It was early morning on Nov. 11, 1918, that word began arriving in Tuolumne County that the war was over. Four years and over 4 million lives later, people celebrated the future return home of their loved ones, and many mourned the loss of those who would not. It would be a time for celebration and a time for healing for our community.

At approximately 1 p.m. that day, a large and boisterous crowd gathered at the courthouse for a celebration. Cheering and waving flags, they were led by G.P. Morgan and drummer corps down the full length and then back again on Washington Street.

Bells rang out, fireworks exploded and even a few gunpowder explosions added to the excitement. A prayer was led by the Rev. Edgell. Cheers were called for by Mr. Mouron for “President Wilson, Generals Pershing and Fochs, and for all our boys over there,” and then a hearty chorus of “America” was sung. Yes, it was a glorious moment.

Nov. 11, 1918, brought an end to the war, and for that autumn day they could forget for a brief moment all that it had cost. Tuolumne, like the rest of the world, was still battling the Spanish influenza pandemic and many were lost.

We still had the Great Depression looming ahead, and yet more wars that would call our residents away. But like the pioneers who settled here, these obstacles were met with a quiet strength and a strong sense of community that still shines through today.

Billie Lyons, Curator for the Tuolumne County Historical Society