July 4th, 1873 at Ridgefield

An Old Fashioned Celebration
South Side Signal
July 19th 1873

Among the reports of Independence celebrations that greet you, I think that Ridgefield in Brookhaven Town, deserves notice. Ridgefield is the Eastern village on the middle or old Post road, and extends to the west line of Riverhead Town. The school district includes Longwood, the residence of Hon. Wm. Sidney Smith, and his seven thousand acres of land, as his share in the Patent lands of his ancestor.

The people have recently erected a neat and very convenient School House, in which beside the usual school of the week, meetings and Sabbath schools are held, and the Reverend John Woodruff, Presbyterian minister of the Parish of Middletown, which includes the several villages of Coram, Coram mills, Swezeytown, Middle Island, Longwood, and Ridgefield, attends at the latter place alternate Sabbaths.

The celebration of the 4th of July was agreed on, and preparations were made freely by the people. An invitation to attend and aid was sent to Rev. Mr. Woodruff and Benjamin T. Hutchinson, Town Clerk, who cheerfully responded. Capt. Henry M. Randall arrived home from sea, bring numerous flags and signals which decorated the grove, where the long tables were loaded by the generous and patriotic ladies with substantials and luxuries of our land and from the sunny South. The ceremonies were opened by Mr. Hutchinson by a short address, referring to the days and Patriots of ’76, and impressively stating the object of the celebration was to keep up the spirit of patriotism in the people and especially to imbue the rising generation with the love of our whole country that they, with the like patriotic spirit of our Fathers of 76, may ever keep our Union the “Land of the Free and the home of the brave.” He then read the Declaration of Independence.

Rev. Mr. Woodruff followed with an appropriate address.Captain Henry M. Randall followed with a short but well written oration hastily prepared, after his arrival home.

Mr. Hutchinson then gave a cordial welcome to the feast, to all who love our country, whether accidentally born on our land because their forefathers came here or born in other lands and proving their great love of ours by leaving the homes of their youth and coming to the land of Liberty;  all were welcome on this our National Sabbath, where sects and parties are not known – but those from Prussia, Erin, Old England, that twice fought against us – Sunny France that aided us and now enjoys a free government – and Spain, long a war nation now following our example of an elective free government.

 Rev. Mr. Woodruff rendered due praise and the people about eighty partook of the feast with general joy and thanks giving.

After the feast, by special request of Mrs. Smith, Mr. Hutchinson read his poetic address to Sabbath School scholars of forty stanzas, heretofore published. He then repeated a jubilee hymn purporting to come from the seven sons of Mr. and Mrs. Smith who came from California, Wisconsin, and other states bringing their wives and children to hold the fiftieth anniversary of their union on May 7th. Mr. Smith and family who were present, were much affected by the repetition of its sweetness

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