When you’re all stressed out from holiday shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc. you might want to stop and read the observations of Miss Alice Robertson in Christmas Time in Indian Territory. She revealed the hardships suffered by her missionary family as they returned to Indian Territory after the Civil War. 1866 Tullahassee I.T. was not a glamous place to be, war ravaged by the Union, it was a struggle to survive and as her story reveals not all the family made it to the next Christmas. It’s a tale of making due with the barest necessities and appreciating Christmas dinner and the meagre gifts. No X-Box 360 for Miss Robertson, instead a book of “improving poetry”.
Recollections of Christmas Morning,
“I hated improving poetry then as I hate it yet, but I knew it was all mother had to give and I tried to like it . After breadfast, which I cooked–fried vension, corn cakes raised over night and baked on top of the stove, with molasses for us all and coffee for father and mother, there were family prayers when father read, as always on Christmas, the wondrous story of the Nativity and mother played on her little old”melodeon,” we all sang joyously “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night.”
Miss Alice was twelve years old during their first Christmas back in Indian Territory and she wrote about this experience in a newspaper feature fifty years later. Hers was a fascinating life that eventually led her to Congress. She was also the first female postmaster of a Class A Post Office. She lived much of her later years in poverty, and struggled through many difficult times and transitions. My grandmother would call her a “tough cookie”, and she’s a good reminder of all that we have to be thankful for today.
For more about Miss Alice read:
Alice Robertson, Congresswoman from Oklahoma by Reba Neighbors Collins and Bob Burke.