A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

History: Decoration Day, Matawan (May 1887)

Matawan's Civil War memorial activities were announced in the 28 May 1887 edition of The Matawan Journal. The customs of closing stores and flying the flag to properly memorialize the dead were emphasized in a trio of Decoration Day articles on Page 2. Note that the US Post Office would be open for half-hour in the morning and again in the evening to accommodate mail service.

The name "Memorial Day" became more popular after World War II and was officially recognized in 1967. The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a Civil War veterans group, initially established the holiday on May 30th because no Civil War battle took place on that date.

Decoration Day Parade

The following arrangements have been made by J. G. Shackelton Post, G. A. R., for the parade next Monday: At 8 A. M. the Post will muster at their room over Griggs' store and headed by the Citizens' Bros Band proceed to Keyport, to unite with the parade there and decorate graves in the two cemeteries near Keyport.

They will return to Matawan at 12, noon, and partake of a oollation in their Post-room. Then the two fire companies of Matawan will form in line with them at 9 P. M., and with the above band in lead will proceed to Rose Hill cemetery, where appropriate services will be held, in which our local clergy will assist. After decorating the graves there, they will return to Matawan and parade to the graveyard at Mt Pleasant and through our principal streets. Returning to the Post-room they will break ranks for the day.

Decoration Day Notes

The Farmers' and Merchants' Bank will be closed on Monday.

The Matawan Journal employees will keep Decoration Day.

Ladies and others are requested to donations of flowers to the Post-room over Griggs' grocery by 9 o'clock Monday morning; or if they will notify any member of the Post, he will call for them. Put out your flags on Monday and give this sign that Matawan appreciates Decoration Day and what it means. Remember the festival by the ladies of the Matawan Baptist Church, in Music Hall, next Monday evening. See advertisement in another column. We give six columns of Decoration Day reading on our first page.

Closing of Stores on Decoration Day

We the undersigned do hereby agree to close our stores on Monday, May 30, at 10 o'clock A. M., in recognition of Decoration Day:

          M. T. Bissell,                      J. B. Woolley,
          Ben E Griggs,                   Mrs E. Lambert,
          Geo. B. Shepherd,             Mrs S. E. Clark,
          Thos. L. Peterman,           C. A. Geran,
          Peterson & Co.,                 E. I. Brown,
          John O'Brien,                     S. Walling & Co.,
         Thos. E. Shepherd,             Smith Bros.,
         E. Emrich,                          A. James,
         Thos. Lupton,                     Mrs. W. A. Dunlop,
         W. A. Fountain,                   Jno. C. Conover,
         L. Cartan & Son,                G. P. Clayton, 
         I. T. Rue & Co.,                  J. S. Harris.

The Matawan post-office will be closed on Decoration Day from 10:30 A. M. to 5:30 P. M. and after 6 P. M.
See also the coverage of the May 1884 parade, which was detailed in this space last year.


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