MOUNT VERNON -- It was 100 years ago, just after the Independence Day celebrations, but Mount Vernon was not quite ready to settle down to the usual activities of summer.
Granted, there was a temptation to take to the roads and fly at wild speeds, since the state of Ohio's previous top rural speed limit of 30 miles per hour had just been abolished a few days earlier.
Martin Spohn, of West Sugar Street, was most surely ready to get the holiday past himself, as he had badly burned himself with a firecracker that went off while he was attempting to light it.
And not least of all, an unnamed female reporter for the Mount Vernon Democratic Banner created a stir when she decided to take a dip in the Kokosing at Riverside Park on the Fourth of July, and wore a bathing suit under her street clothes so she could do so.
She slipped into the woods and slipped off her dress, stockings, and straw hat —,probably not in that order —,and ran to the river. After splashing about for some time, she noticed, to her horror, that a cow had wandered up, and was in the process of finishing that tasty straw hat as an appetizer.
Before the reporter could splash ashore, the cow had feasted upon her silk stockings, too. By the time she arrived to defend her modesty, the hungry cow was attempting to swallow the young lady's dress, and succeeded in eating the sleeve.
The Banner joked that the reporter had to make her way home in a barrel to avoid scandal.
But the main order of business on July 8, 1919, was the biggest parade Mount Vernon had ever seen. It was the homecoming day for the area's soldiers and sailors who had fought in the Great War — the one we now call World War One because of later events.
Thousands of people turned out to witness the parade of soldiers through downtown to Riverside Park, jamming all the roads into Mount Vernon with automobiles, horses, and buggies as they all came to town for the big day.
“The public square was a kaleidoscope of colors. Flags of all nations, mingled with the green of trees and grass of the park and the gaily decorated buildings, gave an enchanted appearance to the entire view,” said the editorial in the Banner.
Captain Julius W. Headington lead the world war veterans, while survivors of the Civil War and Spanish-American War marched as well, along with drum corps, bands (including Garfield Snow's Silver Cornet Band), labor unions, Red Cross nurses, and fraternal orders. After ending at Riverside Park, the parade was followed by speeches and a baseball game between artillery and infantry veterans.
Another parade was scheduled for the evening with bands, dancing, and fireworks on the square, completing one of the liveliest celebrations Mount Vernon has ever known.