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December 25, 1861: San Francisco

December 26, 2011

Commercial Alley near Montgomery; by Tom Hilton

Daily Alta California, December 25, 1861:


CHRISTMAS EVE.–Dingy skies and horrid walking did not prevent thousands of men and hundreds of women from visiting markets, toy-shops, stores, and various places of public amusement last evening. “The night before Christmas” is not the night for fathers and mothers having children big enough to hang up stockings, to stay at home, be the weather ever so unpleasant. The throngs of people in the streets, with baskets laden down with turkeys, vegetables, and fruits, show that there will be many a well filled table to-day. The prosperous should, however, remember that there are hundreds in our midst who will spend no merry Christmas to-day without they give of their abundance. At midnight the Catholic church bells rung, high mass was sung at St. Mary’s and St. Francis’ Cathedrals, which edifices were densely crowded. The various Sabbath School festivals, despite the inclemency of the weather, were well attended, and the little ones seemed to enjoy themselves as only children can….

A SOLILOQUIZING SECESSIONIST.–At 1 o’clock this morning, a seedy looking man, of stalwart form, stood on the corner of Montgomery and Commercial streets. His Christmas imbibations had been frequent. He evidently supposed himself in Dixie’s Land, for as we passed he shouted, “I’m as good as ‘any other man’–I know I must swing, but here’s to Jeff. Davis. I can lick any three Yankees.” The words had scarcely escaped his lips, before a boy not over 15 years old, who was passing with a basket of toys on his arm, stopped and inquired, “What’s that you say?” The fellow repeated his remarks, whereupon the lad dropped his basket, walked up to the rebel, and without any ado, planted a blow in his face which sent the rascal reeling in the gutter. He then took up his basket with the utmost nonchalance, and said, as he was walking off, “You don’t lie now, half as easy as does Jeff. Davis.”….

AFRICAN CHURCH FAIR.–The colored Methodist Episcopal Society, under the pastoral care of Rev. T. M. D. Ward, will hold a festival during the holidays for the benefit of the Church. The congregation now worship in a very incommodious building, and they have gotten up this Fair with a view of collecting sufficient means to build a new church edifice. The Fair is now being held in the Scott street church, between Broadway and Pacific and Powell and Mason. The admission tickets are placed at the low price of 25 cents each.

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