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.

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