The Way We WereThe 4th of July
Here's how Independence Day was celebrated by First Church on July 4, 1876. Reprinted from The Bristol Press:
"Mr. Smith began the centennial week by giving us on Sabbath morning a discourse on our duties as American citizens, and the cause we have as a nation at this time for Thanksgiving to Almighty God, and he requested citizens as far as possible to decorate with flags during the day and Chinese lanterns at night around their dwellings.
Morning service was held July 4th at 8 o'clock. The desk was beautifully decorated with flag, mottoes and flowers. To describe it would be to paint the sunbeams. The blending of colors, red, white and blue, interspersed with green and flowers, made a fine effect. Above the pulpit made of green leaves, having suspended a representation of the bell hung at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. On the right the British and on the left the American flags, also the mottos of the state, 'Qui transtulit sustinet,' with the name of Washington, golden stars, etc. filled the spaces. The whole effect was very fine."