Dancing on the Fourth of July

Yes, we will dance in Nelson on the Fourth of July. And here’s a story about another Independence Day dance, thanks to folklorist Fred Field.


The anniversary of our national independence was not forgotten by the early dwellers here, and although at the above date no very extensive “celebration” could be held, yet the scattering population met for a royal good time at the then infant village, and enjoyed themselves to the utmost. A dance was held at Jones’ tavern—the old “Fayette House,”—and from far and near came the patriotic settlers to indulge in the pleasures of the occasion. A certain man, who lived eleven miles away, was there with “his girl,” anticipating a rare treat in measuring time with their feet to the tones of dulcet music which was to be furnished by parties who had been especially engaged to play here on that night. To the disappointment of everybody, the expected musicians failed to put in an appearance, and “gloom was depicted on every countenance.” By some mysterious legerdemain, however, a violin was unearthed, and it was known that our eleven-mile man could play it. Then the faces in the assemblage brightened; the hero of the bow and rosin mounted a chair-back in order to have plenty of elbow room, and the fun began. The well-known notes of ” Money Musk,” “Scotch reel,” ” French four,” and other lively airs, swelled forth upon the summer air as with magic touch the musician plied his bow, and “joy was unconfined.” The feet of the dancers were light, their hearts ditto, and with the passing hours the assemblage continued their evolutions till the gray dawn bade them desist and seek their homes.