From the Files of the Rochester Historical Society

            As I write this article, I’m mulling over plans for the 4th of July. I’m sure they will include a cookout and maybe a parade or fireworks. Looking through some of the papers at our museum, I came across a copy of a program of sorts for the 10th Anniversary of Independence. As much as possible, I am going to quote from this paper. It is titled  Anniversary of Independence Rochester July 4th, 1793 and it reads,” This being the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the United States, the morning was ushered in by a discharge of cannons; at ten o’clock the first company of militia in this town, commanded by Capt. Sturtevant paraded, where after giving this military exercise was a discharge of fifteen cannons announcing to the fifteen free and sovereign and confederated states of America: after which the officers of said company were met by a number of patriotic gentlemen from this and the neighboring town, at Major Ruggles tavern, where after an elegant repast the following toasts were drank.

            This is followed by a list of the 15 toasts that were consumed:

” first. to the United States of America, may their independence be as lasting as time.

 2d. The President: Long live the hero

 3d. The Legislature of the Union may its deliberations be for the public good

4th. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts may her fishery, commerce and agriculture ever flourish

5th. The Governor, may immortal honour be the reward of his exertions in establishing Independence

6th. The Lieut. Governor, may peace and tranquility attend him through his declining years

7th. The patriots and heroes of seventy-six may the same patriot zeal animate our breath which warmed them

8th. The Officers and Soldiers of the Day, may their promises of liberty and equality never sleep

9th. The Frontier, may they be preserved from the depredations of savage bastion

10th. The Republic of France, as she has catched the spark of Liberty from America, may its flame never be extinguished.

11th. The Marquis de Lafayette, may the day soon arrive when he shall again breathe the air of freedom

12th. May strict neutrality be preserved between these states and the Belligerent powers

13th. May Liberty run parallel with time

14th. The State of Vermont

15th. The State of Kentucky

            My spell check was having issues with colonial spelling and grammar, but I tried to stay true to the text. An interesting thing about history is that the more you know, the more you want to know. I will have to look up both the governor and his lieutenant. I’m also curious about the reasons for the toasts to Vermont and Kentucky.

            The bottom of the document gives a list of names, which I believe is a list of those who attended. It’s obvious that some signatures were hard to decipher.

            “Thomas Sturtevant, James Sproat, Abraham Holmes, Nat Ruggles, Abner Hous, Cyrus Keith, Thos. Bennett, Thomas Sproat,  Joseph Clark, James Washburn, John Smith, Col. Williams, …Kingsley, Jacob Bennett, Nat Wilbur, …Wilbur, Wilks Wood, Hezech(?) Tinkham,….Tinkham, Edward Sparrow, D…Smith, Nehemiah Bennett, Josiah Bisbee, Philip Crapo, Nat Morton, John Fuller, Thos. Spooner, David Forbes, John Keith, I Perkins, friend Sturtevant. Lt. Soule, David Clark, Abiel Washburn, …Kingman, e. Hammond, Francis Hiller, Lot Luce. C. Blank, J. Luce, A. White”

            I hope all of our holiday activities include a moment or two to reflect on the amazing creation of our nation and our good fortune to be a part of it.

            I have a correction to a previous article: William Watling was born in 1917 not 1918.

By Connie Eshbach

Leave A Comment...