Old West Lifestyle & Stories

Fourth of July in the Old West

Celebrating the independence of our country was important even in the Old West.  And, as we shall see, people putting on the Fourth of July in the Old West ran into the same problems as today.Fourth of July in the Old West

In 1868 the Nevada mining camps of Hamilton and Treasure Hill comprised of a few hardy miners and even fewer women.  However, it was decided that they would have a 4th of July celebration.

They formed the flag committee, the music committee and the dance committee.  The music committee’s job was simple, yet complicated.  Therewas only one man in town who had a musical instrument, a violin.  The complication was that he tended to get drunk.  So, they had to regulate the flow of whiskey to the musician.

The dance committee comprised of all the women in town…a total of two.  Like volunteer committees sometimes do, the flag committee waited until the last minute to get a flag.  And then it was to late to travel the 120 miles to the nearest store.  So, good ol’ American ingenuity took place.  They found a quilt with a red lining, and some white canvas material.  A traveling family camped nearby had a blue veil.  This was doubly good because the family included a mother and four girls…more women for the dance.  But the girls didn’t have shoes, making it impossible to dance on the rough planked floor.  So, a collection of brogan shoes was taken up among the miners.

On the 4th of July, a parade formed at Hamilton and with the makeshift American flag proceeded to Treasure Hill.  Speeches were made.  Sentiment ran high.  They decided to form a new town called the White Pine Pioneers, and that the flag should go into the town’s archives.  Unfortunately, the town disappeared and the flag ended up being used as a bed sheet.

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