Christmas Doings – Portsmouth NH of 1876

Christmas passes off very quietly here. The break of day was ushered in by the English carolers, who favored the waking residents with their music, while the Kearsarge Fife and Drum Band serenaded many citizens with some equally choice music. Sleighing was brisk, especially in the afternoon.VIC1149

During the day, Langdon Park was visited by a party, who carried out the old Swedish custom of offering a sheaf of unthreshed grain to each of the trees whereon are lodged the bird houses, as food for the feathered tribe.

Tree festivals were held by the Unitarian Sunday School at Franklin Hall, by the Court street church Sabbath School in the Church, and the Methodist society in their vestry on Christmas night, at all of which there were large attendances and a happy time.

The decorations at the Episcopal Church were very beautiful, and seldom has this ancient house of worship been arranged in so find a holiday dress. Charming also was the display at the Unitarian chapel. Special services were held in both these church on Christmas eve.

The Christmas dinner to the poor children on Saturday afternoon at Faith Home, was the one prominent event of this centennial festive season, and all who participated therein will long remember the joys of that occasion. Ninety-seven children were made happy by the forethought of the originators of this noble event, and by the providers, thereof, two long tables being set to accommodate the young folks. Prayers were offered by Rev. E.M. Grant and Rev. James Noyes. The tables were bountifully spread, for the people had responded nobly to the call for aid, and under the vigorous appetites of boys and girls, the turkeys, ducks, mutton, bread, pies, turnovers, apples, cakes, snaps, milk, doughnuts, etc., rapidly disappeared. Surely the gastronomic exercises were remarkable and suggestive.

A large number of people were present during the afternoon to enjoy the novel sight. After dinner the children were marched in line to the chapel, where a service of song was given under the direction of Dr. E.B. Goodall, the choruses in several of which were rapturously given by the young folks. There was other exercises of quite an interesting character, upon the conclusion of which, mementos in the shape of books and pictures were presented to each child. Gifts were also presented in the name of the N.H.S.P.C.A., to Miss Mabel Brown and Master Eddie Goodall, for kindness in caring for forlorn and abused animals.

The donation of provisions and cash were quite generous, and to the contributors is due the success of this event. Mr. Loyne is specially deserving of great praise for his arduous duties on this occasion, as are also the following committee who had charge: Mrs. J.J. Pickering, Miss Ellen Peason, Mrs. A.W. Haven, Mrs. F.W. Miller, Mrs. E.S. Ryder, Dr. E.B. Goodall, W.A. Loyne, C.W. Gardner.

The children of St. John’s parish had a grand time in Franklin Hall on Wednesday evening, filling it with a happy company. There were attractive stage performances, two fine and heavily laden Christmas trees, from which Santa Claus dispensed many stores. Rev. C.A. Holbrook, rector, was during the evening presented with a heavy reclining chair by the choir, while Superintendent A.F. Pfeiffer was given a set of silver spoons. On the same evening the Universalist Sunday School had a festival in the vestry of the church, the crowd present being limited to the capacity of the spacious room. A well arranged programme of stage performances was given, after which St. Nick came on the scene and opened his pack for the benefit of a delighted host of young folks.

The Free Baptist Church at Kittery Point has a festival on Christmas night in the Church, where two trees were erected and bountifully laden with gifts. After prayer by the pastor there were declamations and dialogues and singing. The presents were then distributed and many were the hearts that were made glad on the occasion.

The Christian Society of Rye had a tree in the town hall on the evening of the 25th nearly three hundred people being present to enjoy the programme of singing, recitations, dialogues, &c. Santa Claus distributed the contents of his heavy pack in right good style.

SOURCE: Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics (Portsmouth) New Hampshire, December 30, 1876, Vol LXXXVI, Issue 53, Page 2



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