A parade in Columbia 1866.

Daily Alta California, June 21, 1852 SABBATH SCHOOLS. - We understand that the Sabbath Schools of Sonora, Columbia, Shaw's Flat, and Springfield meet in the woods, between the Flat and Springfield, on the morning of the 4th of July, and we learn will mingle in the ceremonies at Columbia. They will doubtless constitute one of the most interesting portions of the celebration. - Sonora Herald.
The citizens of Columbia propose to celebrate the coming anniversaries with appropriate and joyous festivities. It is thought that the miners for many miles around will assemble at Columbia to participate in the ceremonies.
[From Pg. 2 Col. 5;(reprinted) Weekly Alta California, June 26, 1852, Pg. 4 Col. 4]

Stockton Journal of July 2, 1852 "As the Fourth comes on Sunday, the following day (Monday the 5th) will be observed instead". Columbia likewise, in respect towards the Observance of the Sabbath, moves it's festivities to July 5th.

Stockton Journal, July 2,1852
Thanks for an invitation to a Fourth of July Ball at Columbia, Tuolumne county. Nothing would give us greater pleasure than to attend, were it possible for us to leave Stockton, on the occasion. Judge Tuttle and Carley and J. W. Coffroth, Esq., are among the Managers.

[From Pg. 2 Col. 4; (reprinted) Stockton Journal Steamer Edition, July 13, 1852, Pg. 4 Col. 5]

San Joaquin Republican, July 3, 1852 We are making great preparations for the celebration of the 4th of July. The large amphitheatre has been engaged for the occasion, which is capable of seating over 3000 people. The arrangements for a grand procession are upon the most extensive scale, and if the day is propitious, a magnificent display may be expected.
[From Pg. 2 Col. 5; Excerpt from a letter dated, "Columbia, June 30, 1852." and signed, "LENNOX".]


Columbia, July 8, 1852.
The anniversary of American Independence was appropriately celebrated in this town, on Monday last, by a grand civic procession, public dinner, &c. The line was formed at 11 o'clock, and the spectacle was grand and imposing. It is estimated that from five to eight thousand persons participated in the festivities. The Miners, Masons, Firemen, Schools, Temperance Societies and Military, marshalled in distinct bodies. But the most unique and interesting portion of the procession, was a 'long tom' in full operation mounted on a cart, and a wheelbarrow drawn by some two or three sturdy delvers, upon which was piled, a 'pork and beans' pot, and all the other culinary apparatus of a miner's cabin. The town, too, wore a holiday suit, our national standard floated from every flag-staff, while across the streets were spread triumphal arches, strings of banners, &c. When the immense body of people were in motion, it presented one of the most thrillingly beautiful sights which I ever beheld. About forty ladies and one hundred children graced the line, and their white dresses and neat appearances contrasted singularly with the peculiar garb of the sterner sex.

The procession moved to the amphitheatre where an interesting oration was delivered by James W. Coffroth, and the declaration read by Dr. A. Campbell. The speaker was frequently applauded. It is estimated that over five thousand persons were in the amphitheatre, and I am glad to say the best order and decorum were manifested throughout the ceremonies.

A dinner was prepared for the Masons at the Loring house, where 150 partook of the good things of the mountains. The ladies were similarly provided for at the Church; and the mass of the people dined under an arbor in the woods. While the procession was moving, a company of artillery, under the command of Thomas N. Cazeneau, made the hills reverberate with a continued booming of cannon. Great praise is due Capt. C. for his energy and activity; his house the 'Columbia Exchange,' was almost hidden beneath the folds of a hundred flags. of flowers and evergreen. In the evening, Capt. C., gave a magnificent display of fire-works in his gardens, and at a later hour, a brilliant soiree in his large theatre saloon, where beauty, wit and hilarity reigned supreme. A very elegant ball was given at the Loring house, which was graced by the presence of from 40 to 50 ladies. And thus closed one of the most enthusiastic celebrations which has ever been known in California. Not a single incident occurred to mar the harmony of the festivities - not even a breach of the peace was witnessed.

[From the San Joaquin Republican, July 10, 1852, Pg. 2 Col. 6; Excerpt from letter dated, "COLUMBIA. July 8, 1852." and signed "LENNOX".]


Columbia, July 5, 1852.
Mr. Editor: - This has been a great day for the miners. Independence has been celebrated here in a manner not only to astonish the natives, but also the Mexicans and Chinese. I think the Americans are something when they do have a dia de fiesta or grand function.

The day was ushered in with a national salute from a brass field-piece, which by some means, has found its way into the mountains. According to previous arrangements, at precisely ten o'clock, the procession was formed at the chapel and proceeded through the principal streets to the large amphitheater. This was the first thing of the kind ever attempted in this county, and reflects great credit upon the citizens of Columbia. In the first place; was the Hook and Ladder Company proceeded by a fine band of music; they were followed by a school from Sonora, and another from Shaws Flat, each with a banner, an interesting sight for the mines. Next came the ladies, some forty strong, God bless them. The Masonic fraternity in their splendid regalia and with several banners made an imposing appearance, they numbered near one hundred; they were followed by the miners, one of them wheeling a barrow in which was the miners 'kit' and cooking utensils, others had a 'long-tom' mounted upon wheels which they dragged triumphantly along, which one of their number mounted upon the top, was busily engaged in with his shovel. The cavalcade from Jamestown and Camp Seco, made a fine appearance; they were preceded by a band and flags.

The Amphitheatre was built for bull fighting, and was generously tendered to the committee of arrangements. No better place could have been selected, for all were seated, and all could see and hear. The exercises were commenced by a prayer; after which the delegation from Jamestown entered, and were welcomed with three hearty cheers; they carried a splendid banner, upon which was painted the arms of the State with the motto 'Eureka' upon the top; underneath 'Our Country, right or wrong.' The company were dressed in red shirts and glazed caps, and made a fine appearance, proudly displaying their implements of labor, which were a pick and shovel.

The Declaration of Independence was well read. J. W. COFFROTH was then introduced bythe president; he was enthusiastically received, and for about an hour he riveted the attention of the large audience. It was an oration worthy of the man and worthy of the occasion; he was frequently and loudly cheered during its delivery, and at its close a shout went up that fairly made the mountains ring. After the address, the procession re-formed and marched a little out of town to the collation.

In the afternoon, the town was visited by a fine cavalcade from Springfield, numbering near seventy horsemen, each with a badge upon his hat. The day was finished by a splendid display of fireworks from the public garden, and a most splendid affair it was, too. There has been but little fighting, and everything passed off as well, or much better, than could have been expected.

Yours, truly,

[From the San Joaquin Republican, July 10, 1852, Pg. 3 Col. 1.]

ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION IN THE MINES. - The recent Anniversary of Independence appears to have been generally observed in the mining districts, and in some of the more populous regions celebrated with considerable pretension to grandeur and display. On the first page of this paper will be found an account of the festivities in Columbia, which is believed to have been the most enthusiastic, and in point of numbers and display, the grandest ever held in the mines. Not the least interesting feature of the parade on the occasion, was a turn out of miners, with their utensils and machines in operation. In other parts of the country the day was duly honored by the usual patriotic testimonials of jubilee and rejoicing.

[From the Weekly Alta California, July 10, 1852, Pg. 2 Col. 4.]

Grand Anniversary Festival at Columbia.

COLUMBIA, June 6th, 1852.
MESSRS. EDITORS: - I take pleasure in giving you a statement of affairs in Columbia and vicinity, though I cannot furnish your readers with much news. Yesterday was the day set apart by the Committee of Arrangements to celebrate our National Anniversary in Columbia. For some days previous our citizens had invited the ladies, citizens, schools, together with the military, and other associations of the surrounding neighborhood to participate in the festival. Early on the morning of the Fifth, the booming cannon awoke us from our slumbers, telling us of our National Birthday. Our citizens were astir early, and determined to make the day pleasant and joyous. Flags, streamers, mottoes, triumphal arches, and every thing which we should expect to see in an old settled and populous city in the States, were displayed. Long before the time of forming the procession Columbia was filled with representatives from all quarters of the globe, to join with our patriotic citizens, and kindle afresh that spirit which is implanted in the breast of every true American, native or adopted. All the carriages, coaches, omnibuses and wagons seemed to be brought into requisition, for the use of the ladies and children of the surrounding country, and indeed they bore precious freight, upon which many a father, brother, and husband looked with pleasure, and felt how joyous it would be to mingle on such a day with those dear ones they had left at home, "sweet home." Again a salute is fired by Capt. Cazenau, who is in command of the Artillery Company, and this was the signal for the formation of the procession. The band struck up its martial music, and soon the procession is on the move in the following order:

Chief Marshal; Band of Music; Hook and Ladder Company with their Apparatus; Band of Music; American Colors-Cap of Liberty; President of the day; Vice Presidents and Secretaries; Committee of Arrangements; Second Marshal; Chaplain of the Day; Reader of the Declaration; Orator of the day; Invited Guests; Ladies and the Children of the Different Schools; Order of Masons in full regalia; Springfield Cavalry; Camp Seco Cavalry; Jamestown Cavalry; Columbia Cavalry; Citizens of Columbia and vicinity; Citizens on foot.

The procession moved from the Church down Broadway to State street, down State to Main street, down Main to Washington, up Washington to Broadway, to State, to Fulton, and up Fulton to the Amphitheatre, in which the persons composing the procession were comfortably seated-particular care having been taken for the ladies and children. At this juncture there was a great rush at the entrance, where something was taking place that is not in the bills:

Escort - two Miners with Crow Bars; Music; Quartz Miners with their Tools- crow bars, picks, shovels, and drilling apparatus; Miners with wheelbarrows and shovels; Miners' cooking utensils; Long Tom, in full operation, mounted on wheels, drawn by miners- miners each having his tools.

The audience was taken by surprise, for the whole was formed in less time than it has taken to write it. Every miner entered into the spirit of it, and to their honor be it said, they were the largest, most orderly and respectable portion of the procession. On entering the Amphitheatre, three cheers were given to the miners by four or five thousand voices, which made the welken ring; afterwards, three for the cavalry and three for the ladies and children.

Music by the band, "Hail Columbia." Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Smith. Reading of the Declaration of Independence by Dr. A. Campbell. Music by the band. Oration by the Hon. James W. Coffroth. Benediction by Capt. Cook, who is over eighty years of age; by his side was seated Capt. Cazenau, eighty-seven years old, both having hair as white as snow, but are hale and hearty, and enjoyed themselves very much - one a bearer of the American colors and the other of the cap of liberty. Three cheers were given for the oration of the day. The oration was replete with historical facts, and contained a fund of information on all the principal topics of the present and past.

After the Benediction the Procession formed as before and retraced their previous movements to the Church, where the Ladies and Children separated to partake of a collation prepared for them under the direction of the Committee of Arrangements.

The balance of the Procession proceeded to the Arbour where dinner was prepared by Louis & Field. The tables were filled to overflowing.

The festival is said to have been the best ever got up in the mines, both in extent and the manner in which it was conducted. The Masons turned out in full regalia, and presented a grand appearance. After dinner the Marshals, Music, Hook and Ladder Company, and Cavalry, escorted the Ladies and Children, who were seated in carriages, to Springfield.

At night, the splendid gardens fitted up by Captain Cazenau, at great expense, with good taste, were illuminated, having a band of music playing all the evening, and a splendid display of fire-works. The gardens were crowded, and are the most picturesque of anything of the kind in the State. They are furnished with the most beautiful scenery, representing rocks, mountains, caves, and buildings of various descriptions, whilst in the centre of the gardens is a fine fountain throwing up pure cold water, which in this dry and thirsty land is a novel sight. The grounds are laid off with much taste, and around the sides are arbors for refreshments. Such a resort has been much wanted here, and is highly creditable and praiseworthy to the parties who have designed and executed it. I am certain that the public will the effort, and give the gardens that patronage they so well deserve.

In the evening two splendid balls were given, and I am informed were well attended by the lovers of the dance. - J. H.

[From the Daily Alta California, July 10, 1852, Pg.1 Col. 6; (reprinted) Weekly Alta California, July 10, 1852, Pg. 1 Col. 1; (reprinted) The Alta California, Per Steamer Northerner, July 13, 1852, Pg. 1 Col. 1.]

The Fourth in the Mountains.
SONORA.- That excellent miners' paper, the Sonora Herald, contains a long account of the celebration of the Fourth, in Columbia and Springfield. "Sonora," says the Herald, "had no celebration; for the recent calamity has weighed so heavily upon her inhabitants, that the preparations which would otherwise have been made were all nipped in the bud. However, her citizens flocked readily to the surrounding villages, mingling in their processions and joining in their ceremonies."

COLUMBIA.- The Herald says that the celebration in Columbia was by far the greatest demonstration yet made in Tuolumne county. It was participated in, from first to last, by from six to eight thousand persons. At 11 o'clock a procession formed in the following order:- Chief Marshal, Capt. T. M. Burt- Music- Columbia Hook and Ladder Company, No. 1- Cap of Liberty-American Standard- Committee of Arrangements- Reader, Orator and Chaplain- Music- Citizens- Columbia Cavalry- Masonic Order- Cavalry from Jamestown, Campo Seco, &c- Miners, from Woods' Crossing, with music and banners- Miners armed with shovel and pick- Music- Quartz miners, with utensils- cooking apparatus- Music- A Long Tom, on , in full operation. The ceremonies at the Amphitheatre, where there were from 4,500 to 5000 persons, were as follows: Prayer, by Rev. Mr. Smith- The Declaration- Oration, by J. W. Coffroth, Esq.- Benediction. At the church, a dinner was prepared for the ladies. The Masons dined at the Loring House, and the main body were entertained in a grove near town. In the evening, the Columbia Gardens were brilliantly illuminated, and Capt. Cazneau took the town by surprise, with a grand display of fireworks. The finale was a grand ball at the Loring House. There were some thirty or forty American ladies present, of the first respectability, and a large representation of the beaux of Columbia Sonora and vicinity.

SPRINGFIELD.- At Springfield, after the reading of the Declaration, an Oration was delivered by Mr. J. Harrington. After the oration, speeches were made by Rev. Mr. Long and Mr. Chamberlain. A barbecue followed.

[From the Stockton Journal, July 13, 1852, Pg. 2 Col. 5; (reprinted) Stockton Journal, Steamer Edition, July 13, 1852, Pg. 3 Col. 4.]

To Mary Ann Booth
July, 1852.
No. 2d. I passed the 4th (5th) of July in Columbia. I will send you an account of it in the Sonora Herald and therefore will say nothing of it here, save that it was a spirited affair and that the miners with there wheelbarrow and log tom (an impromptu part got up by themselves) entered into it with such ardor as nearly to turn the whole thing, unintentionally of course, into a burlesque. I saw the big grizzly bear, "Gen. Scott," in his cage but did not attend any of his fights with bulls.

[Excerpt from Edmond Booth, Forty-Niner, San Joaquin Pioneer and Historical Society, Stockton 1953, Pg. 61.]

Borthwick Remembers.

On the 4th of July I went over to Columbia, four miles distant from Sonora, where there were to be great doings, as the latter place had hardly yet recovered from the effects of the fire, and was still in a state of transition. So Columbia, which was nearly as large a town, was to be the place of celebration for all the surrounding country.

Early in the forenoon an immense concourse of people had assembled to take part in the proceedings, and were employing themselves in the mean time in drinking success to the American eagle, in the numerous saloons and barrooms. The town was all stars and stripes, they fluttered over nearly every house, and here and there hung suspended across the street. The day was celebrated in the usual way, with a continual discharge of revolvers, and a vast expenditure of brandy. But this was only the overflowing of individual enthusiasm; the regular programme was a procession, a prayer, and an oration.

The procession was headed by about half-a-dozen ladies and a number of children- the teachers and pupils of a school- who sang hymns at intervals, when the brass band which accompanied them had blown themselves out of breath. They were followed by the freemasons, to the number of a hundred or so, in their aprons and other paraphernalia; and after them came a company of about the same number of horsemen, the most irregular cavalry one could imagine. Whoever could get a four-legged animal to carry him, joined the ranks; and horses, mules, and jackasses were all mixed up together. Next came the Hook and Ladder Company, dragging their hooks and ladders after them in regular firemen fashion; and after them came three or four hundred miners, walking two and two, and dragging, in like manner, by a long rope, a wheelbarrow, in which were placed a pick and shovel, a frying-pan, an old coffee-pot, and a tin cup. They were marshalled by half-a-dozen miners, with long-handled shovels over their shoulders, and all sorts of ribbons tied round their old hats to make a show.

Another mob of miners brought up the rear, drawing after them a long-tom on a pair of wheels. In the tom was a lot of "dirt," which one man stirred up with his shovel, as if he were washing, while a number of others alongside were hard at work throwing in imaginary shovelfuls of dirt.

The idea was pretty good; but to understand the meaning of this gorgeous pageant, it was necessary to be familiar with mining life. The pick and shovel in the wheelbarrow were the emblems of the miners' trade, while the old pots and pans were intended to signify the very rough style of his domestic life, particularly of his cuisine; and the party of miners at work around the long-tom was a representation of the way in which the wealth of the country is wrested from it by all who have stout hearts and willing hands, or stout hands and willing hearts - it amounts to much the same thing.

The procession paraded the streets for two or three hours, and proceeded to the bull-ring, where the ceremonies were to be performed. The bullring here was neither so large nor so well got up as the one at Sonora, but still it could accommodate a very large number of people. As the miners entered the arena with their wheelbarrow and long-tom, they were immensely cheered by the crowds who had already taken their seats, the band in the mean time playing "Hail Columbia" most lustily.

The Declaration of Independence was read by a gentleman in a white neckcloth, and the oration was delivered by the "orator of the day," who was a pale-faced, chubby-cheeked young gentleman, with very white and extensive shirt-collars. He indulged in a great deal of bunkum about the Pilgrim Fathers, and Plymouth Rock, the "blarney-stone of America," as the Americans call it. George the Third and his "red-coated minions" were alluded to in not very flattering terms; and after having exhausted the past, the orator, in his enthusiasm, became prophetic of the future. He fancied he saw a distant vision of a great republic in Ireland, England sunk into insignificance, and all the rest of it.

The speech was full of American and local phraseology, but the richness of the brogue was only the more perceptible from the vain attempt to disguise it. Many of the Americans sitting near me seemed to think that the orator was piling up the agony a little too high, and signified their disapprobation by shouting "Gaas, gaas!" My next neighbour, an old Yankee, informed me that, in his opinion, "them Pilgram Fathers were no better than their neighbours; they left England because they could not have everything their own way, and in America were more intolerant of other religions than any one had been of theirs in England. I know all about 'em," he said, "for I come from right whar they lived."

In the middle of the arena, during the ceremonies, was a cage containing a grizzly bear, who had fought and killed a bull by torchlight the night before. His cage was boarded up, so that he was deprived of the pleasure of seeing what was going on, but he could hear all that was said, and expressed his opinion from time to time by grunting and growling most savagely.

After the oration, the company dispersed to answer the loud summons of the numerous dinner-bells and gongs, and in the afternoon there was a bull-fight, which went off with great éclat.

[Excerpt from 3 Years in California, by J. D. Borthwick, Biobooks, Oakland 1948, Pgs. 288-291. (Originally published by William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh and London 1857).]

Email contact:

Everything you ever wanted to know about Fourth of July in Columbia 1852, via first hand experiences!