Emancipation Proclamation Grand Tournament held in Carlisle in 1869: Horses, Knights, a Queen and Maids of Honor

The August 6, 1869 edition of the Carlisle Herald reported on the Grand Tournament held several days before to celebrate “the emancipation of the slaves of the Southern States” by a procession through the streets of Carlisle and a tournament at Graham’s Grove.

“On Tuesday morning the 3rd a procession of colored folks marched through our streets, headed by a colored Brass Band, and followed by about twenty horsemen in fancy costumes on their way to Graham’s Woods, about a mile west of town. Having some spare time on his hands our reporter betook himself to the woods soon after dinner fully bent on being a witness to the novel and exciting scene. On arriving at the ground he found several hundred persons, both white and black, on the ground before him and found Mr. William Askins who was Chief Marshal and General Director of the affair, engaged in delivering an address, which being concluded, the horsemen stationed themselves about two hundred yards from where the framework was erected, which consisted of two upright pieces of wood, connected by a horizontal bar, from which was suspended a ring by a piece of wire. After music from the band, the sport commenced in real earnest. At the call of the Chief Marshal a horseman would dash forward at a dead run, and with a spear attempt to hook the ring.

Each rider was a Knight for the time, and among the names we heard were—Knight of the Evening Star—of the Key Hole—Swift Lightening—Tide Water—Flying Artillery, etc. The ninth rider’s horse (Knight of the Reindeer) refused to pass through the frame work and ran among the crowd causing considerable excitement to those near, and slightly injured a colored lady by trampling upon her.

The prizes, for which they contended, were the honors of being victor, and also crowning the Queen and Maids of Honor. The Knight who first succeeded in unhooking the ring three successive times having the privilege of crowning the Queen, while those who were next to him in dexterity crowned the Maids of Honor. The crowning of the Queen and Maids of Honor took place in the evening at Rheem’s Hall before a large audience. The honor or crowning the Queen was won by Mr. C. Morris who crowned Miss Mary Pafader. The other successful Knights were Messrs Moses Watson, Vincent Smith, Samuel Hamilton, and Berry Norris who crowned Misses Sarah Pafader, Nancy Taylor, Fanny Levi,1 and Bella Morris Maids of Honor. Everything passed off in a quiet and orderly manner.”

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References (Sources Available at CCHS in bold)

1 1870 U. S. Census of Carlisle listed Fanny’s age as 17. She was the daughter of Aaron Levi and his wife Julia, all born in Virginia.