Decoration Day Celebration – May 30, 1885

The above is a rare photo of Manistique’s Civil War veterans getting ready for a patriotic holiday celebration. Pictured from far right: John Gayar, Henry Brassel, Amos Hill, George W. Rice  (partially hidden behind Hill) and Wright E. Clarke (buttoning coat), On the far left, the men with insignias on their hats are David Blair (left) and William Wood (Right).

The above is a rare photo of Manistique’s Civil War veterans getting ready for a patriotic holiday celebration. Pictured from far right: John Gayar, Henry Brassel, Amos Hill, George W. Rice (partially hidden behind Hill) and Wright E. Clarke (buttoning coat), On the far left, the men with insignias on their hats are David Blair (left) and William Wood (Right).

Decoration Day – 1885 

            Manistique’s first celebration of what was then known as Decoration Day, took place on Sunday, May 30, 1885. The citizens of the town were stirred from their sleep at the rude hour of 3:00 A.M. by the ringing of hammers and anvils announcing Decoration morn. In the forenoon the streets became crowded with horse drawn wagons and carriages, as pioneers from the country arrived to celebrate the holiday. By noon, the stirring martial music of the Cornet brass band was heard echoing down the avenues.

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Manistique’s Civil War Cannon

The Civil War Cannon on the Court House Lawn - 1915 Image

The Civil War Cannon on the Court House Lawn – 1915 Image

             In 1896, the United States Navy Department donated a Civil War era cannon to Manistique’s George F. Fuller Post of the Grand Army of the Republic. The cannon had seen service on the James River in Virginia during the years 1861-65. After it arrived in Manistique, the cannon was placed on the Courthouse grounds where it soon became an honored emblem of national pride. The cannon played an important role in the life of the community. It was paraded through the streets of the city on Decoration Day and on the Fourth of July.  Its thunderous boom could be heard on National holidays and on extraordinary occasions, such as at the death of President McKinley in 1901, when the Presidential Salute was given. It took two men to fire the cannon, and the duty fell to Civil War Veterans, Henry Brassel and John Gayar.

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Memorial-Decoration Day History, Schoolcraft County

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Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

The above picture shows early Memorial Day parades in Manistique.  The parades featured not only veterans from foreign wars but also the Civil War.  Several bands were part of the parades along with the Woman’s Relief Corps, Red Cross, Catholic Benevolent Association, and Daughters of Veterans.  Schoolchildren marched in formation with their teachers along with the 200-member Garden Club.

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