York County - Genealogy Trails

 

 

 

 

     

      

    Their First Christmas In York

     

     

    Many of York County's old pioneers are old only in the sense that they were among the first to settle in the county. Many of these "old settlers" are yet to be numbered among the young. We no longer count a man old at-sixty; on the other hand we deem him to be in the zenith of his power.

     

    So, while we are talking about pioeer Christmas days do not be seized with the idea that the men mentioned in this article published in 1918 are all old men. They are not. They came while

    young to a land that was young.

     

    “E. A. Gilbert’s first Christoma in York County was that of 1884. He arrived in York several months before, straight from Carlisle, Macoupin Counyy Illinois. “I came at the earnest solicitation of the late George Woods," said Mr. Gilbert.  “He had been here several years, and he had always shown an interest in me.  It took me several years to make up my mind to make the plunge, but finally I made it.  I have never regretted the move, either.

     

    Our first Christmas was not marked by any special incident that impresses it upon my memory. I guess we had usual Christmas dinner, and of course our three children hung up their stockings and found therein the usual assortment of nuts and candy, York was already a thriving little city of about fifteen hundred or two thousand people, and had passed the 'pioneer stage.'"  

     

    O. S. Gilmore, county attorney, does not remember anything about his first Christmas in York Countv. It was in 1878. His inability to recall any of the incidents of that first Christmas is not due to lack of memory. He was born in York Countv in that year. Some of these days he may be president, too, for he was born in a log house.  His father was one of the first settlers. Perhaps one other man came ahead of him. But as they came together and county boundary lines were verv faint, neither could recall which crossed into the county first.

     

    C. A. McCloud's first Christmas in York County was spent at Waco, and that was in 1878. He had worked on a farm during the previous summer. Bit that winter he was working in a hardware emporium at Waco. It was called an "emporium” because the stock would invoice about four hundred dollars. The owner of the store had a peculiar system of keeping books. After every name thereon he would write some descriptive phrase, such as "dead beat," "d—n slow pay," "no good," etc. He was absent one day when a man came in and asked Charley to look up his account. Charley spread the book out and finally found the name. After it was the description, "d—n slow pay." And the customer saw it first. "I can still hear the yell that man let out, and I'll never forget the burning remarks he made," said Charley. "But I don't remember anything particular about that Christmas. I guess we pitched horseshoes or went out chasing jackrabbits. That was about all the amusements we had in those days."

     

    George W. Shreck's first Christmas in York County was spent at Waco in 1878. He had arrived from Indiana a few months before and opened a blacksmith shop. He admits that he was then a typical Hoosier, and about all he remembers of that particular Christmas is that he was all-fired lonesome, and filled
    with longing for a sight of the folks back in that dear ol' Indeany.

     

    Dennis Meehan's first Christmas in York County was that of 1888. He remembers it quite well. "I spent most of the day writing to a girl back in Breeds, Illinois, in which I tried to ask her if she would come out to York with me if I went back after her. It wasn't a very long letter, but it took me a long time to write it. It was a pretty lonesome day for me, but when I got her reply I marked that date as a mighty happy one. I went back after her a year later, and every day since I got her has been even happier than the day on which I received the reply to my Christmas letter."

     

    James Kildow's first Christmas in York County was that of 1885. He had come from Wisconsin a few months before. He "lit" at Lushton, but on Christmas day he came to York, the metropolis, to spend the day. "I remember that it was a very warm day, and I drove over from Lushton in my shirt sleeves. It had been an unusually mild winter up to that date, and I thought I had struck the finest climate in the world. And I am rather fond of it yet, by the way. That particular Christmas day was uneventful. All my Christmas days have been of that sort, however.”

     

    E.  B. Woods' first Christmas in York was that of 1878. He and his brother had come on ahead of their father, who was headed for York to engage in the clothing business. "I have no particular recollection of anything unusual that happened on that Christmas," said Mr. Woods. "There were only three amuse-
    ments for us young fellows in those days—chasing jackrabbits, racing horses and playing penny ante. I never did like to chase jackrabbits and we didn't have any horse races on Christmas."

     

    Charles A. Gilbert's first Christmas in York County was that of 1892. He came up from Kansas City, where he had spent a couple of years in the practice of law, and entered into a partnership with his brother, E. A. Gilbert. "I don't remember anything unusual about that first Christmas in York County," said Mr. Gilbert. "I guess it was very much like all that have followed. We had plenty to eat, my wife and I, and we exchanged presents and spent the day very quietly with relatives."

     

    F.  A. Hannis' first Christmas in York County was in 1886. He came here from Chicago. "It was a pretty lonesome Christmas for me," said Mr. Hannis.  "I was only a boy, and it was the first time I had been away from home. To me the West was even at that late day a 'wild and woolly' section I boarded with relatives after I came here, so it was not quite so lonesome as it might have been.  But I believe it was the most dreary Christmas in my life.”

     

    Joseph Hoover of Benedict is an old-timer in York County. He came here in the summer of 1875, and that fall began teaching school in the southeast corner of the countv. "My first Christmas in Nebraska was uneventful. It as the war after the grasshopper raids and we were much poorer than Job's turkey, which had to lean up against the fence to gobble. My salary as teacher was small to the vanishing point, but every dollar was bigger'n a wagonwheeL  We did not have any Christmas feasts that year. The only thing we spent was the day.”

     

    A G Johnson is an old-timer in Nebraska but a comparatively newcomer in York County. He arrived in York in 1901. "My first Christmas in York was about like all of them before and since. I spent the day as usual with my family, where I have always had my best times."

     

    Ed S. Felton came over from Iowa and located in York County m 1891.  "My first Christmas in York County was spent in Bradshaw, mostly behind the counter and prescription case of the local drug store.  I guess we had a big Christmas dinner but I don't remember any of the particulars.

     

    Russell Williams' first Christmas in York County was that of 1893. His memory of it is very dim, however. He arrived in York County the previous July, and had never lived anywhere else before. "I guess I spent it dairying," mussed Buss.

     

    County Judge Hopkins left that dear old Lucas County, Iowa, in 1887 and lit in York County in 1887.  Benedict was his first landing place. "I taught school there that winter and spent my first York County Christmas at Benedict. We dad a jolly bunch of young folks there. The town was new, and we had some merrv times.  There was  nothing particular to set that Christmas apart from many others, but we certainly did have a good time."

     

    W L Kirkpatriek landed in York in 1895, coming here from Tennessee, although he is "an Illinoisan by birth. "My first Christmas in York was a happy one. I boarded at a home filled with jolly young people and we made merry all the time

    On this particular Christmas we had a dance. But the dinner-say, I'll never forget it.  WE young folks made a day of it, I tell you.”

     

    the West was even at that late day a 'wild and woolly' section I boarded with relatives after I came here, so it was not quite so lonesome as it might have been.  But I believe it was the most dreary Christmas in my life.”

     

    Joseph Hoover of Benedict is an old-timer in York County. He came here in the summer of 1875, and that fall began teaching school in the southeast corner of the countv. "My first Christmas in Nebraska was uneventful. It as the war after the grasshopper raids and we were much poorer than Job's turkey, which had to lean up against the fence to gobble. My salary as teacher was small to the vanishing point, but every dollar was bigger'n a wagon wheeL  We did not have any Christmas feasts that year. The only thing we spent was the day.”

     

    A G Johnson is an old-timer in Nebraska but a comparatively newcomer in York County. He arrived in York in 1901. "My first Christmas in York was about like all of them before and since. I spent the day as usual with my family, where I have always had my best times."

     

    Ed S. Felton came over from Iowa and located in York County m 1891.  "My first Christmas in York County was spent in Bradshaw, mostly behind the counter and prescription case of the local drug store.  I guess we had a big Christmas dinner but I don't remember any of the particulars.

     

    Russell Williams' first Christmas in York County was that of 1893. His memory of it is very dim, however. He arrived in York County the previous July, and had never lived anywhere else before. "I guess I spent it dairying," mussed Buss.

     

    County Judge Hopkins left that dear old Lucas County, Iowa, in 1887 and lit in York County in 1887.  Benedict was his first landing place. "I taught school there that winter and spent my first York County Christmas at Benedict. We dad a jolly bunch of young folks there. The town was new, and we had some merrv times.  There was  nothing particular to set that Christmas apart from many others, but we certainly did have a good time."

     

    W L Kirkpatriek landed in York in 1895, coming here from Tennessee, although he is "an Illinoisan by birth. "My first Christmas in York was a happy one. I boarded at a home filled with jolly young people and we made merry all the time On this particular Christmas we had a dance. But the dinner-say, I'll never forget it.  WE young folks made a day of it, I tell you.”

     

     

    Wade H. Read came to York County in 1883.  He has no recollection of his coming, nor of his first Christmas in the county. He was born m a sod house up on Lincoln Creek. So far as he knows he spent that first Christmas like most babies of the same age. The first Christmas he remembers was to him an unusually happy one, for after a separation of many months he was again with his mother. It was spent at the farm home of Mr. Houston, and Mr. Read remembers the good dinner, the happy plav and the delight of being again in the arms of one from whom he had long been "separated. "We didn't spend our Christmas days then like we do now, observed Mr Read, "but after all I think we really enjoyed the old kind most.”

     

    Joshua Cox brought his young bride from Illinois to Hamilton County in 1879.  He bought a quarter section of Hamilton County land for $7 an acre and proceeded to make a home with the help of his good wife.  "Our first Christmas in Nebraska was a happy one," said Mr. Cox with a reminiscent smile. <We were building a
    home of our own, and the joy of ultimate possession was ours.   There was a sod house on the place, but we built a granary 18x20 and lived in that.   We didn’t have much that first Christmas, but we had a plenty. We have never been any happier

     

    than we were during those pioneer days, although we have always been happy. We came to York County in 1899, but I couldn't tell you of any particular incident that set out the Christmas of that year. It was like most of them that have come during the last quarter of a century."

     

    W. G. Boyer never came to York County. He was brought. It happened in the year 1871, when his parents bundled him and other possessions up and headed westward from Illinois. "I was only a year old then," remarked Mr. Bover, "and I do not remember anything about my first Christmas in York County. I only know from hearsay that it was spent on a homestead nine miles northwest of the present good city of York, and I have spent most of my Christmas days right here in York, and I hope to spend a hundred or two more of them in the same place."

     

    C. N. Carpenter really landed in York in 1881, but he didn't land to stay until 1883. In the meantime he attended the University of Nebraska and graduated in a class that numbered many notables in addition to himself. One of the number was Charley Magoon. When he came to York he conducted his father's lumber yard for a couple of years, then had it thrust upon him for his very own. "I do not recall any remarkable incident about my first Christmas in York," remarked "Karp." "I guess we spent it joyously in or about the old 'New York Store' in North York.
    That was the big trading center in the old days. And we had a pretty lively bunch that made headquarters there, too. While I do not remember that particular Christmas day I am pretty certain I had a good time."

     

    Jeff B. Foster came to York County from Illinois in 1883, and located on a farm east of Benedict. "I do not recall anything particular about my first Christmas in the county," said Mr. Foster. "I was married the spring before and my wife and I were trying to build a home 'way out here on the prairies. I guess we were too busy working on that home to give much time to celebrating Christmas. If I wasn't happy that day it was the only Christmas I can remember when I wasn't happy.  What’s the use of being any other way, Christmas day or any other day?"

     

     

     

    History of York County

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

 

 

 

 

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