Today in Ironton history: July 4, 1976

Published 2:55 pm Thursday, July 4, 2024

By Joseph DiCristofaro
The Ironton Tribune

The July 4, 1976, edition of the Ironton Tribune commemorated the 200 years of history that led up to the publishing of that paper on that day, the front page bore a story of the history of African Americans in the area.
Throughout the paper, the Tribune reflected on the Lawrence County area’s hundreds of years of history. In-depth reflections were provided on the history of South Point, Chesapeake, Coal Grove, Ironton and others.
The front-page article began its focus on the John Campbell Memorial House. The home exhibited the history and role of African Americans in the development of Ironton.
The home also gave insight into the lives of the men and women living in Lawrence County in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Led by abolitionist John Campbell the residence was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad. The attic of the home had a concealed space where runaway slaves would hide without notice when the bricks were placed back and sealed the area off inconspicuously.
A story on the front page from the Associated Press served as a reminder of the bravery taken upon the founding fathers to form the nation. After much debate, twelve colonies voted to adopt the Declaration drafted by the 33-year-old architect Thomas Jefferson, New York abstained until July 9.
When the Declaration was formally published and signed by Congress John Hancock left his signature mark on history. With a stroke of the quill dipped in ink, Hancock’s bold signature was the first step in independence.
“His Majesty can now read my name without glasses,” Hancock said. “And he can double the reward on my head.”
In more local news, Dawson Bryant District Schools appointed Loren Bailey as the new band director. He was an Ironton native who had immense knowledge of the arts and had formerly served in the Air Force Logistics Command Band at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
Ironton Fire Department Captain George R. Bruce announced his retirement after serving the area since 1947. Over the last 15 years before 1976, Bruce had served as an emergency victim training instructor and fire training instructor.

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