Independence Day, 19th century style


Submitted story

WEST LIBERTY – Prepare to enjoy your July 4th holiday by attending a 19th century Independence Day Celebration on the lawn at Piatt Castle Mac-A-Cheek, Sunday, June 25 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.. The street address is 10051 Township Road 47, West Liberty, Ohio. The following is the schedule for this enjoyable, historical event.

Bring a picnic basket and blanket and enjoy your own vitals in the shady lawns of Mac-A-Cheek

Let’s Play:

Play popular 19th century games including all day: Cricket (once our national pastime) will be played from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and 2:30-3:15 p.m. Hoops, Graces, Shuttlecock & Battledore, and a red, white, & blue game of Toss will be available most of the day. From 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 2:30-3:15 p.m. you can make 1880s daylight firecrackers (no explosives). Keep some and watch others released from an upper level of Mac-A-Cheek Castle just before 4 p.m.

A Day for Cake:

Participate in an Independence Day Cake contest by bringing a cake, voting on your favorite, and making a donation for a slice of any or all cakes. Those donating cakes should bring them at 10:30. At 11 a.m. voting will begin for the citizens’ choice. Each vote costs a modern dollar. Prizes will be awarded later in the day for the most popular (citizens’ choice), most historically accurate 1800 style cake, and for the best Independence Day theme. Starting at 1:45, you can taste cakes by donating a “hefty price for a slender slice.” All cake receipts help to fund the program.

Venerable Veterans:

From 11 a.m. to noon and 1:15-2 p.m., interact with a living history interpreter representing a Civil War Veteran. At noon and 2:30 p.m., you can participate in a sham 1820s style militia muster with sticks (no weapons). Watch an 1860s musket firing demonstration at 12:45 and 3 p.m..

Storytelling for Adults and Youth in the big tent:

A Revolutionary Confection

At 12:15 and 2:45 p.m., discover the story of Amelia Simmons who wrote the first American Cook Book in 1779. Using props and interaction, this engaging children’s book imagining the origin of Independence Cake custom will be shared.

“Peter Pepperton’s Fourth o’ July Triumph”

Participate as the citizens who cheer during the short performance at 1 and 3:30 p.m. of an amusing story about an 1840 Independence Day Celebration in West Liberty, written by Donn Piatt in 1888.

Reading of the Declaration of Independence:

No July 4th celebration in the 19th century would have felt complete without a distinguished gentleman reading aloud the Declaration of Independence. Take the time to listen and reflect at 2 p.m. in the big tent.

Last Charges:

An historical character in costume representing the Arrangements Committee will announce the winners of the Independence Day Cake Contest at 3:50 p.m., followed by a flurry of Flying Fancies from an upper level of Piatt Castle Mac-A-Cheek and let the day end with a bang around the Cannon at 4 p.m.

Throughout the day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Interpretive self-guided tours of Mac-A-Cheek Castle will be offered as usual between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the regular prices posted at

Register to bring a cake by contacting [email protected] or leaving a text or message at 937-844-3902. To learn about historically accurate 1800s Independence Day or Election Cakes, visit these websites:

Election Day Cake History and Recipe


This event is sponsored by the Mac-A-Cheek Foundation for the Humanities, a 501 (c) (3) not for profit organization that produces educational experiences at Piatt Castle Mac-A-Cheek. Support for this free event was made possible by a grant from the Mary Eleanor Morris Fund of the Columbus Foundation, contributions from Piatt Castle Co. Inc., purchases of historical toys, visitor memberships or donations, and sponsors including Thomas Murphy, AV & Theatrical Design and All Phase Electric for our Historical Holiday Series, and Dr. Ronald Alvin Stewart for our 2023 Season.

Info from Margarett Piatt

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