Orange County, North Carolina historic information cache - The 1919 Orange County veteran's parade
The 1919 Orange County veteran's parade
 
 
Part of the parade, on King Street crossing Churton Street
Part of the parade, on King Street crossing Churton Street (view northwest)
 
On July 16, 1919, a public parade and picnic for returning veterans took place in Hillsborough; Chapel Hill had previously held a parade on May 10, but not all of the soldiers, marines, and sailors had returned yet by then, so the county wanted to hold another, larger, parade. There were several calls for donations from the public to fund the event, and the local mills and several businesses closed for the day.

The celebration began with a brass band playing (the Durham Hosiery Mill Band and the Chapel Hill Colored Band performed at various times throughout the day) at the Baptist church (at the southwest corner of Wake and King streets) at 10:00 am; by 10:30 the soldiers and sailors (in uniform) assembled at the church; soon afterwards they marched to the courthouse. The parade formation consisted of (in order): Red Cross workers; then local Boy Scouts; then white soldiers and sailors; and lastly black soldiers and sailors. Once they reached the courthouse, at 11:30, North Carolina Governor Thomas W. Bickett gave an address, and several mostly local former Army officers gave speeches.

At 1:30 pm, a free dinner (a.k.a. lunch, consisting of barbecue, ham, chickens, numerous sides, and cream and cake for dessert) was given at Cameron Park for the white soldiers and sailors; the black soldiers and sailors (and black Red Cross workers) had a "precisely similar dinner" at the "colored school house" (on Orange Street west of Wake Street). And, a "special invitation" was extended to all "old soldiers of '61" (i.e. Civil War veterans).

At 4:00 pm there was a play conducted at a purpose-built wooden stage at Cameron Park about the Regulators, titled Esther Wake; or, The Spirit of the Regulators. It was written and directed by UNC professor Adolph Vermont, and performed by the University Summer School.
 
Map showing route of the parade and other locations associated with the celebration
 
Map showing route of the parade and other locations associated with the celebration
Map showing route of the parade and other locations associated with the celebration
 
 
Sources:

Cameron, Annie S. A Record of the War Activities in Orange County, North Carolina, 1917-1919.

Lefler, Hugh T. and Paul W. Wager. Orange County, 1752-1952. Chapel Hill: The Orange Print Shop, 1953.

The News (Chapel Hill/Orange County). July 3, 10, and 24, 1919.
 
 
 
[Created: 19 June 2009; Last updated: 14 September 2010]