Holland City News, Sept. 10, 1914

When the Holland Soldiers Came Back From the War

Mrs. John F. Walter of Kissimmee, Florida in a Reminiscent Mood

Van Raalte Cuts Large Cake with a Sword

Mrs. John F. Walter, whose maiden name was Anna Broadmore, is stopping at the home of her old neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. John Elferdink, 120 West 10th St. Yesterday she called at the "News" and told us some interesting details of early Holland history at the time when she was a little girl and lived in this city. The home of the Broadmore family was located on the M. E. Church site, but was destroyed by fire in 1871 and shortly afterward was purchased by the Methodists, who built a wooden church and also a garage thereon. This church afterward burned and was replaced by a stone structure.

Mrs. Walter also describes the homecoming of the soldier boys from the front, during the Civil War. This was in 1865. The preparations for this great occasion were very elaborate. Says Mrs. Walter, "The old Town and Firehouse that stood on the northwest corner of River and 10th St in Centennial Park in recent years, was then located a little south of where the fountain is now located. Extending from this townhouse, a long shed had been built reaching to 10th Street. This shed had been built without sides, but with a roof as a protection from the sun as the shade trees were conspicuous for their absence.

"I remember very distinctly, although a little girl, that Mrs. Ferris was delegated to make a large cake. She set to work and had special pans made to order to bake this cake of enormous size. The bottom layer was four inches thick and five feet across. Upon this, layer after layer was made until the cake looked like a venerable pyramid five feet high, covered with white frosting. From the center of this cake, on a staff, was a large American flag, floating from the top.

"I also remember that at intervals of a few feet along the whole length of the large table, placed on large platters, were little roast pigs. Each pig had an orange in his mouth. I remember this very distinctly because it was the first time I had ever seen or tasted an orange, and being only a small girl, I was just big enough to peek over the top of the table and curious enough to see whether there was something more of interest hidden on the inside of the little pigs.

Great was the rejoicing and cheering and hand shaking and love embraces from the loving mothers and proud fathers, and when all had sat down around the festive board and prayers had been said, Dr. Van Raalte took a great sword and cut this enormous cake, which was afterwards doled out to the eagerly waiting guests."

Transcriber: Joan Van Spronsen
Created: 9 February 2007
URL: http://ottawa.migenweb.net/military