Etc. -- Hiram Woolley's 1880 surprise party
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A lightly edited partial transcription of the Local News column on page 3 of the 20 Aug 1880 issue of the Norfolk Reformer newspaper.

Local News

surprise party. -- The house of Mr. Hiram Woolley of Charlotteville was lately the scene of one of those interesting incidents that are worth much and cost little.

About 200 of his friends came last Thursday afternoon, 12 Aug 1880, to show their respect for one who with his family stands deservedly high in the esteem of all who know him.

It was a genuine surprise to Mr. Woolley.

During the early part of the day he was lured away from home on some business of very great importance which had to be attended to instantly or great loss would come to him or some one -- it was not very clear whom.

On his return about 5 o'clock he found his home in possession of many "fair deceivers" and his lawn occupied by many scores of young and old seeking amusement in various ways, as if it was a matter of course what such things should be.

Some were there who knew Mr. Woolley from his childhood, and remembered when they were boys and girls together.

Many whose acquaintance was much more recent, but whose respect and love for him were equal to those who knew him longest.

The time passed pleasantly and swiftly away in talk about then and now. Soon after six o'clock tables were spread on the lawn, from the well-filled basket brought by the ladies and all were invited to sit down to a magnificent supper.

Mr. and Mrs. Woolley were the guests of the evening, and right royally were they treated, bringing, no doubt, to their remembrance the days of "Auld lang syne," when they set at the wedding dinner with vows newly made upon them.

It was plainly evident that Dr. Tanner had no disciples at that surprise party.

After supper an impromptu meeting was organized, the Rev. D. L. Brethour taking the chair. Short and appropriate addresses were delivered by Messrs. Gilbert, Lymburner, Sterling, Chapman, Daniel Woolley and the chairman.

Mr. Woolley, in a few well chosen words expressed his deep sense of the honor he had received at the hands of his friends so unexpectedly.

A verse of the hymn "Shall we gather at the river?" was sung, prayer was offered by the chairman, and the outdoor meeting came to a close.

Many remained until later on in the evening, giving themselves to music and song and chat and social enjoyment generally. Everyone said it was one of the pleasantest parties that could be.

Copyright 2016 John Cardiff