From: Lorain County News, April 14, 1870,


Celebration of the Fifteenth Amendment

The brightness of the past is eclipsed by the glory of the present. It is said that history repeats itself, but another such day as the sixth of April, 1870, can certainly never occur in this country but once--it may be repeated when the Sixteenth Amendment id proclaimed to be the supreme law of the land, (and this will come, the one hundred and forty obstructions of Lorain to the contrary notwithstanding).

The beautiful weather added n little to the enjoyment of the celebration on Wednesday of last week. The officers of the day were as follows:

John Watson, President; Andrew Edwards, Hiram Pease, Garrison Chambers, John Thomas, Vice Presidents; Rev. J. B. Sackett, Chaplain; Wm. T. Henderson, Secretary.

The exercises of the day were inaugurated with a national salute at sunrise; and the thunder echoing on the clear morning air told us, not that independence was declared, but that independence was attained.

An incident of the forenoon my here be mentioned. When the train conveying the remains of General Thomas to their last resting place was passing through the village, the flag was lowered to half mast, minute guns were fired, and the bell was tolled; all reminding us that it was a day of mourning as well as a day of rejoicing. The multitude of April days of the past decade, bringing alternate joy and sadness, or mingling both emotions, were forcibly brought before us, and we seemed to stand in the presence of this fearful and wonderful history of suffering and triumph of the citizen, the nation, and the race of man.

A thanksgiving meeting was well attended at the First Church in the afternoon, the details of which would interest our readers were we able to give them. There was indeed thanksgiving. While the trials of the past heightened the joy of the present, still the spirit which pervaded every heart appeared to find expression in "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto they name give glory." It was a pleasant and profitable meeting, and continued several hours.

At 6 o'clock, P. M., a salute of 29 guns was fired, in honor of the states which had ratified the Amendment.


The meeting for the evening was appointed for 7 1/2 o'clock, but before the hour arrived the "Big Church" was filled to its utmost capacity, and many were obliged to stand during the evening. After an invocation by the chaplain, Mr. James Storm read the Proclamation of the Secretary of State, and the President's Message. Prof. Judson Smith then delivered the opening address. He spoke of the gloomy days of the past, the labor and sufferings of the few who were laboring against fearful odds, hoping against hope, contending with human slavery. Some who had borne the burdens of reproach and persecution were sleeping in martyr's graves; others still lived to rejoice in the triumph of the cause they espoused--the cause of humanity and the cause of God. That day brought good to all, and ruin to none. We might well stand an (sic.) the shore of the Red Sea through which we had passed, and "sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously."

Rev. W. C. French, having been invited to speak, side he had just received a poem which was written by a colored boy in an Episcopal Mission school in Philadelphia, which he thought worthy of place on the evening, and which he wished to read as a substitute for his own speech. He read the poem with spirit and earnestness, showing that he was in sympathy with the heart of the writer. It was indeed a proclamation of merit, and was well received by the vast audience.

Prof. J. M. Ellis was introduced and spoke of the marvelous changes of the few last years. Only eleven years ago the present month twenty of Oberlin's best citizens were incarcerated in the Cleveland jail for expressing sympathy for a fellow man. They had rescued from the kidnapper and slave-catcher one who was guilty of the crime of being black. Some of them had gone to their reward before the dawning of this glorious morning--Prof. Peck and James Fitch among them--others were rejoicing that day at what their eyes beheld. This change was indeed not the work of man but the work of God. The door of progress was now opened before the colored citizen, and it was for him to prove by his own efforts and developments that the Amendment is a blessing.