The first Christmas in Price
Present day editors note: This story was originally printed in the Dec. 24, 1931 issue of the News-Advocate only a week before it was merged with The Sun newspaper creating the Sun Advocate that exists today. Based on researched records the author of this piece was in her 70's at the time it was written.
Original editor's note: The following story was written by Mrs. Peter I. Olson, upon the request of the News Advocate. Mrs. Olsen was one of the first pioneers of Carbon county, settling in Price, in 1882, when there were no families in the section, which is now Price. Mrs. Olson together with her husband came to Carbon county in the fall of 1882, from Iron county.
It was 49 years ago, in November, that we first came to Price, and at that time it was not a city as we have today, but could be called a barren waste.
We camped in our wagon down along the Price river, close to where the underpass is today. We were strangers in a strange land and we surely felt like strangers. The people that arrived here before us, were also camped along the river, and they were very sociable, and it was not long before we knew most of them.
I was very lonesome and homesick, for it was drawing near Christmas time and this place was so different from home in the southern part of the state, and it was too far away to spend Christmas with home folks, for in those days travel was carried on by wagons and teams, and it took almost three weeks to make the trip. We had not been here so long, and when we left our home down south it was with the intention of coming out here and help build up this part of the state and make our permanent home, so true to pioneer life. I tried to be happy and thought that perhaps we could find some way in which to spend our Christmas, so it would not be so lonesome. We had made friends with a family named Simmons, who lived about a mile up the river on the place that is today owned by John Prince. We had been invited several times to their home and I truly enjoyed those visits. Mrs. Lydia Simmons was just a wonderful woman and made us always feel welcome.
A few days before Christmas, to my delight, we received an invitation to spend Christmas with Mr. and Mrs. Simmons. Oh, I was so happy and I planned and counted the days until Christmas for I knew that we would have a wonderful time.
Christmas day arrived and it was a beautiful day. The weather was very much like what we were having now. There was no snow and it was not very old. We were up bright and early and made ready to go to the Simmons.
We arrived about 10 o'clock in the morning, as did the other guests that were invited. The women folks all helped prepare the dinner, which was served about one o'clock.
The table was set in much the same manner as of today, only the dinner was not served in courses, all the food was put on the table in family style and each was to help themselves. But the first helping was Bullberry jam. When I think of that jam now it makes my mouth water and if any of you have ever tasted it, I know that you will agree with me that it was the best jam ever.
The dinner consisted of roast turkey, and this I can assure you was a real treat. Mrs. Simmons had brought these turkeys from her home in Spanish Fork when she came out here earlier, and I can assure you that I sure was surprised for I had not even dared to think that we would have roast turkey, but there it as done just to turn with all the trimmings, and there was creamed potatoes, pickles, jam and jellies, creamed carrots, corn, apple and pumpkin pie, fruit, and cake. Oh, that dinner was good and when I think of it now I wish it could be had over again in just the same good old fashioned way.
The following were guests bidden to share this dinner and they were all jolly people full of fun and merriment. Mr. Will Noyes, Mr. Rastus Olson, Grandma Olson, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Empey and three children, Mr. and Mrs. P.I. Olsen and the host and hostess, Mr. and Mr. Simmons.
You know that we all have the habit of doing at a Christmas dinner. Well that is just what we did. I just wonder where I put all that food.
After we had eaten until we were ashamed of ourselves, the table was cleared and dishes washed and put away. Then the rest of the afternoon was spent in telling of experiences, telling stories and singing of songs.
Mr. Will Noyes, who was an old bachelor and myself furnished other entertainment and we sure enjoyed it all, for he was full of fun and so was I and what he could not think of doing, I could. I can assure you that the afternoon was well spent.
By this time the hours had slipped away and it was time to go home, but Mr. and Mrs. Simmons would not listen to anything like this, and insisted that all stay and have a late supper. This we did and I do not know, but we seemed all to be hungry and enjoyed the supper almost as much as dinner.
By the time supper was over it was getting late, but Mr. Olsen and I did not mind for we had nothing to hurry home for, neither a child, nor a chick, did we have. Nowadays it seems that where ever we go we must always hurry back home, for there is always something that needs to be taken care of and someone wanting us for something, all the time.
We bid the Simmons and the other guest good night and with happy hearts came back to our home, which was a camp wagon. But we were happy and we knew that there was no one that had spent a happier Christmas than we had, and that this old world is full of happiness.
If people would only try to find it and enjoy the day in the good old fashioned way.