Sandburg's Hometown

June 16, 2014

Mock Funeral Procession for President Ulysses S. Grant, Galesburg, IL.
Mock funeral parade for President Ulysses S. Grant, Galesburg, IL-August 8, 1885


by Barbara Schock

In his autobiography, Always the Young Strangers, Carl Sandburg described three kinds of parades he witnessed as a youth.

The first parade of which he wrote occurred in October, 1884. It was a Republican rally during the campaign for president between James G. Blaine and Grover Cleveland. Members of the local Republican party marched during the evening carrying lighted torches and chanting Blaine's name. They marched north on Seminary Street and turned west on Main Street to the Public Square.

August Sandburg told his son that James G. Blaine was a Republican and Grover Cleveland was a Democrat and they were competing to be the most important leader in the country. The Republicans were sure Blaine would be victorious. A few weeks later, Grover Cleveland was elected to the presidency.

Former Civil War general and president Ulysses S. Grant died in July, 1885. The people of Galesburg arranged their own funeral procession to honor his memory. Stores, factories, foundries and the railroad closed for the afternoon. The parade began at the Q. depot on South Seminary Street and turned onto Main Street to the Public Square. The sidewalks were completely filled with people desiring to observe the procession. Carl, at age seven and a half, sat on his father's shoulders in order to see.

The parade marshal on a horse with silver trappings lead the long line of marchers. He was followed by uniformed Galesburg policemen and public officials dressed in black suits marching four abreast. Members of the Grand Army of the Republic, who were veterans of the Union Army, walked beside a long black box on a black car pulled by eight black horses. It represented the coffin of General Grant.

Each division of the parade was led by a musical group: a fife and drum corps, the Galesburg Marine Band and the Negro Silver Cornet Band. The music played was slow and sad. There were several cannons pulled by horses. A flag-bearer brought the parade to an end. It was said the parade was the longest ever seen in Galesburg.

On happier occasions, circus parades moved from the Q. depot to the fairgrounds on East Main Street. There were bands, some wagons containing wild animals and others carrying circus performers, appealing to the observers to come to the show under the big tent. Young Carl Sandburg was sure to be on hand for the circus parades if he wasn't working at some menial job.

The origin of parades probably goes back to the mists of time. Public processions were part of military celebrations which demonstrated a leader's power. Then, they became associated with fairs and festivals. Today we can enjoy parades on patriotic holidays. We can watch holiday parades on television from across the nation. We can watch Olympic parades from around the world. And, every four years, we can watch an Inaugural Parade conducted in Washington, D.C., which includes thousands of participants from across the land.


Sandburg's Hometown
Date Title
June 16, 2014 Parades
June 9, 2014 Lingonberries
June 2, 2014 Where We Live
May 26, 2014 Old Main
May 19, 2014 Rhythms of the Railroad
May 12, 2014 Spring Tonic
May 5, 2014 The Milkmen
April 28, 2014 Gray's "Elegy..."
April 21, 2014 Off to War
April 14, 2014 Swedish Easter
April 7, 2014 A Father's Face
March 31, 2014 Secret Societies
March 24, 2014 George A. Murdock, Merchant
March 10, 2014 Trade Cards
March 3, 2014 The Demorest Medal
February 24, 2014 Rip Van Winkle
February 17, 2014 Cabbage Soup
February 10, 2014 Lincoln's Birthday
February 3, 2014  The Colonel
January 27, 2014 The Lincoln Penny - A Little History
January 20, 2014 Walking to Work
January 13, 2014  A Small Abode
January 6, 2014 Birth of a Poet
December 30, 2013 Christmas 1880
December 23, 2013 Swedish Christmas
December 16, 2013 The Reporter Sees Santa
December 9, 2013 The Coming of Christmas
December 2, 2013 The Fire Boys Talk
November 25, 2013 Galesburg Will Feast on Turkeys and Cranberries - Thanksgiving 1893
November 18, 2013  Mary Sandburg Johnson
November 11, 2013 Carl Sandburg's Bicycle
November 4, 2013  Lace Curtains 
October 28, 2013 The Front Room
October 21, 2013 A Warm Breakfast
October 14, 2013 Marion D. Shutter
October 7, 2013 Cigars and Consumption
September 30, 2013 Forrest F. Cooke & August Sandburg
September 16, 2013 Forrest F. Cooke, Mayor
September 9, 2013 Dusty Streets
September 2, 2013 Typhoid Fever
August 26, 2013 Coffee and Water
August 19, 2013 A Horse! A Horse!
August 12, 2013 Gaddial Scott
August 5, 2013 The Racetrack
July 29, 2013 John Peter Algeld - Part II
July 22, 2013 John Peter Altgeld - Part I
July 15, 2013 Tramps, Tramps, Tramps
July 8, 2013 Lady Liberty
July 1, 2013 Galesburg's Fourth
June 24, 2013 John H. Finley
June 17, 2013 The World's Columbian Exhibition
June 10, 2013 Fruit Short-Cake
June 3, 2013 Horatio Alger, Author
May 27, 2013 Memorial Day, 1887
May 20, 2013 Professor Jon W. Grubb
May 13, 2013 Beginnings of Lombard University
May 6, 2013 Young Sandburg’s View of Lombard College
April 29, 2013 Thinking
April 22, 2013 Robert Colville, Master Mechanic
April 15, 2013 The Galesburg Opera House
April 8, 2013 Grocery Stores and Sample Rooms
April 1, 2013  A Hearty  Breakfast 
March 25, 2013  The Lost Wallpaper Legend 
March 18, 2013 Martin G. Sandburg
March 4, 2013 The Edison Talking Machine
February 25, 2013 Joe Elser, Civil War Veteran
February 18, 2013 Remember the Maine...
February 11, 2013 Lincoln's Birthday
February 4, 2013 Curiosity