One of the great parties of all time was held in Clinton (well one of Clinton’s greatest parties) in 1889. The party was well publicized leading up to it. A November 7, 1889 article in Clinton Morning News, announced that the Lambs would be celebrating their golden wedding anniversary on Saturday evening, November 16, at their 7th Avenue home. The family sent out 400 invitations with 175 going out of Clinton.
The Lambs’ four children were there: Mrs. Captain Wear, Artemus Lamb, Lafayette Lamb, and Mrs. Will E Young and 11 of their 15 grandchildren. The party started at 7pm and last until after 11pm. Entertainment was provided by the Vilitia Mandolin Band of Chicago. The band was in the east parlor, while the couple was in the west parlor.
Mr. Lamb’s florist and the company, Rumble & Sons, decorated the dining room and house with flowers, vines, evergreens, roses, and more. One article claimed the flowers from the conservatory in the home. Mr. H.M. Kinsley of Chicago “superintended” the food. Kinsley “made” it in Chicago in 1865 when he took over the restaurant at Chicago’s Opera House. By 1884, he became the most famous chef in Chicago, and he was THE caterer of the elite.
The centerpiece of the evening, the main gift, was a floral circular saw. Yellow flowers made the sawblade, in the center were red flowers, and the teeth were white flowers. The whole piece was encircled with evergreen. Apparently on the blade was the figures 1839 and 1889 and there was a banner with kind words from his Old Employees. The banner read Sharpen my teeth and give me speed, I will pay you well If you give me feed. The employees last name: Dege, Zingg, Young, Parsons, Mattison, Davis, Nelson, Peterson, Boone, Young, North, Potter, Jackson, Peterson, and Switzer. They presented the piece, and their foreman, Mattison, gave a speech. Another article said the outer edge was feathery green, then a circle of white with a center of pink. The dates were in dark red.
Other employees surprised the Lambs as they were part of the Swedish Cornet Band. Much more entertainment was had though. Outside was even more entertainment. A Danish band and a male quartet serenaded guests. While I can’t picture this, there were 100 horsemen who had sleigh bells, trumpets, and cymbals and played.
The out of down guests and their place of residence: Mr. and Mrs. Weyerhaeuser of Rock Island, Mr. and Mrs. Denkmann of Rock Island, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Scott of La Crosse; Mr. and Mrs. H.M. Hooker of Chicago; Mrs. Loring of Chicago; Mrs. J.F. Studebaker of South Bend; Miss Grace Young of Philadelphia; Miss Hays of Oshkosh, Rev. and Mrs. J.G. Coden of Polo; W.R. Bourne of St. Paul; Mrs. W.G. Bevier of Tipton; Mr. and Mrs. Long of Morrison; Mrs. T.J. Reader of Centralia; Mr and Mrs. Ansel Bailey of Mt. Carroll; Mrs. Rev E.K. Young of Philadelphia; Capt and Mrs J G f Cedar Rapids; Mr. Arthur Clark of St. Louis; Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Akely of Minneapolis; Mrs. Mathers of Brooklyn; and Col. VanDeventer of Knoxville. All ladies received a book of quotations featuring a ribbon exhibiting the golden signatures of the hosts, even if the signatures were fake.
A wonderful biography appeared in the paper, and one of the cooler facts was that Mr. S.B. Gardiner who went on to open his own sawmill in Lyons, helped Lamb build a mill in New York. Gardiner came with Lamb to Mt. Carroll in 1847. Why not Iowa? At that time Iowa still only had less than 50,000 people. Lamb went back east in 1849, but in 1856, he came to Fulton. Eventually he moved into Clinton, and well the rest is history. Lamb had an up and down sawmill history due to fire, but all was well. In fact by the mid 1870’s, Lamb had nearly $150,000 invested in boats.
Pleasure and business was never too far apart, as around the same time of the greatest party was another MRLC board meeting, again held at Clinton National Bank.
Pleasure and business was a common feature for the Lamb’s. Artemus loved throwing extravagant parties for his children’s weddings and for himself!
One of the other most famous parties in Clinton’s history was the societal debut of Emma Lamb and the 20th anniversary party of her parents Artemus and Henrietta Sabrina Smith Lamb on October 13, 1885. Invitations went out and announcements made the newspaper. The 1885 party was equally grand. Like his father’s 50th anniversary 4 years later, the most common description was that the whole house was lit. Followed by the use of ornaments and floral arrangements to sparkle in the light and fill the air with wonderful aroma. The house was filled with paintings and pictures. Miss Emma needed the assistant of Miss Mary B. Stewart of Detroit, her friend. The first floor was the reception and social setting. Once the first floor became busting, the entertainment of Flanagan & Greenhill orchestra filled the house. Guess followed the tunes to the third story. Two large rooms were turned into a dancing hall. The younger guests thus engaged “in terpsichorean pleasures.” The older guests stayed on the first floor and would dance in the corridors. The men went to the smoking, card, and billiards room (given the use of rooms and the use of commas I can only assume the Artemus Lamb mansion had all three). The cigars were “from the fine havannas.” Food began at 8:30 and went to 1am. The Lambs used Kingsley of Chicago, the same caterer used a few years later.
In 1891, Mr. and Mrs. Artemus Lamb threw a “Fancy Dress Party.” 400 invitations went out, and only 7 sent their regrets by not being able to attend. The party was to apparently usher in the new year. This party was in the Wapsie parlors though, but still, Chicago costumer of the Chicago Costume and Decorating Company, brought costumes and guests came dressed from their own creations/privately funded creations. Like a great marketer, Mr. Kennedy, the costumer, was quoted as saying this was the finest costume party he was ever a part of. There were twenty dances. The memoire cards were quite the hit. I will admit that I have no idea where the Wapsie parlor was, even though there was a Wapsipinicon Club. It is most likely the Club, but regardless, the Lambs loved their parties. Wherever they might host them.
Artemus Lamb probably out did himself for the wedding reception for Miss Emma Lamb and Mr. Marvin John Gates of Cedar Rapids. 1600 invitations were sent out for the wedding. They were married at the Presbyterian Church. The church was decorated in white and greens. The arches were “twined with asparagus ferns and white carnations” and hanging from the apex was a wreath. The doors were covered in wild smilax and hundreds of roses. The organ was weighed down by the same arrangement as the doors. The family removed the front pews for an arch that suspended a basket of bride’s roses. The organ could feel the weight as Tomaso’s Orchestra from Chicago played Lohengrin’s wedding march. The bride’s dress was a white , stain, duchesse dress modeled off a Worth model. The dress had an en train, high neck, and long sleeves. The skirt had orange blossoms. Her veil was attached to a wreath of orange blossoms.
To top the wedding, Artemus had arranged for carriages to take the guests back to his house for the reception. Once again, light was a key feature, but this time it was “a double row of incandescent electric lights” strung along the trunks of the trees that lined Fifth Avenue and on the trees on Fourth Street so the front and the sides were all alight. The Fifth Avenue trees were all elm.
The house was decorated much like the church. The two dining rooms were contrasted with one being accented by white roses and then carnations and ferns while the other had pink roses. The table arrangements were inspired by the Louis XVI style. The candelabrums provided an artistic illumination. The Tomaso mandolin orchestra followed the carriages to the home and provided the music.
Artemus’s wife stole the show with her yellow and lavender, brocaded satin dress. The second floor housed all the extravagant wedding presents, a contrast to the no present policy of her societal debut.
It should be noted that a similar description was present for the 1892 wedding of James Dwight Lamb. Except the James Dwight Lamb wedding’s reception was at the bride’s parents’ house. The same for another of Artemus’s children. The children really liked the Tomaso mandolin orchestra. The orchestra was headed by Salvatore Tomaso. Tomaso was considered a great mandolin soloist.