Like so many individuals throughout this season, I’ve been (slowly) adorning Our Old House for Christmas. As I organized the mini-“Dickens Village” on the kitchen fireside at present, I spotted that it was greater than a bit anachronistic. This outdated Maine farmhouse, in-built 1788/89 by American Patriots, would by no means have seen such a British or Victorian show of Christmas!
Certainly, I assume Our Previous Home builder, Asa Williams, a religious church-goer, would have spent Christmas Day within the assembly home (church) together with midwife Martha Ballard,[i] after which maybe spent the night together with his household and buddies (proper after doing the night chores, after all). This Fort Western Settlement was a small “neighborhood” within the late eighteenth century, so I can’t think about a lighted Christmas Tree (candles or in any other case) in Haymarket Sq., or inflatable Santas on lawns, or Fort Western decked out in tinsel. If I’m mixing time durations in my house, I questioned how my early-settlement neighborhood of Augusta was dealing with it this 12 months.
Old Fort Western, a Nationwide Historic Landmark and the oldest wood French and Indian Warfare garrison in North America, at present acknowledges that it could not have sported Christmas decorations throughout its time as a navy garrison, buying and selling submit, retailer, and Howard household house (1754-1850s). As an alternative, the historic interpreters there present a view of a Victorian Christmas because it may need been throughout its tenement interval (1850-1919) with popcorn stringing, story-telling, paper-cutting, making gingerbread, and bonfires the place guests can watch the Metropolis’s fireworks set off on the close by boat touchdown.
[My] great-great-grandfather Charles Otis Cony was commonly known as a Cranky Yankee, so even he had his place at Christmas: Grinch!
My grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, and even my great-great-great-great-grandfather George would have had the chance to have a good time Christmas in a few of the in style Victorian entertainments identified about Augusta. Nevertheless, my great-great-grandfather Charles Otis Cony was commonly known as a Cranky Yankee, so even he had his place at Christmas: Grinch!
Whether or not it’s 2 hundred thirty-two years in the past, 100 eight years in the past, or final weekend, the “present” Fort Western Settlement acknowledges its varied time durations in Christmas celebrations, simply as we do in Our Previous Home.
It beats sitting on a tough wood bench in an unheated assembly home all day!
[i] “I attended Divine servis all Day. a pleast day for ye Season. Mr Ballard & I went to mr Bisbees at Eving. mrs Pollard there.” Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife’s Story, The Lifetime of Martha Ballard, Based mostly on Her Diary, 1785-1812 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990).