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I found this neat old photograph last spring in Pennsylvania. It is albumen mounted on cardboard and measures approximately 6x8 inches. The photo depicts a festive parade (Decoration Day/4th of July?) in a rural town, but I am at a loss at identifying the particular group marching in the parade. Any insight?
Some observations: I find it interesting that there is a specific uniform worn by both the men and the children, and that female children are actually part of the ensemble. The men all carry swords and seem to wear a ribbon and badge on their jackets. Their banner depicts a man on a horse who is not wearing the same uniform. Is this a reference to cavalry, or something more ceremonial than literal? If it were cavalry, I'd expect them to hold sabers instead of straight swords. There is also a wooden eagle totem being carried. I had a hard time counting the number of stars on the flags as they are blurry from movement, but I think there might be 45, which dates the image between 1896 and 1908.
I notice two things...the American flags appear to have different numbers of stars on them and the rider on horseback flag almost looks like a native American.
Oh, good! I'm glad you think that too about the Native American. I wasn't sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me.
They look rather like "constables" or police officers? Then some of the white hats look like the ones worn by whirling dervishes? The hats, in general say 1880-1920 in my humble opinion...but something is odd about this group.
To have a native American on the flag, Carrying two large American flags, to be carrying a huge wooden eagle, and yet a few of the white outfits almost look Russian with those waist sashes...hmmmm, it almost seems like it's from another country, or something. I'll have to keep staring at it.
The boys on the side are wearing Little Ford Fauntleroy suits. It says they were based off a character in a novel from 1886 (and made into a movie in 1936). It said boys dressed like that until they reached puberty and then were dressed like "miniature adults".
With the flags my guess would be that some folks had older "versions." New statehood was still pretty rampant at that time, so it was probably hard to keep up with one's stars! lol
As for the clothing, maybe there was some Zouave-like influence, at least with the sashed girl's dresses.
Well Gals, I'm afraid I can't answer for certain, but something that crossed my mind right away, due to the way the women are dressed, and the kids, is Salvation Army!
They were a very big religious organization for many years, before becoming strictly a rescue type service org. "Salvation Station" I seem to remember something about, and I know they always had a band, as part of their "army". I hope that can help you a little bit. The other thought I came up with is "Knights of Columbus" I don't think that's right though, cus I think It was mainly for men. But other religious type service orders might also be clues?
If I have more time, I do what I can to search around for the badges/eagle or etc. Good Luck!
GAHH, Just had another thought, as I was about to sign off, LOL. What about the Fraternal order of EAGLES? We have a club right down the street from our house? I'm in MI. But I know that Eagles did lots of work with American Vets, and still do, I think?
The time line fits, I don't have time right now to read it all, but I'll check back if I find anything else tonight!
This is what came to mind when I first saw the picture. This is an undated early photo of the St. Louis police.
Or the Joplin police department
Their hats look quite similar. Maybe the "colorful" belt is ceremonial, like the sword?
The man on horseback reminded me of emblem often shown for the confederate states of america deo vindice. I've seen many variations of this image, with and without the wreath as well as colour variations of the horse, rider and even uniform, however, I do notice in the old photo there appears to be a dark dot on/above the horseback riders head. This could just be a mark on the photo, though its position is rather coincidental if that is the case.
Though I also admit, I know diddley squat anything to do with the united states political or military history. I certainly wouldn't recognise the uniforms which would help immensely with narrowing down a date.
Only Trouble there Michael is that Pennsylvania was Union side. :) Confederate states were those in the Southern USA. That flag is awfully close though!
Well, I think I proved my "diddley squat" statement about how much I know of the united states political or military history then.