Celebrating the 4th of July, 1914 -Omaha, Nebraska

Anna Jane Beaton, July 4, 1914, Omaha, Nebraska.

What did the 4th of July mean to your ancestors, and how did they celebrate it?

My grandmother, Anna Jane Beaton,  was as American as apple pie. Her father, Alfred Beaton, was an immigrant of Scottish heritage from Prince Edward Isles. Her mother, Edith Orcutt, descended from early Puritan settlers, including Governor William Bradford. Alfred and Edith captured their memories on one memorable 4th of July in 1914.

Two pages of delightful images display Anna Jane Beaton, age 7, her older brother, Orcutt Phillip Beaton, age 14, and three neighborhood friends celebrating the 4th of July on a warm summer afternoon. The children gathered together in the Beaton’s front yard at North 40th street. Orcutt posed with his friend George Graham, draped by two American flags. In the next image, Anna Jane’s hand is warmly clasped by her best friend Pete Frenzer. Anna Jane wears a big smile and an even bigger hair bow. The third photograph Anna Jane and Pete still hold hands and are joined by Kathy Lake, who wears an equally immense bow in her hair. I like Kathy’s saucy look, one hand on her hip and the other on the shoulder of her friend Pete.  The fourth image, Anna Jane, seated in a rocking chair, holds a large doll with a face that would give me nightmares. Kathy kneeling beside Anna Jane, holds the American flag over her shoulder. In the background, three more flags lean against the porch stairs.


Anna Jane Beaton, Orcutt Phillip Beaton, Peter Frenzer July 4, 1914, Omaha Nebraska.

Was it Alfred who took the photographs? His son Orcutt, a gentle smile on his face, proudly posed with his baseball mitt ready to pitch a ball. Alfred Beaton owned a furniture and toy store, so perhaps Anna Jane’s doll and the baseball glove were new gifts?

Orcutt Phillip Beaton, July 4, 1914, Omaha, Nebraska.

I imagine the Beaton’s had a picnic, played games, and later attended some of the numerous activities mentioned in the Omaha Daily Bee for July 4, 1914. Various immigrant groups are mentioned in the article celebrating their participation and contributions to their community.

Omaha, Daily Bee, July 4, 1914, page 1. Courtesy of https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov

“All-day celebration and formal opening at Fontenelle Park, under auspices of Park Commissioner J.B. Hummel, Central and Monmouth Park Social Centers, Clairmont, Kenwood, Fairfax and Fontenelle Park Improvement clubs; prize games and contests morning and afternoon; flag raising and speech making at noon; fireworks in evening; band concert all day.
Reception at Fontenelle park by members of Olivet Baptist church to Rev. Willaim A. Mulford, new pastor.
Joint celebration all day Riverview park by Riverview, Deere Park and Southeast Improvement clubs.
Picnic and fireworks display at Kountze park by residents of the neighborhood.
Swedish-American patriotic festival all day at Spring Park, Florence, under auspices of Norden Singing society; program of contests, music and speaking at 4:30 p.m; fireworks in evening; dancing afternoon and evening.
Special golf matches, tennis and baseball games, dinners and dancing at all the clubs.
Cabaret entertainment at the Field Club.
Special fireworks display at Seymour Lake Club.
Women’s tennis tournament start at Country club.
Cricket match at Miller park at 11 a.m.
Finals in tennis singles and doubles at Happy Hollow; band concert at 11 a.m. followed by oration by Judge W.W. Slabaugh; reading of Declaration of Independence; program by male quartet and singing of patriotic songs.
All-day program at Carter Lake club; trap shoot at 10 a.m.; land and water sports in afternoon; special dinner, dance and fireworks in evening.
All-day program at Young Men’s Christian association summer park; tennis, base ball and big camp swim in morning; music by camp quartet and speaking by Rev. G.A. Hulbert and Judge Bryce Crawford in afternoon; picnic supper at 6 o’clock; big Venetian water carnival and fireworks in evening.
Special program of races, contests and sports at Dietz park, with dinner, dancing and fireworks in the evening.
Free balloon ascension, moving pictures and concert by Finn’s band, dancing and other attractions at Lake Manawa.
Mullen’s animal show, free band concert, motion pictures, dancing and other attractions at Krug park.
Fireworks, music and feature films at Rome summer Garden.
Boating, fishing, music and dancing at Nathan’s lake summer resort, five miles north of Florence on upper road.
City tennis turnament starts at the field club.
Double-header base ball game at Rourke park between Leland’s Chicago Giants and Bradford’s Brewers; first game called at 2 p.m.
Irish celebration of the passage of the home rule bill, under auspices of Emmett Monument association at Thirtieth and Fort streets; program of Gaelic sports, music, speech-making, dancing and refreshments.
Display of fireworks by Hanscom Park Improvement club on hill near Thirty-fourth and Wright streets in evening.
Old fashioned celebration of the day by comrades of George Crook post, Grand Army of the Republic, and Women’s Relief corps, at Florence park all day, commencing at 10:30 a.m.
Parade, band concerts, ball game, dance, fireworks, salutes and races along Vinton street from Sixteenth to Twenty-fourth streets, from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., by Vinton Booster club.
Plattdeutscher Verein celebratioin by the German home.
Water polo, other sports and contests, dinner, dance and fireworks at Council Bluffs Rowing association on Lake Manawa.”

What images and memories do you have from your ancestors of this special day we commemorate each year on July 4th?

© 2019 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.

Genealogy Sketch

Anna Jane BEATON
Name: Anna Jane BEATON 1907-1998
Parents: Alfred James BEATON and
Edith Marion ORCUTT
Spouse: John Frederick HYDE Jr.
Children: Jean Ann Marie HYDE
Relationship to Kendra: Grandmother

  1. Anna Jane Beaton Hyde
  2. Jean Ann Marie Hyde Hopp Eichorn
  3. Kendra Hopp Schmidt


About treeklimber

An interest in history and travel lends itself to a passion for genealogy. The more I research, the more I realize there is to discover. It is a never-ending puzzle.
This entry was posted in Biographies, My Family Ancestry and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Celebrating the 4th of July, 1914 -Omaha, Nebraska

  1. Thanks for sharing these 4th of July memories. I love the photographs. So nice to see you blogging again, Kendra.

    Liked by 1 person

    • treeklimber says:

      Hi Cathy, Thank you :). I have been researching and transcribing documents etc, but I really need to get back to blogging and telling the stories. Hope you haven’t been suffering in the extreme heat in Europe? Kurt and I read Die Presse every day but I haven’t seen anything about Luxembourg. I admire the wonderful bike rides you and your husband take and long for biking in Europe. It’s just not as safe here and not enough trails.


      • I know researching and transcribing takes a lot of time. I’m sure you are like me and want everything just so before you write the stories. We are getting back to riding after taking a break due to the very hot weather we’ve had these past few weeks.


  2. Amy says:

    Wonderful photographs. Real Americana!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I too love the photos. The big bows make a statement today, in my granddaughter’s hair. I read with interest the newpaper clipping – it contained a piece on the death of Neville Chamberlain’s father. It is so fun when researching one, another of historic interest pops up.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What delightful photos and your description helped me to focus on the many details.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Judy Guion says:

    treeklimber – I loved the pictures, but what really caught my attention is that Anna Jane’s mother was descended from William Bradford. I only discovered that I am descended from him also, within the past year. I guess if your family roots go back far enough, we find common ancestors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • treeklimber says:

      Hello Judy, Yes, if you have a Mayflower ancestor than you likely share some DNA or family connection. My Bradford connection is through his son William and then the family names Adams, Whiting (for 4 generations), Dutton, Orcutt, Beaton, Hyde. Thanks for reading and commenting. It’s fun to know you’re a cousin. Best regards, Kendra


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