How did you spend the 4th of July not working I hope. I had to work until about 2 P.M. then I went over town. there I met Martie and was around with him until his train went home about ten P.M. there was quite a crowd here to see the celebration which consisted of an industrial Parade, races of various kinds and fireworks, between these amusements a large part of the crowd indulged in "fire water" to such extent that the city lockup was filled to overflowing. Thus passed the glorious Fourth.
Norman Wilson Ingersons amusing account of Fourth of July festivities in Jamestown, N.Y., 1895, typifies the ambience of small town, late Victorian America. Norman and his bride to be Stella May Murdock, from Sparta Township, Pa., exchanged one hundred sixty two letters through four years of long distance courtship. Neither was yet twenty when the correspondence began. Poignant and beguiling, wistful yet often disturbing, their letters animate the Western New York and Pennsylvania landscape of the Gay Nineties. A treasure of period history, the letters reveal in intimate and unaffected detail the conflict between emerging love and aspiration and a deceptive, not so gentle society.