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Skagit River Journal

of History & Folklore
Subscribers Edition Stories & Photos
(Seattle & Northern 1890)
Covers from British Columbia to Puget sound. Counties covered:
Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan. An evolving history dedicated
to the principle of committing random acts of historical kindness

Noel V. Bourasaw, editor 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
Home of the Tarheel Stomp Mortimer Cook slept here & named the town Bug

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Christmas at Edison

A column by Ray Jordan in his series, Sense of History [newspaper], Skagit Valley Herald, Dec. 27, 1974:
      The following news item, title and all, appeared in the aptly named Puget Sound Phonograph [newspaper], printed at Edison on Dec. 29, 1892:
      The Christmas exercises at Edison for 1892 far surpassed those of any previous year. Although the day was cold and a drizzling rain prevailed the greater part of the day, the large tree at the Congregational Church attracted the entire attention of the community until evening.
      Wreaths and festoons of cedar tastefully decorated the auditorium, the windows were darkened, and the tree lightened and festooned with the popcorn so dear to the juvenile heart, whole boxes, packages and bundles danced and swung, handkerchiefs, ties and drapery fluttered and waved and acted as though they were both willing and anxious to be promptly harvested.
      Mr. William Thomas called the meeting to order and stated that the arrangements for having a master of ceremonies were somewhat mixed, but that he would do the best he could under the circumstances. After some music by a quartette, he gave the history of the birth of the Savior, the miraculous circumstances which transpired at the time, the visit and prostration of the shepherds before the child and its mother in the stable at Bethlehem and afterward words of commendation for the children present, and the committee who were in charge of the Christmas exercises gave way to the committee in charge of the tree.
      Mr. Thomas is a very good extemporaneous speaker. The choir was composed of Miss Minerva Butler, soprano; Miss Emma Ewing, contralto; Curtis Butler, tenor; and Levi Hake, basso, who were led by organ. One does not look for any very extra singing in a church. It is generally a go as you please arrangement. While the singers' breath is full they are generally above the key, and as it becomes exhausted they drop anywhere from a foot (musical of course) to a mile below it.
      The letter "R," as fatal to good singing, as it was to Blaine when he ran for president, is dwelt upon until the crazy bones in one's elbows fairly tingle in helpless protest. It was the first time that the Phonograph has ever heard a regular quartette sing in Edison, and it was certainly very good. The chest tones were plainly discernible, the sentences were musically rounded and the "Rs" were eliminated in every instance.
      The timbre of the ladies' voices was a surprise to the Phonograph and the gentlemen were not inferior in any respect. Miss Quickenden is evidently more familiar with the piano than with a small church organ, but did creditable execution nevertheless. It was nearly dark before the tree was fully dismantled and the exercises closed.
      A play, The Confederate Spy, is billed for New Year's Eve. Klahowya.

      This section was the model for the sections we will eventually share about every town in Skagit county. We will share more versions about Edison from different writers. You will find links to three different stories about Edison from Ray Jordan, the 1906 Illustrated History book, the Territorial Daughters and the Puget Sound Phonograph newspaper. This feature originally appeared in our separate online Subscribers-paid magazine.

Story posted on April 23, 2002 and last updated on Feb. 15, 2004
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