Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dancing In Mt. Pleasant ~ taken from "Highlights In The Life of James Monsen".

James Monsen

As the years came, so did responsibility; and yet associated with care and toil,  our pleasures were many and varied.

Those who had wagons with boxes on and spring seats to fit in were among the high class.  Ordinarily, for a real pleasure ride, two span of horses were hitched to one wagon containing four spring seats, with as many as three in each seat.  The pleasure, of course, was fast driving; so much that officers were delegated to order and enforce a slow down.  However, there were no speed limit signs.
photo courtesy of  wikipedia commons

For a long time, our dancing was done  in the different homes.  Old man Bramstead, we called him, was our fiddler.  He usually played the fiddle with his eyes closed, and I am not so sure that he didn't often play in his sleep.  Being hard of hearing, he sometimes continued playing after the dancers were all seated or until someone touched him.  
Eventually, the Jessen Hall was built, where theaters and dances were both carried on.  I don't know whether or not John Hasler became the owner of the hall, but he furnished the orchestra, and accepted cedar posts for the dance tickets.  I think two posts were required for each ticket.  
Six or eight boys would go with one team into the cedar hills, and in one day get enough posts for several dances. In that manner Hasler procured enough posts to fence a quarter section of land he had homesteaded just east of town.  I didn't join any of the boys in hauling posts, but I thought I was big as they were and could also dance.  On presenting fifteen cents at the door for admission, Brother Hasler, in his broken English, said, "You ish too leetel".  However, I was admitted and had a good time as though I had furnished two cedar posts.
The Madsen Hall finally took the place of the Jessen and all other halls.  We danced every Tuesday and Friday nights, beginning at eight o'clock and dancing until three or four o'clock in the morning, except for a recess at about 12 o'clock.  The older dancers went to different places for a midnight supper, while the younger people went to the store just beneath the hall.  It was opened an hour for the purpose of selling things to eat.  The counters were lined with youngsters eating crackers and cheese, canned salmon, and all kinds of canned goods. These were early dancing days.

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