Dec. 6, 1876, was a Saturday, and as the day got underway in Washington, Americans still did not know who the winner of the previous month’s presidential election was. A commission established by Congress ultimately decided in favor of popular-vote loser Rutherford B. Hayes in the new year. A few weeks before, Boss Tweed was brought to justice for the rampant corruption he oversaw in New York, and just the day before, as many as 300 people were killed in a fire at the Brooklyn Theater.

In the course of 1876, Alexander Graham Bell received a patent for the telephone and Thomas Edison received a patent for a duplicating machine dubbed a mimeograph. On that Saturday morning, however, residents of Washington and scores of visitors from afar were marching up what was then called Gallows Hill to witness a spectacle that had been denounced as unholy and repulsive.

Staff Writer

Brad Hundt came to the Observer-Reporter in 1998 after stints at newspapers in Georgia and Michigan. He serves as editorial page editor, and has covered the arts and entertainment and worked as a municipal beat reporter.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article. See official rules here.

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. If you have a subscription, please Log In.