Soldier’s Aid Fair

Soldier’s Aid Fair from Lawrence County, Ohio

Submitted by Jimmie Epling

Soldier’s Aid Fair

Ironton (Ohio) Register; Apr. 7, 1864

“Little drop, of rain
Bring the springing flowers,
Aud I may attain
Much by little powers.

Every little mite,
Every little measure,
Helps to spread the light,
Helps to swell the treasurer.”

Hanging Rock, April 2, 1864.

EDITOR REGISTER: I was struck with the aptness and beauty of the above on last Thursday, March 31st, on visiting as a looker on, the Soldier’s Aid Fair,” held by the little ones of Hanging Rock. From appearances, the eldest of those interested was not over fourteen years of age; yet they had with their own little hands, and their own ingenuity and labor, made and got up fancy articles enough to cover six good sized tables and had laid out and arranged them with a style and taste, that would shame older hands and heads. I was so much struck by what can, by proper direction, he done by little hands, that I ask you to indulge me in a somewhat extended notice, hoping that I may encourage other little hands, in other places, to go and do likewise.
The tables were arranged and presided over, I believe as follows:
No. 1. Maggie Crossley, about 7 years old, her table was covered with fancy articles, port-monies, rings, book marks, & c, the style of finish of which was equal to older hands, judging from the appearance of her table at the close, she realized all her little heart could desire.
No. 2. Maggie Hempstead and Lucy Sheppard held forth, neither of them over 14 years of age. On this table were articles of every hue and kind, made in part from pine leaves, pine balls, acorns, & c, equaling, I think, any efforts of the kind usually seen at more ancient gatherings.
No. 3. Annie Hoskinson and Ella Coles was filled with lace work, fine furs, small stockings, perfumery, and fancy articles, the handiworks of the children themselves, as were all the others.
No. 4. Jennie Ferguson and — Frazier and here gourmand and, the slave of appetite, could halt and fill his capacious maw with sponge, round or fruit cake, with ducks, chickens, geese, turkeys, hogs and various other quadruped, manufactured from Gingerbread!
No. 5. Bell Coles and Mary Hempstend dispensed ice cream and cakes, till your mouth watered and your head ached.
No. 6. ———- ————-, here were horses, cons, dogs, chickens, coons, taffy-candy, pop-corn and all delicacies of the season for five and ten cents each.
Young misses vied with each other in their efforts to engage customers, making their change quickly, and going, through all the motions like old hands, anxious to please and delighted to make a sale. I was struck with the order, decorum and politeness, which seemed to prevail, and felt as though older hands might take lessons and learn examples from “little ones here,” indeed I have never in my life witnessed the same amount of enjoyment in the same time, and at as little cost, both to purchaser and seller as was here exhibited; and for this reason, I felt like giving the fair publicity, hoping that other “little folks” would see it and follow the good example set.

“Large oaks from little acorns grow
Large streams from little rivulets flow.”

And the effect of this, to me, novel experiment of young sun-shiny hearts, if persevered in, would be to furnish to the poor soldier on the battle-field, or in the more dreary hospital, alleviations for his privations, and solace for his wounds, did he know that they came from the hands of little ones at home, who had not yet seen fourteen summers, but were able and willing to lend their aid, as far as in their power to help their country’s defenders.
The Treasurer reports the net proceeds of the fair as far as known, with some to come in, at forty dollars and twenty five cents. Can’t your little folks take pattern and see what Ironton can do!