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A Muted Celebration: Independence Day, July 4th, 1902–A Quartet of Friday Fourths From the Newspaper Archive of Virginia Chronicle
The Civil War ended 37 years ago. A Republican, Theodore Roosevelt is President. A Democrat, Andrew Jackson Montague is Governor. A state constitutional convention, dominated by Democrats, just disbanded taking the regressive step, as the nation advanced into the Progressive Era, of drastically narrowing the voting rights of blacks. A Virginia small city editor, like our editors here, in sympathy with the Democratic party, perhaps now in his late fifties or early sixties and perhaps a Confederate veteran, might be inclined to more quickly recall that lost cause for independence instead of the found of 126 years ago. From the Lexington Gazette-right column, front page, starting above the fold:
This irascible appeal to the responsibilities of memory is the bluntest expression among our four papers of a lack of enthusiasm over the arrival of Independence Day. And Lexington, it deserves mention, the home of VMI and Washington and Lee University, was also the final home of Robert E. Lee whose name was attached to the school’s title upon his death in 1870,after acting as its director since the war’s close.
Further north in the valley, the Shenandoah Herald’s July 4 edition, it’s a challenge to locate anything associated with the holiday. A brief discussion of rattlesnake imagery in early American flags on the front page could qualify, but only maybe. Its editor, John H. Grabill, was a former captain in the Confederate cavalry.
At least the editor of the Farmville Herald delivers some assertion out his ambivalence. As well as a request to put down the bottle:
W. McDonald Lee, editor of Irvington’s Virginia Citizen, devotes five full columns to an often diverting … read more »