Craven County Digital History Exhibit

Complimentary Ball, 1891

Title: Complimentary Ball Given to General Washington at Newbern, N.C., April 24, 1791. Centennial Assembly in Commemoration of General Washington's Visit to Newbern, N.C. April 24, 1891.

Creator: "O", probably William H. Oliver

Subject: Washington, George, 1732-1799
              New Bern (N.C.)--History
              Balls (Parties)--North Carolina--New Bern

Description: Description of a centennial celebration of George Washington's 1791 visit to New Bern.

Publisher: W.T. Hill and Company

Date: 1891

Type: Text

Format: 4 pages.

Identifier: New Bern Library Association Records (Collection 7)

Source: Donation.

Coverage: New Bern, N.C.

Rights: Permission to use this item must be obtained from the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, 400 Johnson Street, New Bern, NC 28560.

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Page 1 Complimentary Ball

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APRIL 24, 1791.









APRIL 24, 1891.


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1791_____APRIL 24_____1891.




     On the 24th of April, 1791, a ball was given to General Washington who was then on a visit to Newbern, N.C.  The ball was held in the Colonial Palace building at the foot of George Street.  The foundation walls are still there.    

     On the 24th of April, 1891, a Centennial Assembly was given at Newbern, commemorative of said event.  This was held in the spacious court room in the Court House.  The room was beautifully decorated with flags, evergreens and flowers.  The bunting used was kindly furnished by Capt. Simmons, of the Steamship Winona.

     Mr. W.P.M. Bryan represented General Washington and Miss Mary T. Oliver was selected to personate Lady Washington.  The following ladies composing the court:

     Miss Maria Manly, Mrs. Basil Manly, Miss Mary Manly, Mrs. Pierre LaMontagne, Mrs. C.S. Hollister, Miss Emma Disosway, Mrs. O.H. Guion, Mrs. Ralph Gray, Mrs. J.W. Waters, Mrs. R.O. Crisp, Mrs. John Dunn, Miss Lalla Roberts, Miss Maud Amyette, Mrs. Dr. F.W. Hughes, Miss Ada B. Schenck, Miss Laura Hughes.

     After a few appropriate introductory remarks from Mayor Battle, the Ladies and Gentlemen of the court were ushered into the room and took positions on either side of a raised platform.  They were followed by Lady and General Washington, who took their places on the platform.  Lady Washington was attired in a magnificent costume, she bore in her hand a boquet made of flowers, presented to her by Mrs. W.G. Brinson, and wrought into the boquet by Miss Olivia Metts.  It was exquisite.  The Ladies were gorgeously attired in full costume, all of “ye olden time.”      

     Under a strain of sweet music from the Italian band, the court presented themselves to Lady and General Washington__each in turn making their acknowledgments.  Seldom has more grace been display[ed]

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[display]ed than was shown on this occasion by the ladies, and the gentlemen in bowing were as prim and dignified as could be.  Lady and General Washington acknowledged the compliments in an exceedingly dignified and extremely graceful manner.  The court minuet was now danced by :

                                    Mr. Pierre LaMontagne and Mrs. Basil Manly;

                                    Mr. Matt Manly and Mrs. Pierre LaMontagne;

                                    Mrs. E.K. Bishop and Miss Emma Disosway;

                                    Mr. Ralph Gray and Mrs. R.O. Crisp;

                                    Mr. C. Disosway and Miss Lalla Roberts;

                                    Mr. S.C. Bragaw and Miss Maud Amyette;

                                    Mr. J.J. Disosway and Miss Ada B. Schenck;

                                    Mr. John T. Hollister and Mrs. Dr. F.W. Hughes;

                                    Mr. J.W. Waters and Mrs. Ralph Gray;

                                    Mr. A.H. Powell and Miss Laura Hughes.

     After the formal ceremony was over, Mr. William H. Oliver, the father of Lady Washington, escorted Mrs. E.K. Bryan, the mother of the General and paid their respects, followed by many others.

     “The Star Spangled Banner” and “The Old North State” were sung by some thirty trained voices.  This was splendid.  The music by Miss Lillian Roberts was grand.  It seemed as if the instrument and Miss Lillian were both making an effort to excel themselves on this occasion.  A beautiful solo by Miss Radcliff was applauded to the echo.  The flower dance by a number of young ladies, each bearing a beautiful colored lantern, was extremely pretty, also the young Misses each bearing a basket of flowers.

     Supper was now announced.  This had been prepared under the skilful management of Mrs. C.E. Slover and other ladies.  It was very tempting in appearance and exceedingly toothsome.          

     Mrs. John Dunn wore a dress which was worn by Mrs. Kelly at the ball of 1791.  Mrs. Kelly was the great, great, great grandmother of Messrs. Wm. and John Dunn.

     The Old Virginia Reel, now fashionably known as “Sir Roger de Coverly” was now danced by a large number and highly enjoyed by all.

     It was universally admitted that a more pleasant entertainment was never given in Newbern.

     The proceeds are to be devoted to a charitable purpose.


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Images scanned by John B. Green, III.  Text prepared by John B. Green, III and Victor T. Jones, Jr.
This page last edited on August 21, 2018.

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