Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas 1870

This is an excerpt from a letter written by

Mary Clementine Dearman (1857 - 1944)

Christmas of 1870

We knew about the celebration of Christmas but we did not know about Santa Claus until Christmas, 1870.

Uncle George Dearman was the first one to tell my small brothers and sisters about Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, he and my father went to Cuba. That night Uncle George told the children to hang up their stockings. Everyone did except my brother, Bud.

“I don’t believe in it. How can Santa Claus come down the chimney with the fire in it? I won’t do it. I haven’t got a bit of confidence in it,” said Bud.

The next morning all the children were delighted to find oranges, apples and candy in their stockings. There wasn’t a more disappointed boy in Alabama that morning than Bud.

“Well,” he said , “I just didn’t believe it.”

“Well,” said Uncle George,” go-look in your shoe. Perhaps he left something in it.

Bud pulled his shoes from under the bed. There were oranges, apples and candy in his shoes.

“I’ll believe in Santa after this,” he said.

After that Christmas was celebrated in our home as it is today.

That Christmas of 1870 , I spent on Mobile Bay with grandfather Thomas and Uncle Henry Walker. I had never heard of Santa Claus, but didn’t tell anyone while they were all talking. Late that evening Uncle Henry said , “All of you hang up your stockings.”

We did and the next morning there were apples and candy. Oranges weren’t anything special to them as they raised their own on the Bay.

That day Mr. And Mrs. Parrish and their children came over. Jimmy, their son , asked what Santa Claus gave us. I didn’t answer for I still did not know who Santa was.

Then he explained that every Christmas Eve they hung up their stockings to get presents. Again on New Year Eve they would hang up their stockings, “but,” Jimmy explained,” we won’t get much for them Santa’s wife comes and she is very poor.”

When my father came after me, Uncle Henry sent my brother Bud some torpedoes
Those were the first he had ever seen and he had fun fooling the older people.

Old Preacher Stephens came that evening, he was always slow but when the torpedoes exploded under him, he moved fast.

Later he said he thought a gun had fallen and gone off. Those were the first torpedoes anyone around that part of the country had seen.

Excerpt from

As told by Mary Clementine Dearman Motley

Mary is my 1st cousin 4x removed
Thomas Lee Dearman (1833 - 1907)
Father of Mary Clementine
Solomon Dearman (1796 - 1837)
Father of Thomas Lee
Elisha Dearman (1819 - 1882)
Son of Solomon
James Thomas Dearman (1859 - 1934)
Son of Elisha
Lula Catherine Dearman (1885 - 1935)
Daughter of James Thomas
Alta Vay Cook (1906 - 1984)
Daughter of Lula Catherine
Ida Belle Reed (1925 - 2000)
Daughter of Alta Vay
Ruth Elizabeth Hayley
You are the daughter of Ida Belle

In my Christmas card this year I wanted to share a portion of a letter written by :

Mary Clementine Dearman Motley

Mary typed a long letter detailing the family relationships and great stories of the Solomon Dearman Family.

The typed letter has the "old typewriter font" and is very quaint. I retyped this portion of the letter for your enjoyment.

These people are related to us directly. Grandma Altie's mother's maiden name is Dearman, Lula Catherine Dearman Cook. Our direct lineage Grandfather Solomon Dearman owned several large portions of land in Alabama. I have city maps of the town Cuba, Sumter County, Alabama that illustrates his vast holdings.

Reading this over, I get the impression Mary's younger siblings stayed home and Mary was separated from her family at Christmas time.

Enjoy; Ruth