Christmas 50 years ago in Palestine, IL. By: O. W. Gogin. The Wabash Pearl of Palestine, Friday, Dec. 23,1910

"Twas the night before Christmas and all in the house There was nothing astir, not even a mouse." This quaint ditty, as old as Christmas itself, recognizing "Santa Claus" " With his red rosy cheek and the little round belly Which shook, when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly." was learned and repeated,as being next to "Now I lay me down to sleep." by all the children of that day. "Kris Kringle" is a poor substitute for that name that has pleased so many thousand little children.

Christmas at that time was the great day of home coming, merriment and glee; the "Kids", as we now call them, were up with the sun, peering into the stocking that hung in the chimney corner, then away to the neighbors to "holler" "Christmas gift," and in return got a big red apple, sweet cake, ahoss or lion made out of gingercake or perhaps an old copper cent that looked as big as a silver dollar. that cent, created a peculiar sweet longing for a stick of that peppermint candy Uncle Tom Boatright was sure to have in stock Christmas days.

The older people would meet at the church, spending an hour in worship and singing praises to the to the "Babe of Bethlehem" when the great proclamation was announced to the world, "Peace on earth, good will to all mankind."

After which, came social greetings, family reunions, and big dinners, not six course dinner, but a loaded down {table} until it groaned with everything that was good to eat, utterly ignoring the untold millions of microbes therein contained ,we ate and ate and a few of us have survived and are still eating.

In the country the more robust lads with cow bells, tin horns, guns and anything that could produce noise and a plenty of it, would go from house to house and after skeerin' folks oute'n their wits, with the noise they made, would be invited inside and treated to apples, cider and dough nuts and pumpkin pie and then a song and handshake all around the entire neighborhood was visited, should anyone be missed, they felt slighted.

The country jakes would also have shooting matches for turkeys or other articles, would put a ball in the bull's-eye, at 100 steps for a turkey head placed on a stick the bill in front but ten feet away. The snuffing of a lighted ten steps off was one of the chosen shots that but few could do.

Then running foot races, wrestling and jumping, a game of town ball, bull pen, and crack about anything at all to work off the super abundance of vitality possessed by those robust country lads.

The town boys having used up all the fire crackers in town, would pass the hat and buy powder of which Uncle Tom to sure to have a bountiful supply upon hand for emergencies, and etc. then pull the old 12 pounder cannon to where the school house now stands and after a heavy load of powder would fill the muzzle with paper, rags, weeds, and thinking to create greater noise, rammed in a lot of brick bats, etc. good luck that the brick bats hurt no one, but as to the so forth , we never heard how they did go.

This cannon had seen service of the "War of 12" and in the Black Hawk War in this state. When loaded for noise it most surely made a noise. Seems that I can hear it as I write, booming and re-echoing all over the river hills, up the Wabash to Merom Bluff then dying away off over the prairie so weird like, starting the red blood into circulation that until like Pres. Roosevelt we felt delighted.

The booming of that cannon was a general call for everybody and his wife to come to town to finish up the day, and come they did, they had partaken of the Christmas dinner at home and a few of them had also taken a' leetle too much of the Wabash River double distilled whiskey made by the' "Seven Jesses", being as they claimed from "saft corn and poppaus" "couldn't hurt nobody but jest living em up 'nough to feel joyful like." These Seven Jesses were a peculiar people, men not of book larnin, but of close observation and good hoss sense."

The sling bacon band, as Uncle Nick named them after, them father and two sons refugees, full of the hot blood of the south -sah would come marching in from the west, the daddy playing the fife, the boys beating their drums, quaint and inoffensive people, they marched out of town, with he band playing and always took with them a side of bacon slung over the back of one of the boys-hence the name.

Squire Rastaus Logan, the merry whistler, ready at all times to marry a couple, sentence a man to prison, buy or sell his land, or give him a boost if in need, was one of the useful men of the day, a most loyal man when the war cry all over the land as the stings of the "Yellow Jackets" which he published at that time will verify.

The booming of the cannon soon filled our street with a flow of men, women, babies, and dogs, often a young fellow with his best gal behind him, on his spindle-shank nag, then dad and mam and the baby on old Gin, the sway black mare, still they come until the town is full of men, women,children, colts and dogs. Then the fun began with hand shaking, howdy-de-dos, kissing the babies, and other old fashioned ways of extending friendships, you of today with the advantages of a higher education may conclude that we at that time were rather a rude set, and knew but little of the enjoyments of life, it so, what will those who are living 50 years from now think of us.

The year of 1860 brought wonderful changes to our people situated as we were sitting on the rugged edge of disloyalty, we were two fires, our town, was in a state of anxiety and dread, our people were divided in their opinion as to the threatening of the south and but for the constant watchfulness of our best men, a bad state of affairs would have prevailed. However, despite of all, to reserve peace and safety, two men were mudered in the streets of our town in open daylight.

Oct. 31st, 1860 was perhaps the greatest, and grandest day that Palestine had seen or will see for years to come. The people from Illinois, Indiana, and the rest of mankind in general here under "Old Glory" we rallied, and for two days and nights the host of loyalty intermingled, talked and sung and listened to the declaration that" all men are created free and equal", Lincoln and Hamlin Dick Yates and Lovejoy were our heroes.

The "wide and awake," the guardsman soon after, held a similar rally had a large turn out and thus refined old Palestine some 50 years ago. and now on the Christmas of 1910 let us, as a people, point to the rainbow of promises on which is written in letters of pure gold "Peace on earth and good will to all mankind."