Aunt Ida's Diary
Tuesday, December 25, 1894

(c) 2000

This comes from the 1894 diary of my great aunt, who lived at Princess Anne, MD. I've spent the last few months going through old photos from albums sent by many cousins, desperately trying to identify all the aunts, uncles and cousins who were living about this time. In 1894, there were big doin's at Aunt Ida's house as her sister, Stelle, was married on December 12. Since all the family came in for the wedding from around the shore and Philadelphia, the big gathering was a couple weeks before Christmas.

I don't wonder now why everyone in these old photos didn't look like they were starving. Here's the menu for the family gathering before the wedding (which Aunt Ida called "supper" in her diary): oysters on half shell, cold turkey, sliced tongue, chicken salad, warm rolls, crackers, bread sticks, olives, pickles, jelly, chocolate, coffee, almond cake, fruit cake, orange cake, perfection cake, Minnehaha cake and vanilla cream.

Ida had a house full of guests through December 15 when the Philladelphia relatives went back, but the newly-weds came back on the 24th for the holidays before they moved to their new residence in Crisfield.

Here's a bit from Aunt Ida's diary during the holidays....

Tuesday, December 25, 1894, Christmas day. Daisy & Louise took dinner with us. Fillmore gave me my sapphire ring, and Hattie a beautiful Jardiniere. Willie Lankford sent me two china baskets, and I certainly appreciate them.

Thursday, December 27, 1894, We had our Christmas entertainment this evening.

Monday, December 31, 1894, Stelle left today for her new home. Mary Stewart and Ray Stewart here. Mr. Lankford & Harry went to Watch meeting.

For a little comparison, I've got the diary of my great great grandfather who was 20 years old in Maine in 1839. He kept a diary and rarely missed a day--although he very often just wrote a word or two. Every Sunday, he went to "meeting" and when on shipboard he noted every Sunday and vespers, but on December 25, 1839, he went to work at Morton & Bartlett store in Augusta, ME. By 1840, he was on board a ship which ran from Augusta, ME to the Bahama Banks and Cuba hauling cotton, board and hay. The ship left Bath, ME Dec. 10 and from the 13th to the 24th of December, he noted weather of snow, rain, squalling wind, and heavy sea. On December 25, 1840, Azra Harris Hayward wrote: very pleasant course south about 8 days out from the Apalachicola light.....not even a hint that it was Christmas either time.

From the recesses of my murky mind comes a Christmas tradition that ended with my grandparents. My folks never did it 'cause we were always at the grandfolks; I never have, (but now that I remember it, this year I might --although I might have to check out the Dollar Store). I know it came through my grandfather's Porter family from Somerset, went with members of that family to Philadelphia and with him to DC where my grandmother adopted it for her family. The table centerpiece consisted of small, wrapped gifts tied in bows, with the ribbon from each little package running to the place setting for each guest, where a gift card at the end of the ribbon marked each place. The huge table with all the leaves in it welcomed every relative who could get there. After the blessing and while granddaddy carved the turkey, all the guests gently pulled their ribbon and retrieved their gift. The little boxes held items such as tie tacks, lapel pins, hat pins or sometimes handkerchiefs and the children usually got a little necklace or tiny china animal.

Best wishes to all - Judy

Another form of this diary is available on theOriginal Source Materials page

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10, 2004 (wls)

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