Monday, August 2, 2010

A Consumer Christmas, circa 1895.


Marion Nicholson, about 6. Around the time of this list (1895) or maybe earlier.

You know, about the only thing I don't know about the Nicholsons of Richmond, from the letters of http://www.tighsolas.ca/ is how they spent their Christmases. After all, they were always together then, so they didn't correspond. I assume they went to church a lot, because they did anyway. And they socialized, of course, as they did that a lot too.

Luckily, I have the accounts. Now, it's true that in archeology grocery lists have been used to figure out how people in the past lived. Well, the 'store list'of the Nicholsons is no exception. At Christmastime there were many special items purchased, for food and for gifts. Money is spent on gifts for non family members as well. The Minister for instance. There's a huge 5,00 gift for a mysterious M.C. Maybe it's a Masonic thing.

A turkey was purchased at Christmas, just 8 pounds (maybe they weren't so huge then), and oranges too. Mixed nuts. Spices and icing sugar. You can only guess what Margaret, a great baker, made for her family. Gifts this year seem to be perfume, hand mirror, skates, books.

The most interesting item on the list: book for baby. The older kids got a book for Christmas and so did little Flora, 3 years old. Think about it! Today, early childhood educators will tell you it's never too early to give books to kids. But this was over 100 years ago. And Flora was a girl. It just goes to show you how much IMPORTANCE the Nicholsons placed on reading and on education.

So here's the rest of the list from the second half of 1895. November and December:

2 dozen eggs 36
¼ lbs cream of tarter 10
3 lbs molasses 10
1 water pail 15
10lbs salt 05
Tennant tax 3.60
Minister stipend 40
Children’s Sunday School collection 03
Anniversary service 2.00
Edith for wages 30
1 lb frosting sugar 08
1 box soap 4.85
I bag rolled oats 1.85
1 lbs apples 2.60 (must mean bushel)
Church tea meeting 50
Edith for staying at home 05
2 lbs steak 25
Bridge toll 10
¼ lb candies 10
4 lbs beef 28
Postage 03
Ministers stipend 40
Sunday school 01
Laundryman 28
House rent for Oct 95 10.00
Post cards 05
School fees 02
1 oz gumirabic (GUM ARABIC)05
1 pass book for church 25
8 lbs corn meal 16
St Andrews society 1.00
Maggie for washerwoman 1.00
Postage 12
Bridge toll 10
1 pair rubbers Marion 30
2 spools thread 07
Fare to Sherbrooke and Return 50
Supper at hotel 25
Masonic dues 2.00
Plad Nix Lir (?) probably an elixir 40
Postage 09
1 ½ lbs sausages
1 ½ pounds lamb chops
6 lbs rice
½ lbs cream of tartar 08
1 tub butter 50 lbs 10.00
I pair rubbers for baby 25
1 package tacks 05
Washerwoman 50
Minister stipend 40
Sunday school 02
1 lb black tea 25
1 ½ dozen serur nails 02
Edith pay 30
2 windsor blinds 2.50
Maggie 1.50
1 ½ pounds lamb chops 15
Wash woman 30
Hair dressing 15
1 loaf bread 15
1 ½ lbs beef steak 15
4 ½ lbs chicken 45
8 ½ lbs graham flour 25
¼ lbs caramels 05
China man for washer 12
2 collars gents 25
Minister stipend 40
Sunday school 02
Maggie 1.00
St Andrew membership fees 50
Church collection 10
2 dinner tickets 1.50
2 concert tickets 70
Ladies home journal 1.00
Mending boots 25
Children school fees 75
Newspaper 1.00
Missionary society 50
5 ½ lbs pork 42
2 lbs beef
Eyes for pictures 02
5 post cards 05
¼ lb candies j05
Minister Stipend 40
Sunday school 02
1 pig 130 pounds from Gilbert 8.45
1 pair stockings 24
1 doz pins 05
1 quire of fools cap paper 05
3 lamp wicks 05
Postage 03
10 lbs corn mean 20
¼ pound candies j05
3 lbs beef 20
2 lbs suet 20
4 pounds molasses 12
5 cords wood Oregan 14.67
Mending jewelry 15
Minister stipend 40
Sunday school 03
4 gallons c oil 65
5 pounds b tea, 1.25
10 lbs graham flour 25
1 lb baking soda 05
¼ pounds cream of tartar 10
½ doz herrings 10
Maggie 1.00
Postage 06
I cake shaving soap 10
1 quire foolscap paper 05
Turnips, cabbage and carrots 23
pOSTAGe 06
Expenses to Sherbrooke and return 10
Tickets to O F Concert 55
1 turkey 8 lbs 1.00
3 lbs beef 18
2 pounds currants 14
3 pounds raisins 25
Minister Stipend 40
Sunday School 03
I pair pants 3.30
I pair ladies boots 2.40
I sugar spoon 65
Postage 03
1 pound candies 15
1 lb raisins 08
I lb dates 08
1 cup and saucer 20
1 whisk 10
2 small baskets 10
1 book Edith 30
2 books Marion and Herbert 20
1 Book Baby 05
1 pound mixed nuts 18
1 lbs larger nuts 17
1 doz eggs 18
Note paper and envelope 25
I paper stocking baby 10
1 doz oranges 15
½ dozen lemons 10
Hand mirror 25
1 box games 15
Postage 06
M C Present 5.00 (???)
I bottle perfumery 25
I paper Herald 03
½ bus salt 15
Postage 15
Cap for Herb 1.25
I Pair moccasins 1.75
I pair curling tongs 05
I pot scraper 09
I can opener 05
2 ½ lbs steak 25
I suit clothes for Herb 2.50
I pair skates 75
Minister Stipend 40
Sunday School 03
½ bushel potatoes 18
I lamp burner 15
1 bottle castor oil 08
½ dozen oranges
Peppermints 06
Elsie Clarke Wages 6.00
1 broom 20
Mending M boots 15
Bridge toll 10
1 ¼ pounds candies
1 doz oranges 20
Ticket from R to Flodden35
1 ½ yards flannel 21
5 lbs molasses 12
Horse Rent in Full for 1895 20.00
Dr Kellock Present 50
Dr. Stewarts bill 1.50
Cow account 37.24