100 Years Ago

Thursday, December 26, 1918

Members of the Choral Society to the number of about 30 added greatly to the pleasures of Christmas Eve by singing Christmas carols in all parts of the town in the good old fashioned way. This society is filling a long felt need in promoting and developing community singing.

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Post office persiflage: “What price are your one-cent stamps this morning?”

“Thirty-six cents a yard.”


What a vast difference there is in the Christmas of today, from the Christmas of our forefathers. In those days there was not the hurry scurry shopping and costly, somewhat useless gifts given with the thought that the receiver might give a finer one in return. The gifts given in those days were gifts of love, wholly in keeping with the day celebrated, says a correspondent in an exchange.

For many weeks and months did Mother spin, color and wind the yarn, and knit on wooden needles or a bone hook, the warm neck scarf or mittens for her loved one, every stitch bearing a message of love. And then as the time drew near how savory the kitchen smelled every time one entered, but, of course, nothing was visible for mother or aunty or grandmother had safely hidden away the tender gingerbread and spice cakes, and the brittle molasses taffy, plates of butterscotch and other candy rich in nut meats.

What happy times when the stockings of all sizes, and almost all colors, were hung on the mantel shelf above the wide fireplace, where old Santa had no trouble at all to come down and deposit the numerous things from his pack in the dangling stockings.

Everyone was remembered with some sort of a gift, none were forgotten, and I feel sure the homemade goodies were devoured with as much relish, and with less after effects, as the store goodies of today. There were no coal tar dyes in the Christmas candy grandmother made.

Then when the team was hooked to the farm sled, with the farm wagon bed on it partly filled with straw and bed covers, what a fine ride to church over the shining snow, to hear a real Scripture sermon about the birth of our Savior, on earth peace, good will to men.


Dear Mother:

I know you all are celebrating the end of the war these days. Suppose you are still anxious about Neal and me. I can tell you nothing of Neal, but I am making it fine. Do not expect us home too soon as you know it will take time to get us all home, and then peace may not be signed for a while.

I am now in charge of a convales-infirmary, though expect to be assigned to something different soon.

A bunch of boys are burning the effigy of the Kaiser tonight and are having some time. The French sure have had a celebration by ringing of bells, drinking wine, etc. If you could see their happy faces, I am sure it would do you good. The French have had a heavy load to shoulder and it has told on them.

I hope you are all getting along good this fall, and have gotten all the crops in. The weather is not very cold here yet; we had a little frost yesterday morning for the first time. It rains about two days out of three, is the worst.

Hope the girls are getting along good with their school. I am glad you will not have the war to worry about any longer. We will have to wait for our time to come home, but hope it will be soon.

With love for you all, your boy,
Sgt. Norval W. Pritchard
Over Seas Casuals, France.

November 16, 1918

Dear Mother:

The great war that has caused so much destruction is finally won. What it takes to finish will not be so hard, though it will require a great deal of patience, for I think the most of us are anxious to get back to the United States.

I have been over some of the territory destroyed by the shell fire. You would not think it could be so bad until you have seen it.

I just received yours and Elsie’s letters of October 7th and 14th yesterday, also two bunches of home papers. I sure was glad to get them, though sorry to hear the Spanish influenza is causing so much sickness and death. I have not heard from Norval, yet. I am anxious to know if he is well and O. K.

Maybe the censoring of mail will be done away with soon, and I can write you something more of my experiences. I have been real well all the time. I hope you all keep well.

Lots of love to all.

Your boy,
Prt. Cornelius P. Pritchard
American E. F. France

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The following letter was received by Mrs. J. S. Muller, from an orphan in France, whom she is supporting, and translated is as follows:


I have just received the order for forty-five francs which I owe to your generosity. I should like to testify in some other way than by letter my gratitude, but the distance which separates us prevents me.

Thanks, Madame, for being so willing to think of the little orphans of France. By my good conduct I hope to make myself merit the kindness that you show to me.

I am determined to remain always a good son to my mother and the guide for my young sister of nine years. I shall always remember also that my father died for France, and has showed me the way of honor and of duty.

With all my powers, I shall apply myself to follow his example.

With all my heart, thanks Madame, thanks for the material aid that your gift brings. Thanks also for the moral strength that is given us by the thought that our trouble is shared.

Accept, Madame, again all my thanks and the assurance of my respectful gratitude.

Xavier Ferry


Elizabeth Jane Beard, daughter of the late William and Jennie Blair, was born August 29, 1832, and departed this life December 10,1918, aged 86 years, three months and eleven days.

Her period of life, which spanned almost a century, covered that part of our national history that records many of our greatest national achievements. During this time, she saw the country plunged into war no less than four times, and as many times saw it struggle to victory and triumph. It is needless to say that her own life was deeply touched by the scenes of her girlhood, and the struggles of mature womanhood as she witnessed so much of the nation’s struggle through heroic years of the past…

On March 17, 1864, she was united in marriage to the late John G. Beard who about fifteen months ago completed the pilgrimage of life…

To this union there were born six children, five of whom survive – Mrs. Mattie A. McNeel, Mrs. Jennie C. Hill, of Farmington, Washington; Mrs. Rachel McNeel, Miss Minnie and George W, of Hillsboro…

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