Christmas 1862

Christmas 1862

A Story by Emily B

dusting off an old blog


This Satuday, the Sullivan Inn was closed for business. No paying customers today for tonight we expected friends and family for a festive holiday party. We rushed to get everything ready. The turkey and duck were roasted. The grape sauce was chilling. The biscuits had been baked and were waiting.

Hurriedly, we dressed the children. We buttoned all the petticoats, pulled up all the stockings, and tied all the shoes. We had to hurry, only a few hours before everyone would arrive.


I went back through and straightened the upstairs and swept the main room.I filled the lanterns with kerosene and put fresh candles in the candle holders. I set up extra tables and chairs in the front hall. And we put the cedar tree in the corner. Aunt Beth would bring some special things to adorn the little tree when she and Uncle John came later.


Finally, satisfied that all the small things were attended to, I sat down to finish the dress for Anna's doll. It was to go on the tree, you know. Mr. Bowling came in and talked about this and that while we stitched. He's been around a good many years and told many amusing stories about his experiences at Sullivan house. I finished the doll and hemmed another handkerchief. Mr. Bowling retired outdoors to play with the children. I wondered what sport would cause so much racket and didn't know whether to scold the man or the children.


Finally, my gifts were finished and I wrapped them and laid them ready for the night's festivities. Waiting still, I cut out some paper doll chains to put on the tree. Miss Judy and Mr. and Mrs. Bailey arrived soon after. The next little bit was mainly confusion as everyone seemed to arrive all at once. Patrick Norris came with a basket of food for the table. Miss Judy came in out of breath with the sweetest little package adorned with greenery and holly berries. Mr. Green and Joan Lee came in bearing a pot of green beans, a pie and paper-wrapped packages.


We were a little worried, because by now, we had expected Uncle John and Aunt Beth. We still waited for Mr. Gevedon, too. Mrs. Hughes came by to say that Mr. Hughes had taken ill and they would not be attending. Mr. Taylor came and introductions were made. Mr. Propes came in with his young friends. It wasn't long before Aunt Beth and Uncle John came bearing gifts for children, a tray of scones and a bottle of Uncle John's peach brandy. We finally decided that Mr. Gevedon had decided against joining us tonight.


There was a flurry of activity as coats were removed. Family and friends who had not shared company in many months exchanged hurried greetings and how do you do's. It may have been ages since we all had been together under one roof, but in minutes we were happily chatting about recent happenings.

Mr. Taylor, Mr. Bailey and Mr. Bowling play a song or two before supper. Once I walked through and Anna was in the middle of them dancing just as though it was something she did every night. The next time I came through Cami was playing a miniature tambourine. She’s heard the songs so many times that she kept up a pretty good beat.

Sarah put some finishing touches on the little cedar tree. The finished dolls are on the branches. Also nestled among the branches are a couple of special packages that would be given later. I sat down with the children and we read “The Night Before Christmas” together. I found it in Harper’s Weekly. Mr. Moore’s words mesmerized the children who were excited for gifts.


Mrs. Tucker is making some last minute adjustments to the table. There was turkey and duck, grape sauce with whipped cream, cole slaw, green beans, rice, various fruits and cheeses, scones, biscuits, gingerbread and a pie. I don’t know who complained of hunger more the children or the men. They worried us to death until we agreed that it was, indeed, time to eat. The younger, Mr. Tucker of Perryville, said a blessing and we all began filling plates.

The music was so merry and gay that the whole house shook. It was indeed a beautiful night, walking outside for a breath of air, the stars were beautifully bright and near, almost as if they were shining the more in honor of the festivities.

Young Jacob House and Mr. Tucker discuss the art of furnishing one’s horse and at least one of our young men would be returning to war after the holidays were over. We will weep when the time comes, but tonight we will count our moments together precious and be happy in the moment.

© 2009 Emily B

Author's Note

Emily B
especially bittersweet since we lost Mr. Crabb (Uncle John) at Thanksgiving to his battle with cancer.

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Reading your descriptions of the holiday's preparations in 1862, brought memories of my own family gatherings during this time of the year. How we used to, gathered from all parts of North America at my Oma and Opa's house. Bringing special foods, which are only served during this time of year. Thank you, Emily, for reminding me, of one of the few happy moments, of my childhood.

Posted 13 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


This is beautiful...I really felt as though I had gone back in time and was enjoying this christmas...:) Sorry to hear about Mr. Crabb.

Posted 13 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

lovely ...

Posted 13 Years Ago

1 of 2 people found this review constructive.

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And somehow the world was more hopeful, more respectful, more civil...
Thank you for sharing this tonight, Christmas Eve, 2009.

Posted 13 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

ah, yes, roast duck, and sauce...

Posted 13 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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14 Reviews
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Added on December 24, 2009
Last Updated on December 24, 2009


Emily B
Emily B

Richmond, KY

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