretary. Remarks were made by L. D. CAMPBELL, N. C. MCFARLAND, Rev. J. J. THOMPSON, and Thomas MOORE, expressive of their feelings and that of the community generally. Men of all political parties united in this movement. The chairman was authorized to appoint a committee of nine to make suitable arrangements for observance of the funeral ceremonies of the late President. On Sunday large audiences assembled in all of the churches, most, if not all of which were draped in mourning, and the exercises were generally conducted with reference to the solemn lessons of the hour. In the Methodist Episcopal Church, Mr. THOMPSON had designed an Easter sermon, but in view of the nation's calamity addressed his congregation from 2 Samuel iii, 38: "Know ye not there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?" His remarks were eloquent and to the point. In the Presbyterian Church, Professor David SWING, of Oxford, now of Chicago, preached from the ninety-seventh Psalm.

 

In accordance with the recommendation of the acting Secretary of State, Wednesday was observed with fitting ceremonies. All the bells tolled for one hour from 10:30 A. M. Funeral ceremonies were in the Presbyterian Church at 12 noon; sermon by the Rev. J. M. PENDLETON. There was also a general suspensio of business from 10 A. M. until 3 P. M., and a display of flags at half-mast. The sermon was from Deuteronomy xxxiv, 8.

 

At Oxford the various bells were tolled for several hours, flags were shrouded in crape, or displayed at half-mast, and business was almost entirely suspended. This was on Saturday, on the reception of the news. In the afternoon, by a general impulse, a large number of citizens assembled in the hall over the market-house, and a meeting was organized, on motion of Professor SWING, by calling the Rev. Dr. PATTERSON to the chair. Mr. DUVAL was appointed secretary. The Rev. L. L. LANGSTROTH opened the exercises by prayer, and then made some remarks; after which, on motion of Professor SWING, Professor STODDARD, Professor SWING, and Mr. ZELLER were appointed a committee to prepare suitable resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting. An adjourned meeting was fixed at 2 P. M. of the day on which the obsequies should be observed in Washington, in the Third Presbyterian Church. Remarks were made at different times by the Rev. Mr. MCSURELY, KUMLER, and MORRIS. On Sunday all the public and many of the private buildings were draped in black.

 

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