Holland City News, June 23, 1910

G. A. R. Encampment in Holland

Soldiers Gather in Holland for Reunion

Fully 25,000 people gathered upon the streets of Holland yesterday afternoon to witness the annual parade of the Michigan G. A. R. The parade was one of the most inspiring spectacles ever seen in Holland. The streets, resplendent in decorative features, were thronged with citizens and visitors, who cheered the faltering lines of soldiers as they marched together in their blue uniforms under the panoply of flags, to the martial music of the drum corps.

Besides this main feature of the parade, there were floats and drills that inspired the onlookers, and brought forth ovations all along the line of march.

Troop A, of the Michigan cavalry, was here from South Haven, and with Gov. Warner, headed the parade.

The horsemen created a most favorable impression, executing their part of the day’s program in a soldier like manner. From Captain down the line, the Troop is a fine body of men.

The Continental Drum Corps, organized by Benj. A. Mulder, consisting of twelve pieces, followed the Holland members of the G. A. R. with stirring music that quickened the steps of the old soldiers, and brought responsive cheers from those who had gathered along the line of march. The townspeople were proud of the results of the efforts made by those in charge of the entertainment, which brought forth Holland talent that contributed so much to the complete success of the afternoon event.

Miss Hazel Van Landegend as "Columbia," and Frank Lievense as "Uncle Sam,’ marched hand in hand at the head of the drum corps with the stars and stripes, a feature inspiring and beautiful.

Of equal effect was the Goddess of Liberty float, Miss Marie Dykstra being seated in the middle holding aloft a beautiful banner, and surrounded by six little girls. This float was attended by the Girls Drum Corp, headed by John Elferdink who impersonated "Uncle Sam." The little girls, marching in time with their music, dressed in costumes of red, white, and blue, presented a pleasing appearance, conducting themselves with a precision and style that would have done credit to children much older.

The drill team of the local ladies of the Macabees, dressed in costumes of the Netherlands, with their wooden shoes, created favorable comment and caused amusement to the spectators.

In Centennial Park, after the parade, their special drill upon the platform brought great applause, being encored and re-encored. The parade was led by B. Van Raalte, Sr., and his aids, G. Van Schelven and Seth Nibbelink. Gov. Warner and his staff, attended by Troop A, were at the head of the procession.

Holland showed its ability to entertain this week in its manner of handling the G. A. R. Encampment, and in spite of the fact that more people came to the encampment than had been expected, every visitor was housed and well cared for. From the beginning of the week, when the veterans began to arrive, to today, the proceedings have passed along without difficulty, and the guests of the city are departing today full of praise for the hospitality of Holland’s citizens.

Mayor Bruss presided over all of the events of the week. Ex-governor S. R. Van Sant of Minnesota, commander- in- chief of the Grand Army, delivered the first address of the week in Centennial Park, Tuesday afternoon, after which he left for Syracuse, New York, to deliver a similar address at the New York encampment. Mr. Van Sant touched upon the value of the G. A. R. organization in promoting patriotism; he spoke of the work of the Michigan soldiers in the Civil War, and closed his speech with a glowing tribute to the memory of the late D. B. K. Van Raalte.

On Tuesday evening, Carnegie Hall was filled to witness the children’s campfire. The meeting was presided over by Supt. of Schools, W. T. Bishop, who introduced Mrs. Bessie Dering, national patriotic instructor of the W. R. C. and Col. M. C. Barney, patriotic instructor of the G. A. R., as the speakers of the evening.

The silk flag, given by the local W. R. C. to the local High School, was fittingly presented by Mrs. Dering. Principal Stephanson accepted it on behalf or the school, with a neat speech. Miss Bernich Jones was a favorite with the spectators because of her fine work in the pantomime of "Star Spangled Banner," the song being sung by Miss Vrooman of the public schools. To Miss Vrooman much credit is due for the success of this most excellent feature of the reunion week.

Exercises of Centennial Park

N. J. Whelan, owing to the fact that Congressman Diekema could not preside over the meeting in Centennial Park yesterday afternoon, because of business in Washington, introduced the speakers. Among those who spoke at this meeting were Senator William Alden Smith, and the three candidates for the Republican nomination for governor, Patrick Kelly of Lansing, Chase S. Osborne of Saulte Ste. Marie, and Amos Musselman of Grand Rapids. In the evening, P.H. McBride presided over the camp fire.

Two Accidents and a Death

During the parade yesterday, Ira Moorhead, aged 22, a member of Company A, Michigan Cavalry, of South Haven, was overcome by the heat and fell from his horse upon the pavement. He was immediately carried to shelter, and three physicians worked over him for the balance of the day, but failed to restore him consciousness. Last night he was taken to Grand Rapids, and placed in St. Mary’s Hospital. Still unconscious, he reached St. Mary’s Hospital shortly before midnight, and a short time later, he recovered partial consciousness. Though suffering from sunstroke, the young man was also hurt internally and bruised about the left side from his fall from his horse. The physicians in attendance believe that he will be fully recovered, however, in a few days.

Jerry Adams of Hamilton, one of the veterans, while getting ready to enter the parade on Central Ave., was knocked down by a horse and buggy. His knee cap was broken and he was bruised, but otherwise. He was taken to the emergency hospital at 140 West 11th Street. Dr. Mersen attended him. He was sent home on a stretcher in the evening.

As the roll of the drum and the pipe of the fife of his comrades were wafted in through the window at the home of James K. Dole of this city, his spirit fled. Mr. Dole, who was 65 years of age, had been ill for some time, and expressed a desire to hear the tramp of the Army in Blue once more before he died.

Will Take Drum to Re-Union

Andrew J. Ward, register of deeds of Ottawa County, had a precious relic of the Civil War with him while attending the state encampment of the G. A. R. That relic is the famous old drum which Mr. Ward carried with him throughout the Civil War, and was also carried with him in yesterday’s large parade. The drum beat at the capture of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States, while the band played "John Brown’s Body," and the regiment joined in singing "We’ll Hang Jeff Davis to a Sour Apple Tree," for the benefit of the discomfited leader of the Confederacy, who sat in an army ambulance, still attired in the woman’s garb which he had worn when the Union Cavalry captured him. Everyone connected with the capture believed that Jefferson Davis would be hung, and the soldiers who captured him fully expected that the execution would be in Macon, Georgia, a short distance from the place of the capture. Had some of them known that the head of the Confederacy would be allowed to live out his allotted time at the hands of the Federal Government, Davis might have been taken to headquarters, a corpse.

As the soldiers were taking him back to Macon, one of the cavalrymen spoke to him,

"Uncle Jeff," said the soldier, "Will you leave me that horse of yours?"

Mrs. Davis, who was a true blue-blooded lady of the South, resented the familiarity of the soldier and reproved him. "You are speaking to the President, sir," she exclaimed.

"President of what ma’am?" asked the soldier with a loud shout of laughter in which his comrades joined.

As they were bearing him away, Jeff Davis remarked," Well, the Yankees have got me and I suppose they’ll hang me."

Whereupon, it is alleged, his son, remarked, as though blaming the pater for the difficulties of the family, "Don’t know if I care much."

The capture of Jeff Davis is a story in itself, as interesting as a tale of fiction. Two regiments of cavalry from Michigan and Wisconsin, raced through the Southern woods when it was learned the Jeff Davis was traveling through the South to escape capture at the hands of the Yankees, who were then over-running the country. How they came upon a camp and army wagon, in which rode a tall, old looking woman, is always a good story. It seemed as though the president of the Confederacy had eluded his pursuers, when one of the troopers discovered that the tall woman wore heavy boots, and on closer investigation, proved to be none other than Jeff Davis, himself, the long sought after leader of the Confederacy. Perhaps he was not shown all the tender consideration that the leader of the lost cause might think he deserved, but it should remembered that the men who captured him were rough men, hardened by service. Some of them also, believed perhaps, that much of their suffering and hardship was directly due to Jefferson Davis.

Mr. Ward, of this city, was in at the capture, and it was he who beat the big drum to the time of the Yankee tunes, as the triumphant cavalcade pranced back to headquarters with the very head of the Confederacy on a pole. The local man brought the drum home with him when he was mustered out of the army, and during all these years since the conflict, he has guarded it well. For many years after the war, Mr. Ward played the bass drum in the famous Flint Band, which played at the Philadelphia Centennial.

Transcriber: Joan Van Spronsen
Created: 8 February 2007
URL: http://ottawa.migenweb.net/military/1910gar.html