“The tiger passions of red and white demons stimulated by British gold, chagrined by previous defeat and actuated by greed, broke forth in fiendish fury on the fair valley of Wyoming, sets the secret night of French terrors in the shade by its terrible and thrilling action.” This was how the Scranton Republican on July 3, 1878 describe the Battle of Wyoming which took place on July 3, 1778. .
A grand event was held in Wyoming on July 3, 1878 to commemorate the events mentioned above when loyalist to British rule and Iroquois killed 360 men, women and children when they attacked Forty Fort / Wyoming section of the Wyoming Valley .
The paper detailed the events of the day starting with the arrivals of dignitaries at 9am. The morning function included a musical selection by the 500 member Centennial Choir and speeches by Hon. I.A. Chapman, Hon. E.L. Dana and Steuben Jenkins. The commemoration picked back up at 2pm with the readings of poetry by Jesse Harding and Steuben Jenkins. The Rev. E.H. Snowden ended the afternoon program with a prayer.
The events of the day would pick up again at 8:30 with the arrival of President Rutherford B Hayes. President Hayes along with Mrs. Hayes and their two sons B.A. & W.C Hayes, Secretary of the Treasury John Sherman, Attorney General Charles Devens, Pennsylvania Gov. John Hartranft and his wife and four children arrived by train and were greeted by a committee made up of the Rev. Abel Barker, Dr. D.H. Throop and prominent men of Wilkes-Barre and Wyoming. The Scranton City Guard was tapped to be the president’s military escort during his time in the Wyoming Valley.
The President addressed the crowd that was estimated at 50,000. President Hayes remarked that the action of the daring warriors and accomplished statesmen of 100 years ago should be celebrated. He also took a moment to mark the life of Lt. Col. George Custer at the end of his speech.
To this day, a commemoration of the Battle of Wyoming takes places at the Wyoming Monument is held every year. For information about the commemoration visit the Wyoming Commemorative Association Facebook page.
“Jottings of the Day”
Besides capturing the details of the numerous speeches and events of the commemoration, reporters also were able to rely back some more interesting items from Wyoming. Here are a few: a marked absence of drunkenness on the grounds, a two legged calf was present at the grounds, people were able to purchase miniature Wyoming monuments, ice water stations were set up to feed the thirst of the panting multitudes, and peanuts the “size of an elephants foot” were available for purchase.
To read more about the Battle of Wyoming check out these links:
Battle of Wyoming — ExplorePAHistory.com — http://explorepahistory.com/hmarker.php?markerId=1-A-17B
Battle of Wyoming — PA Center for the Book — http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/BattleWyoming.html
Wyoming: a record of the one hundredth year commemorative observance of the battle & massacre — Internet Archives — http://archive.org/details/wyomingrecordofo01wyom