Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas in Durham, 1909

Christmas in Durham as reported in The Farmer and Mechanic newspaper, Dec. 28, 1909

Elks Give Joy To Durham Needy…Mr. Erwin Remembers the Mill People…Generosity of Gen. Carr…The State’s Leading Philanthropist Makes the Hearts of Hundreds Glad—Mayor Suspends the Fireworks Ordinance, but No Casualties or Disasters Result Therefrom—Good Order Prevailed—Prizes for Decorated Windows

Durham, N.C., Dec. 25—The celebration of the season today tells the whole history of happenings in Durham and to 6 o’clock this afternoon not a casualty was reported.

Christmas exercises were held in three churches and the biggest trees grew up in a night at the courthouse where the Elks gave joy to the poor, and at West Durham where Mr. W.A. Erwin was host to the poor of his mill community.

Judge Sykes of the recorder’s court made the address for the Elks and a very large supply of good things went to them. This was raised by the local talent minstrel in part and by the Elks individually. They lifted a good portion of it by popular subscription and were themselves almost solely the contributors.

The Erwin Christmas tree is as distinct a celebration as the town has. Mr. Erwin uses the hall owned by the company and is practically the author of all the gifts that go from there. He is superintendent of the greatest Sunday school in St. Joseph’s Church and all of the families patronize him. Probably no organization in town has such excellent things as he gives to the poor and to those who come to the school.

The address is always characteristic of the man’s dash and the militancy of spirit whether religious or commercial.

No one Durham man gave joy to more people however, than General Julian S. Carr.

For the past week or 10 days, he has kept a stenographer busy sending gifts all over the earth. A casual drop into his office saw $5 and $10 notes lying about and these were being put up to send to friends and relatives everywhere,. Smithfield hams and big turkeys are his unfailing tributes to closer friends and these go from Durham to New York on nearly every express.

The General has no public exercises, but in the doing of good, like the spirit of the Bible, he lets not his right hand know what the left doeth. Everybody has always known that he is the most generous man in the State. Giving is almost an insanity with him.

Among the Durham people who are spending the holidays at home are Dr. W.P. few of Trinity College in Greers, South Carolina; Prof. C.W. Edwards of Trinity at Kinston; Registrar D.W. Newsom of Trinity in the eastern part of the state; A.W. Gray of the traction company at LaGrange; City Attorney R.O. Everett at Williamston, his old home; and Dr. and Mrs. W.I.K. Boyd of Trinity in New York.

The officers say that the order has been good and the lock-up isn’t full. The suspension of the ordinance against exploding fireworks hasn’t caused anybody to be killed and the small boy has been happy.  Mayor Griswold, in the face of a request from a strong merchants’ association and much public sentiment, lifted the ban for a day and will give them another day. The mayor isn’t to be stampeded and showed his friendship for the boys.

Two business places last night received their share of pleasure in Christmas when the Durham Book and Stationery company received $5 from the Durham Civic Association for the best decorated window and the Ellis Stone Company was given the prize of $5 for the best show window, the offering of President P.W. Vaughan of the merchants’ association.

This latter was individual. Mr. Vaughan did it to encourage the art of decorating and advertising and many beautiful windows were shown during the whole week.

Mr. James H. Southgate, who spends six months in the country and six in town, have moved from that eminence 10 miles west known as Southgate’s Cabin, and is henceforth a city “chap” as he calls himself. He will occupy the residence on West Chapel Street where his sister Mr. T.D. Jones and his father, Mr. James Southgate, now live. It is good to have him in Durham where he is known as its most distinguished private citizen.

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