From the July 4, 1961 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

In the careful and beautiful penmanship of the day, in a memo dated Nov. 15, 1859, and presumably related to Samuel Osborn Jr. of Edgartown, a leading citizen of his day and the whaling agent and owner, one of whose boons to his town was the building of the great house which is now the Charlotte Inn, was recorded this segment of Island history. The data was found among Mr. Osborn’s papers by his granddaughter, Mrs. William T. Reynolds.

He writes that “S. S. Daggett, jailer, born Aug. 20, 1799, related to me that the first celebration of the Fourth of July was observed in Edgartown, July 4, 1777 (when this nation was but a stripling) by Capt. Magee of a privateer sloop mounting 4 six pounders. She arrived in the port on the 3d.

“He asked sundry friends on board to celebrate the anniversary of the Declaration. Quite a number went on board the vessel which was lying between Chabbaquidic Point and Main street. The tide was running in.

“After splicing the main brace, he commenced firing. First the starboard gun. There was a horse block on the end of the point to which was hitched a white horse, with saddle and pillion. At the first discharge the horse took fright and ran as for life, the saddle and pillion fluttering in the breeze, much to the amusement of all who witnessed it.

“Overcome with laughter, Capt. Magee sat down on the deck crying out give him another gun. The horse was soon out of sight in the woods which, at that time, grew close down to the beach.”

Today is the day parade-lovers have been waiting for. At 6 p.m. the biggest Fourth of July parade in recent years will begin, with drum beats, cymbal clashes and bugle fanfares, its course around the streets of Edgartown.

Many patriotic groups and other organizations will be joining the sponsoring units, the Martha’s Vineyard Post, American Legion, the Edgartown Firemen’s Association and the Edgartown Police Benevolent Association, in the line of march. And an additional military flair will be derived from the platoons of sailors from the USS Borie, the Navy destroyer visiting Edgartown harbor, and midshipmen from the Naval Academy at Annapolis who are cruising this summer on the vessel.

The parade will form in front of the Edgartown School on the West Tisbury road, and will come down Main street to North Water street. It will proceed all the way out to the Harbor View Hotel and then cut over to Fuller street to come back to the center of town by Morse street and Pease’s Point Way. Then it will come down Main street once more. At the parking lot at the foot of Main street, the street dance will be held after the parade.

A reviewing stand for dignitaries has been erected in front of the Methodist Church.

As soon as darkness falls sufficiently, the traditional fireworks display, sponsored by the firemen’s association, will be shot off from Chappaquiddick Point.

The air above the Vineyard was full of planes the first three days of the holiday weekend, bringing in hundreds of people in addition to the throngs who came to the Island by seagoing craft. Although yesterday was a slack day, the airline and charter services expected the air travel to be heavy again today and tomorrow, when many people have to return to mainland occupations.

“Heavy, heavy, heavy,” said a weary voice on the Northeast Airlines telephone, when the Gazette asked for a report on the first half of the long holiday activities. All Northeast flights destined for the Vineyard on Friday, Saturday and Sunday were pretty well loaded with passengers, and all flights away from the Vineyard today and tomorrow are booked solid.

On Friday alone, National Executive Flight Service brought in 47 passengers, a number that does not include shorter local flights. On Saturday, the volume was nearly as great. Three Comanches and two Aero Commanders were kept busy all that time.

Up through yesterday, there had been between 25 and 40 planes arriving every day since Friday at Katama Airpark, many from New Jersey and New York and one from Canada. Steve Gentle, the manager of the

More than 60 private planes landed at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport during the opening days of the weekend. Trade Winds Flying Service in Oak Bluffs also reported a story of intense activity in private plane traffic and charter flights, in addition to many sight seeing flights over the Vineyard.

Fortunately for the people of who were counting on air travel to get to the Vineyard for the holidays, the weather held good for flying. What’s more, good weather is being forecast for the remainder of the holiday period.

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox