Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Recollection of Holidays in Jacksonville in 1874

Post Submitted by Karreen Busch

            How did you pass the holiday season this year?  Did you attend a family gathering, or a public event?  What events were held in your town on December 25?
            Today, you might look to the internet or news broadcasts to find answers to these questions.  If you lived in Jacksonville in 1874, however, you would find an account of Christmas in the Oregon Sentinel newspaper.  On December 26 of 1874, the Sentinel printed this article to relate the town’s happenings at Christmastime to its readers:

For many days the citizens of our town were universally engaged in preparations for the proper commemoration of the annual holidays. The anxious longings of the little folks were appeased by the distribution of gifts from numerous Christmas Trees scattered among various private residences in all parts of town. But the principal features of attraction were the exercises indulged in at the churches. The first was that at the M.E. Church, under the auspices of the teachers of the Union Sunday School, of which Mr. Wm. Hoffman is Superintendent. The church was brilliantly lighted and jammed full at an early hour. The exercises consisted of singing by the scholars of the school, with prayer and remarks by Rev. M.A. Williams. Then followed the lighting up of a large and elegant Christmas Tree, which was loaded full of choice presents for the scholars only. Cakes, candies and nuts were then given to the scholars by the teachers in the order of classes, and finally the entire audience were treated to a liberal supply of most excellent cake. After that the presents were distributed from the tree among the scholars, each receiving something according to the fancy of the giver as it was taken from the tree. The method adopted in this instance was something unusual, and gave universal satisfaction. The elegantly ornamented tree was the combined production of nature and the Sunday School Misses Kate Hoffman and Mollie McCully, assisted by lady teachers of the school and various male members of the Church. The crowd dispersed about 9 o’clock, and the occurrence will be remembered as one of the most pleasant affairs of the kind happening in Jacksonville.

            However you spent your holiday went, we hope it was merry.  Have a safe and Happy New Year as we welcome the year 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Butterscotch Pumpkin Muffins made with Hanley Horsepower Flour

Congratulations to Deborah Thompson who entered these muffins to cinch first place in our horsepower flour baking contest!

Butterscotch Pumpkin Muffins

1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 lb unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 3/4 cup Hanley Horsepower Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground culinary lavender
1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter muffin pan. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, brown sugar, and butter. Add the eggs and beat until smooth. Stir in the cider.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lavender, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves into a medium sized bowl. Gradually stir into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly mixed. Fold in the butterscotch chips and ginger until evenly distributed. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup almost to the top. Bake for 20 -25 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve warm with lavender butter.

Honey Lavender Butter

1/4 pound unsalted butter
1 tablespoon honey or lavender honey
1 tablespoon culinary lavender buds

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the butter, honey and lavender. Pulse until just mixed. Transfer to a butter keeper or a sheet of parchment paper and roll into a 1" wide log. Refrigerate until ready to use.

From the Lavender Cookbook by Sharon Shipley

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bring on the Lights!

Post Submitted by Karreen Busch

            Do you love to embellish your house with dozens of strands of Christmas lights and bright decorations for the holidays?  If so, it’s too bad you didn’t live in Medford in 1928…
            In the year before the Great Depression, the Medford Mail Tribune ran this ad searching for the best decorated and lit yards at Christmas time:

            A contest which is expected to prove of interest to all Medford home owners is being sponsored by the publicity department of the Medford Chamber of Commerce and was announced today. Prizes will be awarded to the four best decorated and illuminated front yards during the Christmas holidays, including decorations and colored lights on trees, shrubbery, and buildings.
            The contest will be open to any resident not connected with the California Oregon Power Company or with any local electric concern and entries must be filed with the publicity department of the chamber before December 24. The lights used for decorative purposes must be burned every night from December 22 until January 2, at the end of which time prizes donated by the People’s Electric Store, Medford Electric company, Southern Oregon Electric Company, and the California Oregon Power Company will be awarded.
            Awards will be made on the general artistic appearance of the house and grounds. The prizes will consist of a $25 percolator, a $15 waffle iron, a $10 automatic toaster, and a $9 iron.
            Today, the Mail Tribune’s website features an interactive “Holiday Light Tour” of the best houses, which you can find at  Sadly, there are no prizes offered to those whose houses make the list.  But it’s all in good cheer!  There are still a few nights left to enjoy the Christmas lights, wherever you live.  Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Letters from the Past

From the collection of the Hanley sisters
Post Submitted by Karreen Busch

            Happy Holidays!  It’s early December, and the time is here to send out your holiday greeting cards.  The first Christmas cards originated in the mid-1800s in England, but the practice has since become a worldwide tradition for people of many backgrounds and many different religions.
            The Hanley sisters, of the historic Hanley Farm in Central Point, received dozens of cards each December from the 1910s to 1980s.  Mary Hanley, one of the sisters and the last descendant of the family to live on the farm, deeded the farm to the Southern Oregon Historical Society.  In addition to hundreds and hundreds of artifacts, the society was also given all of the Christmas correspondence to Mary, Martha, and Claire Hanley.  While most of the cards contained only a signature from the sender, there were a few cards with longer letters inside.  Here are two interesting samples from 1944, the year before the end of World War II:

Sent to: Misses Mary, Martha, and Claire Hanley, Medford Oregon
A “Thank You” card from: Marilyn S., Harbor Oregon

Inside of card: Thanks a million for the cute pin, and the lovely handkerchief and pretty handkerchief holder.  Love Marilyn

Back of card:
Dear Everybody:
Merry Christmas a little late. Yes, I got lots of things for Christmas. I think the best thing I got was a bike. Today I’m learning to ride it. I took a spill in a rosebush last nite, Ouch. I got lots of other things like 2 sweters, 3 slips, a new purse, a pair of cute suspenders and a charm bracelet, 3 pins and lots of other things. Thanks again
Love Marilyn

Sent to: Claire Hanley, Rt. 2, Medford Oregon
A family picture, with caption, from: Ghangle, Medford Oregon

We pause on this Christmas morn in sober reflection, and gratitude for the blessings that have been ours.
With the coming of the new year, we extend our greetings, and good wishes for 1945.
The Ghangles


            The relations between the card senders and the Hanley sisters remain unknown.  There are multiple boxes filled with the Hanley sisters’ Christmas cards, ready for perusal at the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s Research Library.  The cards provide a fun insight to the past, and reading them might even help you compose your own upcoming Christmas letters.